Raymond T. Odierno
|Born||8 September 1954|
Rockaway, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||8 October 2021 (aged 67)|
Pinehurst, North Carolina, U.S.
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||1976–2015|
|Alma mater||United States Military Academy (BS)|
North Carolina State University (MS)
Naval War College (MA)
Raymond Thomas Odierno /oʊdiˈɛərnoʊ/ (8 September 1954 – 8 October 2021) was an American military officer who served as a four-star general of the United States Army and as the 38th chief of staff of the Army. Prior to his service as chief of staff, Odierno commanded United States Joint Forces Command from October 2010 until its disestablishment in August 2011. He served as Commanding General, United States Forces – Iraq and its predecessor, Multi-National Force – Iraq, from September 2008 through September 2010.
Raymond Thomas Odierno, of Italian descent, was born on 8 September 1954 in Dover, New Jersey, the son of Helen and Raymond J. Odierno. He grew up in Rockaway, New Jersey, and attended Morris Hills High School, graduating in 1972, followed by the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he graduated in June 1976 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He later received a Master of Science degree in nuclear effects engineering from North Carolina State University and a Master of Arts degree in national security and strategy from the Naval War College.
Odierno was commissioned as an officer upon his graduation from West Point in 1976. Over his career, he was stationed in Germany, Saudi Arabia, the Balkans, and the US.
Odierno served three tours in Iraq between 2003 and 2010. He commanded the 4th Infantry Division during the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, with headquarters at Tikrit. According to Thomas E. Ricks, the Division employed aggressive tactics under his leadership; according to a 2008 profile of Odierno in The Guardian, the Division followed an "iron-fist strategy" under his command. Odierno replaced Peter W. Chiarelli as commander of Multi-National Corps – Iraq in 2006. As commander, Odierno promoted the Iraq War troop surge of 2007 as an alternative to the then-prevailing military strategy. His tactics as commander were less "confrontational" than those he had employed as commander of the 4th Infantry Division. Odierno oversaw the surge from December 2006 to March 2008. In September 2008, Odierno took over from David Petraeus as commander of US forces in Iraq. According to then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Odierno's experience as commander during the surge suited him to succeed Petraeus. Later that year, Odierno announced a "subtle shift" in US military operations in Iraq, whereby the United States would seek the approval of Iraq's government before engaging in combat.
On 30 May 2011, Odierno was nominated to be Army Chief of Staff. He was confirmed to take over from General Martin E. Dempsey on 7 September 2011, and sworn in as 38th Army chief of staff later that day. In 2014, Odierno submitted a budget request for 520,000 active-duty soldiers, and said that the bare minimum was 450,000, which would, however, be at a "high risk to meet one major war". As chief of staff, Odierno said in a 2015 interview with The Daily Telegraph that he was "very concerned" about a decline in the United Kingdom's military spending. In August 2015, Odierno retired from the Army after 39 years of service.
In January 2017, Odierno was named chairman of USA Football, a national organization that promotes youth football. He was named chairman and alternate governor of the National Hockey League's Florida Panthers on 12 October 2017. In January 2019, he was selected to serve a three-year term on the College Football Playoff selection committee. In July 2021, he was selected as a member of the board of trustees at North Carolina State University.
|Insignia||Rank||Date of rank|
|Second lieutenant||2 June 1976|
|First lieutenant||2 June 1978|
|Captain||1 August 1980|
|Major||1 December 1986|
|Lieutenant colonel||1 February 1992|
|Colonel||1 September 1995|
|Brigadier general||1 July 1999|
|Major general||1 November 2002|
|Lieutenant general||1 January 2005|
|General||16 September 2008|
|Oct 1976||Jan 1978||Support Platoon Leader, later Firing Platoon Leader, C Battery, 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery Regiment, 56th Field Artillery Brigade, United States Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany|
|Jan 1978||Oct 1979||Survey Officer, 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery Regiment, 56th Field Artillery Brigade, United States Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany|
|Nov 1979||Jul 1980||Student, Field Artillery Advanced Course, Fort Sill, Oklahoma|
|Aug 1980||Dec 1980||Liaison Officer, 1st Battalion, 73rd Field Artillery Regiment, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, North Carolina|
|Dec 1980||Dec 1982||Commander, Service Battery, later A Battery, 1st Battalion, 73rd Field Artillery Regiment, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, North Carolina|
|Dec 1982||May 1983||Assistant S-3 (Operations), 1st Battalion, 73d Field Artillery Regiment, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, North Carolina|
|Jun 1983||May 1984||S-3 (Operations), 3rd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, North Carolina|
|Jun 1984||Aug 1986||Student, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina|
|Sep 1986||Jun 1989||Nuclear Research Officer, later Chief, Acquisition Support Division, Defense Nuclear Agency, Alexandria, Virginia, later detailed as Military Advisor for Arms Control, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, DC|
|Jun 1989||Jun 1990||Student, United States Naval Command and Staff Course, Newport, Rhode Island|
|Jul 1990||Dec 1990||Executive Officer, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Armored Division, United States Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany|
|Dec 1990||Jun 1991||Executive Officer, Division Artillery, 3rd Armored Division, United States Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany. Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, Saudi Arabia|
|Jun 1991||May 1992||Executive Officer, 42nd Field Artillery Brigade, V Corps, United States Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany|
|Jun 1992||Jun 1994||Commander, 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment, 7th Infantry Division (Light), Fort Ord, California (relocated to Fort Lewis, Washington)|
|Jun 1994||Jun 1995||Student, United States Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania|
|Jun 1995||Jun 1997||Commander, Division Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas|
|Jun 1997||Aug 1998||Chief of Staff, V Corps, United States Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany|
|Aug 1998||Jul 1999||Assistant Division Commander (Support), 1st Armored Division, United States Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany to include duty as Deputy Commanding General for Ground Operations, Task Force Hawk, Operation Allied Force, Albania|
|Jul 1999||Jul 2001||Director, Force Management, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, United States Army, Washington, DC|
|Oct 2001||Aug 2004||Commanding General, 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Hood, Texas. Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq|
|Aug 2004||Oct 2004||Special Assistant to Vice Chief of Staff, United States Army, Washington, DC|
|Oct 2004||May 2006||Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, DC|
|May 2006||Dec 2006||Commanding General, III Corps and Fort Hood, Fort Hood, Texas|
|Dec 2006||Feb 2008||Commanding General, III Corps and Commander, Multi-National Corps-Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq|
|Feb 2008||Sep 2008||Commanding General, III Corps and Fort Hood, Fort Hood, Texas|
|Sep 2008||31 December 2009||Commander, Multi-National Force – Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq|
|1 January 2010||1 September 2010||Commander, United States Forces – Iraq, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Iraq|
|29 October 2010||Aug 2011||Commander, United States Joint Forces Command, Norfolk, Virginia|
|7 September 2011||14 August 2015||Chief of Staff of the United States Army|
Odierno received the Naval War College Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award in 2009. In 2012, Odierno received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
Odierno and his wife had three children and four grandchildren. His son, retired U.S. Army Captain Anthony K. Odierno, is an Iraq War veteran who lost his left arm to a rocket-propelled grenade.
Odierno died on 8 October 2021, from cancer at the age of 67. In January 2022, funeral services were held privately followed by interment at Arlington National Cemetery.
The brass was shining and the borough was beaming on Thursday as Gen. Ray Odierno, chief of staff of the U.S. Army, paid a visit to his alma mater, Morris Hills High School. "It's great to be back," said the 1972 Morris Hills graduate.
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Odierno had warned Pentagon leaders that the 450,000-soldier level would be "too small," and at "high risk to meet one major war,"...