In chapter 14 of my book, Hooked on Autographs, I offer 10 suggestions for novice autograph seekers on how to obtain autographs. Number 7 tip is don't forget about asking friends to help get sought-after signatures. I practice what I preach.

I was visiting my sister, Rose, in Maryland last month. Rose's late husband was a major general in the U.S. Army and was the Commading Officer of Walter Reed Army Medical Center until his death in 1988. My vivacious sister was one of the seven founders of the Walter Reed Society, a Washington, DC, non-profit organization, established to address the unmet needs of our returning wounded servicemen and women being treated at Walter Reed. She has stayed connected to Walter Reed all these years to honor her husband's memory.

Before returning home to California, I asked my sister to keep her eyes open for celebrities whom she might see at Walter Reed and try to get their autographs for my collection. I gave her a sleeve of Walter Reed logo golf balls and a black Sharpie to keep on hand just in case she crossed paths with someone important. Guess what? Four-star General David H. Petraeus, Commander of the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, went to Walter Reed last week for his annual physical. Rose, who spends most of her time at Walter Reed Society, located adjacent to WRAMC, personally knows General Petraeus and knew he was going to have his physical at the center.  She made certain to be there when the 4-star general finished his annual physical. Not only did she ask the next director of the CIA to sign a golf ball for her brother, she also gave him a signed copy of my book. He obliged her request.

I received the special signed ball on July 5. Not exactly the rarest of signed balls in my vast collection, General Patraeus's signed ball does rank in my top 25. General Patraeus is a military superstar who has been honored with 43 medals, 10 badges, and 42 awards. Picked as the "Most Fascinating Person of 2010," by Barbara Walters, General Patraeus assumes his new CIA duties in September. 

Until I received General Petraeus's autographed ball, golf legend Arnold Palmer had put on the best-looking signature of all the 300 plus signed balls in my collection. I honestly have to say that General Petraeus's signed ball beats Arnold's in appearance. The general's signature is aesthetically perfect in terms of placement on the ball. The ball is inscribed:

                                                                                          Army Strong!       

                                                                                 David H. Petraeus     

Under his name, General Patraeus drew 4 small bold stars.     

No matter how you go about getting autographs, keep in mind my tip number 7. Good luck! Hooked on Autographs is available on or by e-mailing the author, Joe Galiardi, at The cost of the book including shipping is $16.41. One-half of the net proceeds are donated to to my sister's organization, the Walter Reed Society, to help our wounded soldiers. God bless our wounded heroes.



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