Charlotte is an unlikely home for Paula Broadwell, a counterterrorism expert and world traveler who relished being embedded with combat troops in Afghanistan to research her biography of Gen. David Petraeus.
But Broadwell moved here more than three years ago with her husband, Scott, a radiologist, and their two young sons, because it was her husbands turn to pick.
We made an agreement when we first got married that every other move would be the other persons, she told the Observer in an interview earlier this year.
While based in Charlotte, she launched a promotional tour for her book, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, and continued her work in the Army Reserve and teaching at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
On Friday, Petraeus resigned as CIA director after admitting to an extramarital affair. Attention focused on Broadwell amid news reports that the FBI was investigating her for improperly trying to access the generals email.
Broadwell was unreachable for comment on the subject of her years-long work.
She didnt answer phone calls or emails. The Broadwells two-story brick house in Dilworth was dark and no one answered the door.
Met Petraeus in 2006
Broadwell met Petraeus in 2006 when he spoke at Harvard, where she was a graduate student. When she told him about her research interests, he offered his help. He really cares about mentoring, she told the Observer in January.
Later, with Petraeus cooperation, she began a doctoral dissertation that included a case study of his leadership, which she parlayed into the book. Now, shes finishing the doctorate, with Petraeus as one of her dissertation advisers.
To report the 400-page biography, Broadwell visited Afghanistan six times, spending a total of three months there. She embedded with the troops and interviewed Petraeus for hours, often during runs they took together. She went on patrols, saw enemy fire, got sick during helicopter rides. She portrayed Petraeus, who has a Ph.D. from Princeton, as disciplined and intense, a workaholic and an exercise fanatic.
Broadwells co-author, The Washington Posts Vernon Loeb, told the Observer in January that Broadwell proved to be an absolutely intrepid reporter, sometimes dictating from airports and filling up his email inbox.
It was audacious that she even attempted this, Loeb said. Here she has two young kids, a husband whos a doctor, and yet ... shes writing a book of this magnitude and hardly breaking a sweat.
Broadwell, who was promoted to lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve last summer, told the Observer in January that she was comfortable in Afghanistan.
I was back with my buddies, troopers Id served with, my military family I had studied Arabic in the Middle East. I studied in Jordan. It didnt feel that much different.
Broadwell grew up in North Dakota and graduated from West Point, also Petraeus alma mater.
She has lived, worked, or traveled in more than 60 countries during 15 years of military service and work in geopolitical analysis and counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations.
Busy life in Charlotte
Despite a busy travel schedule, Paula Broadwell quickly established herself in Charlotte.
She has been a guest speaker for the World Affairs Council of Charlotte, and a week ago, spoke at a black-tie benefit for the Patriot Charities, a nonprofit that supports wounded members of the military and their families from the Carolinas.
Also last week, she attended the tandem parachute jump at Charlotte Latin for Army Cpl. David Bixler, who lost both of his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan. Broadwell, who turned 40 Friday, had considered making the jump for her birthday, but instead offered it to Bixler, whom she had befriended after his injuries in 2010.
In September, she also co-hosted a fundraiser for wounded warriors during the Democratic National Convention, and used her connections to get comedian Jon Stewart to attend. They had met during the book tour when she appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and bested the host in a push-up competition.
While Broadwells home is in Charlottes Dilworth neighborhood, she maintains ties across the world.
She teaches international security at her alma mater, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Shes a research associate at Harvard Universitys Center for Public Leadership and is completing a Ph.D. in the Department of War Studies at Kings College London.
Neighbor Zane Basrawala, described Broadwell as very nice.
We see her running and biking routinely.... We saw her at the block party a couple of weeks ago.
Ed Williams, retired editor of the editorial pages at the Observer, lives two doors away and had seen Broadwell earlier this week when she brought her sons to Kids Voting at Covenant Presbyterian Church.
Theyre great neighbors, he said. Theyre both very busy. Shes been doing a lot of traveling and speaking ... Shes been very active in trying to raise money in support of wounded veterans.
Williams said he and his wife were thinking of hosting a book party for her in early December. But it looks like that might be off the table now, he said. If shes involved with this, Im very sorry for the family.
Staff reporters Elisabeth Arriero and Pam Kelley contributed.