Raymond T. Odierno

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Raymond Odierno
Odierno Raymond CSA ASU.jpg
Nickname(s) Ray
Born (1954-09-08) September 8, 1954 (age 68)
Rockaway, New Jersey, U.S.
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1976–2015
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General
Commands held Army Chief of Staff
United States Joint Forces Command
United States Forces-Iraq
Multi-National Force-Iraq
Multi-National Corps-Iraq
III Corps
4th Infantry Division
1st Cavalry Division Artillery
Battles/wars Persian Gulf War
Iraq War
Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal (5)
Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit (6)
Bronze Star Medal
Spouse(s) Linda[1]
Signature Raymond T. Odierno signature.svg

General Raymond Thomas "Ray" Odierno[2] (/diˈɛərn/; born 8 September 1954) is a retired United States Army general who served 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.[3] Before then, he served as Commanding General, III Corps, from May 2006 to May 2008. Odierno is the twelfth American military officer to command at the Division, Corps, and Army level during the same conflict and only the second with this distinction since the Vietnam War.

Before commanding III Corps, he served as Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, where he was the primary military adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from 3 November 2004 to 1 May 2006.

Odierno is the 2009 recipient of the Naval War College Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award for his strategic leadership and insight.[4]

Early life and education

Odierno grew up in Rockaway, New Jersey,[5][6] where he attended Morris Hills High School,[7] followed by the United States Military Academy at West Point. 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 national security and strategy from the Naval War College. In December 2010 he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from North Carolina State University as well as receiving an honorary doctorate from the Institute of World Politics in Washington, DC in 2013. Odierno is also a graduate of the U.S. Army War College.


Odierno addresses the Harvard Kennedy School of Government's Institute of Politics JFK Jr. Forum on 9 March 2011.

Odierno's initial tours took him to United States Army Europe and U.S. Seventh Army, Germany, where he served as a Platoon Leader and Survey Officer of the 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery, 56th Field Artillery Brigade. He later served as Aide-de-Camp to the Pershing Missile Brigade’s Commanding General, Major General Richard D Boyle. Following completion of the Artillery Officer Advanced Course, Odierno was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 73rd Field Artillery Regiment at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he commanded Service Battery and Alpha Battery. Subsequently, he served as the Battalion S3 in the 1st Battalion, 73rd Field Artillery. During Operation Desert Storm, Odierno served as the Executive Officer for the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery, and then he held the same position in Division Artillery, 3rd Armored Division.

Odierno went on to command 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery, 7th Infantry Division, followed by command of the Division Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division. He later commanded the 4th Infantry Division and the III Corps. It was there that his troopers affectionately gave him the nickname "Old Odie".

His significant staff duties include Arms Control Officer, Office of the Secretary of Defense; Chief of Staff, United States V Corps, U.S. Army Europe; Assistant Division Commander (Support), U.S. 1st Armored Division; Deputy Commanding General, Task Force Hawk, Albania; Director, Force Management, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, United States Army, Washington, D.C.; and Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C., where he was the primary military advisor to United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. On 1 September 2010, he turned over command to General Lloyd Austin.

Following the successful transition of command in Iraq, Odierno returned stateside to assume command of U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) in Norfolk, Va.[8] When he assumed command in October 2010, Odierno transitioned to the new challenge of disestablishing the organization as part of wider DOD efficiencies initiatives. He became immersed in the Hampton Roads community by conducting press conferences, particularly with local print and broadcast media, to discuss the ways to preserve and protect jointness in the military.

Throughout 2010 and 2011, during his time at USJFCOM, Odierno continued to make time for national and international media as well as researchers and scholars interested in the details and strategy of U.S. counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq. Additionally, Odierno has been the keynote speaker at numerous public events, where he relates his leadership lessons and strategic perspective to a diverse audience of American citizens. He visited The Harvard Kennedy School of Government's Institute of Politics, where he spoke to students, faculty, staff and citizens about the importance of service.[9]

Iraq War

2003–2004: 4th Infantry Division

Maj. Gen. Odierno addressing the international media as commander of the 4th Infantry Division (4th ID) in Kuwait, April 2003.

Odierno commanded the U.S. 4th Infantry Division (4th ID) from October 2001 to June 2004,[10][non-primary source needed] during which he deployed the division to Operation Iraqi Freedom from March 2003 to April 2004. Originally, the 4th Infantry Division was designated to enter Iraq through Turkey, though diplomatic complications prevented such a maneuver. Eventually, Odierno and the 4th Infantry Division deployed into Iraq from Kuwait, and despite the diplomatic complications, still executed the most rapid deployment of heavy armored forces in history.[citation needed]

The division did not deploy in time to start the invasion but joined it as a follow-on force in April 2003, attacking toward Tikrit and Mosul, and later played a major role during in the occupation. Following the invasion and conclusion of major combat operations, the division was then headquartered in Tikrit, an especially dangerous location due to a higher population of regime loyalists. In July 2003, the 4th Infantry Division was involved in the so-called Hood event.[11] In a major accomplishment late in the deployment, Odierno’s troops captured Saddam Hussein in December 2003.

Odierno’s tenure as 4th ID commander in Iraq and his unit’s actions there have subsequently come under criticism from several sources. Some have been critical of 4th ID’s belligerent stance during their initial entry into Iraq after the ground war had ceased, arguing that the unit’s lack of a ‘hearts and minds’ approach was ineffective in quelling the insurgency.[12]

In his unit’s defense, Odierno and others have argued that enemy activity in the 4th ID’s area of operations was higher than in any other area of the country because of the region’s high concentration of Sunni resistance groups still loyal to Saddam Hussein’s regime. His unit was headquartered in Hussein’s hometown and this environment necessitated a different approach from those of units located in the more peaceful regions in the south and the north of the country.[13][14]

2007–2008: Multi-National Corps-Iraq

In his second Iraq deployment, Odierno was the commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq from December 2006 to February 2008. In this role, he served as the day-to-day commander of all Coalition Forces in Iraq and was one of the primary architects of the troop “surge” into Baghdad. His British advisor Emma Sky gave an account of the Odierno team's role in the "surge" in January 2011 in evidence to the UK Chilcott Inquiry into the Iraq War.

Planning for the surge

Upon Odierno’s arrival to Baghdad in December 2006, General George Casey, then the Multi-National Force – Iraq commander (the senior military leader in Iraq), charged Odierno with the task of breaking the cycle of violence and bringing a measure of stability to the country in order to provide “breathing room” for political progress to solve Iraq’s long-term problems.

Odierno and his team recognized that reducing the violence required securing the population—what he described as “job one”–and stopping “accelerants”, his term for those carrying out the attacks and thus triggering subsequent reprisals. His team recognized that although previous efforts to clear Baghdad of insurgents had met with some success, these gains were temporary because the Coalition lacked sufficient forces to hold the areas, and the challenges involved with securing the population were simply too great for the Iraqi Security Forces at the time.[14]

Gen. Odierno and Iraqi National Security Advisor, Dr. Muwafaq Bakr al-Rubai, discuss details about Iraq's future, 29 November 2007, Mahmudiyah, Iraq.

Previous strategies had called for minimizing the U.S. presence as much as possible, but Odierno recognized that securing the population was a prerequisite for further progress and that he currently did not have enough troops to accomplish the task. Therefore, he and several others recommended to President Bush that he order a temporary troop increase to help stem the violence. President Bush announced what came to be known as the “Surge” in January 2007 and ordered 5 additional brigades to Iraq.[15]

Implementing the new strategy

Odierno and his team decided that creating stability in Iraq required more than just greater resources; it required a change in mindset. They determined that they must prioritize the protection of the population, creating safe neighborhoods and markets and allowing Iraqis to go about their daily lives. They also decided that the Coalition needed a more balanced approach in its targeting of extremists, and they convinced the Iraqi Government that Shiite militia groups could no longer be given a “free pass” to commit extrajudicial killings.[16]

As the additional brigades began to arrive in the first months of 2007, the Coalition began moving its forces off large bases and deployed them to live on small outposts in population centers across Iraq, concentrating in and around Baghdad.[citation needed]

Throughout a series of offensives commanded by Odierno, Coalition Forces placed significant emphasis on providing 'essential services', 'encouraging local governance', and 'separating the ‘irreconcilables’ from those willing to make peace with the legitimate government of Iraq' according to his controversial British political advisor Emma Sky – whose previous role under the Coalition Provisional Authority was heavily criticised by President Talabani but was praised by officials such as former US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.[17][non-primary source needed]

While planning and conducting these operations, Odierno concentrated efforts to deepen growing alliances with groups of “concerned local citizens” that had agreed to work with Coalition Forces to bring security to their neighborhoods. The movement, known as the “Awakening”, started in Anbar province in 2006 and grew throughout 2007, spreading across much of the country. Later called the “Sons of Iraq”, many of these individuals were former insurgents who had been appalled at the wanton violence and chaos wrought by Al Qaeda in Iraq and had subsequently decided to support government stability efforts. As the U.S.-funded effort spread, more and more Iraqis began to join. Soon groups were mobilizing across the country to quell violence; this represented a marked improvement from late 2006, when extremists were mobilizing for civil war.[citation needed]

Results of the surge

This comprehensive approach to counterinsurgency – conducting simultaneous, large-scale operations to strike multiple enemy concentrations and bases of support while continually focusing on protecting the populace and reconciling with those willing to make peace with the government – led to dramatic decreases in attacks through Iraq. In December 2006, Coalition Forces were sustaining more than 1,200 attacks per week, and the civilian death toll for the month was over 3,000. When Odierno and his team finished their tour in February 2008, civilian casualties were down 70%, and attacks on Coalition Forces had dropped to their lowest levels since 2004. In the Baghdad security districts, specifically, ethno-sectarian attacks and deaths had decreased by 90%, although there is a debate how much of that is due to the Surge as opposed to the competition of ethnic cleansing in the city's neighborhoods. According to most observers the situation in Iraq had been “utterly transformed”,[18]

2008–2010: Multi-National Force-Iraq

Gen. Odierno (center) and political adviser Emma Sky (second from left) visiting a local market in Khalis, January 2009.
Gen. Odierno tours market in Baghdad, 4 February 2009

Odierno’s third deployment to Iraq began on 16 September 2008, seven months after finishing his previous deployment, when he assumed command of Multi-National Force-Iraq. As the senior U.S. military commander in Iraq, Odierno and his team were pivotal in the successful transition of responsibility for security from a primarily militarily led effort to an Iraqi-civilian led effort.

