The man soldiers affectionately called "King David" resigned amid scandal today, only 15 months after he transitioned to his post as leader of the CIA.
"You now stand among the giants, not just in our time, but of all time," Adm. Michael Mullen said of Gen. David Petraeus at the sendoff ceremony that capped his 37-year Army career.
Such high praise came as no surprise to those who knew Petraeus, ABC News Senior Foreign Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz reported that August day.
"No modern general has led troops through a longer period of conflict," Raddatz said in her coverage of the ceremony.
"After hard fought success in Iraq, it was on to Afghanistan," she said of Petraeus' service. "Those stripes on his sleeve? Each means six months in a combat zone. Each an example of the determination he showed at a very early age."
Alan Seidman, a seventh-grade friend of Petraeus', told Raddatz that, as a child, Petraeus always had the right answers.
"He was always ready for class and always had that smile," Seidman said.
Petraeus graduated from West Point Academy in 1974. The description of him in his yearbook said he was "always going for it in sports, academics, leadership and even his social life."
Petraeus, now 60, went on to marry then-girlfriend and daughter of the West Point superintendent, Holly Petraeus, née Knowlton.
At the ceremony that marked his launch on a new, civilian path, Petraeus shared advice for U.S. leadership.
"We have relearned since 9/11 the timeless lesson that we don't always get to fight the wars for which we are most prepared or most inclined," Petraeus said . "Given that reality, we will need to maintain the full-spectrum capability that we have developed over this last decade of conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere."