Close friend calls former CIA director David Petraeus a 'great American'

1:01 AM, Nov 13, 2012   |    comments
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TAMPA, Fla.- For more than 37 years, General David Petraeus proudly served his country in the U.S. Army, guiding America through its wars in the Middle East and as head of U.S. Central Command. For some of that time, he lived in Tampa in a waterfront home on MacDill Air Force Base.

"He made everyone feel great. He was a very human individual and just a really nice man," said close friend and Tampa businessman John Osterweil.

Osterweil threw a welcome reception for the general when he first moved to Tampa and has been friends with Petraeus ever since.

"I've had a chance to meet many of the generals at MacDill and he's just a wonderful human being, stimulating, and a real credit to our nation," said Osterweil.

But the retired 4-star general's career as head of the CIA came crashing down last week when an investigation by the FBI revealed an extra marital affair with the publisher of his biography.

By Monday, the media frenzy had converged on Tampa and the home of Jill Kelley, a close Petraeus friend, and the woman who first alerted the FBI after receiving threatening emails from the biographer.

On this Veterans Day, Osterweil and others say despite whatever happened in the general's personal life, it's important not to forget his service to his country.

"I don't think we've heard the last of him. He's a real rock star and he'll do great things for us in the future."

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