Petraeus Loses a Valuable Aide

Petraeus spokesman Steven Boylan puts his family first in deciding not to follow the boss to Florida.

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Col. Steven Boylan, who has been the chief spokesman for Army Gen. David Petraeus since 2006, has declined to travel with the four-star general when he moves from Baghdad to Tampa, Fla., in October to take over the helm of the U.S. Central Command. "The family had a vote, and they voted to stay in Kansas," Boylan tells Whispers. He'll return to Fort Leavenworth, where he first hooked up with Petraeus when the general ran the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and wrote the new doctrine for defeating an insurgency. Boylan traveled with Petraeus to Baghdad, leaving the family in Kansas.

There was hot competition for the Petraeus public relations job. The services submitted candidates, and Boylan and others at the Baghdad headquarters interviewed them. In the end, it went to Lt. Col. Erik Gunhus, who had been in Iraq until a few months ago and then was posted to the Army's outreach office in New York City.

Petraeus is a polished, savvy public figure who is his own best flack. Still, Boylan was one of the most accessible spokesmen in Baghdad. "I'll remind Gunhus to continue that," he says.