Both the transition to stability operations under civilian control and the massive troop drawdown were the outcome of the improved security situation and ongoing political process; both goals during Odierno’s tenure as the Commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq (MNC-I). As the commander of Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I), Odierno faced the challenges of sustaining the past security gains while reducing the Coalition presence and helping the Iraqi government achieve reconciliation and lasting stability. A successful outcome would lead to a marked improvement to stability in the region as well as a meaningful partnership between Iraq and the United States.

Upholding gains from troop surge

During this tour, Odierno was responsible for upholding the progress made during the 2007–2008 troop surge. The surge succeeded in making the Iraqi people feel more secure; degrading the capabilities of extremist groups; and developing the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), while purging it of its worst elements.[19][non-primary source needed] Despite occasional spikes, overall attack and Iraqi civilian casualty trends remained at their lowest levels since January 2004 during Odierno’s command.[20] These trends continued even as the ISF assumed primary responsibility for security and U.S. troop levels were reduced. Furthermore, ethno-sectarian deaths plummeted along with ISF and U.S. military fatalities (Kahl).

Odierno maintained his operational strategy of defeating the enemy, but began to shift the focus of effort from U.S.-led security to Iraqi-led security through partnership-based operations.[citation needed] His focus on partnership had a profound effect on the Iraqi public, sending them a clear message that U.S. and Iraqi forces were working together, would not be defeated, and would ensure their safety.[citation needed]

Moving toward legitimate and capable government

When Odierno relieved General Petraeus as Commanding General of MNF-I in September 2008, the greatest threat to stability in Iraq was the questionable legitimacy and capability of Government – not violent extremists (Sky). Due in large part to Odierno’s operational plan to secure the country, a legitimate host nation government with a viable political process rose from the ground. Violent actors had been vanquished or had joined the political process to further their agendas. The democratic progress was undeniable as seen in the record voter turn-outs and relatively incident-free provincial elections of 2009 and national elections in 2010.

To perpetuate the Iraqi government’s progress, Odierno actively encouraged his staff, subordinate commands and State Department colleagues to develop a close and productive relationship with Iraqi government officials at all levels (Sky). Counterinsurgency campaigns are never won by foreign troops alone. They are ultimately won through the actions of legitimate host nation governments that enjoy the support of their people and by indigenous security forces that are capable of protecting the civilian population (Kahl). This partnership became the focus of a constant media drum-beat highlighting ISF achievements, Government of Iraq improvements and the diminished capacity of a demonic enemy who had lost its sanctuary and its support from the population.

Implementing the Security Agreement

The Security Agreement was a joint U.S. and Iraqi government framework outlining the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. This bi-lateral agreement provided a path for a coalition, then U.S. military-based security force to partner with, then follow and support the ISF. Odierno understood the strategic importance of implementing the agreement successfully. In December 2008, he directed everyone under his command to implement the Security Agreement in accordance with its spirit and its letter (Sky). He consistently emphasized to his subordinates the theme of letting Iraqis make their own mistakes in order to learn from them, but not to allow them to fail (Sky).

In an effort to open his subordinate commanders’ aperture beyond the focal point of the enemy, he further instructed commanders and staffs to assess their environment and to determine those drivers of instability that would undermine progress in their respective areas of operations. Commanders and staffs alike were not only routinely assessing these drivers of instability in their environments but continually asking themselves why something changed so they could accurately target an identified deficiency or reinforce an improvement. By establishing the “drivers of instability” methodology, U.S. forces were better able to predict potential conflict, to take actions to mitigate risk, to focus its resources and to help Iraqis manage the points of friction (Sky).

During this time of significant transition, Odierno understood the supreme importance of stakeholder communication. He spent most of his time traveling around Iraq discussing his vision and intent with Iraqis, his U.S. subordinates, and other stakeholders who were an integral part of the transformative process. Odierno initiated several mechanisms to ensure the success of the Security Agreement such as the Security Agreement Joint Commission between Iraqi Ministries and U.S. forces in Iraq. Where unity of command was paramount to his predecessors, unity of effort was decisive to his command and the Iraqi Government’s success in the future.

The results of the above transformation were undeniable. Despite the friction of a nascent political process, an ever-evolving enemy, an undecided Iraqi population, and the complex political relationships associated with regional affairs, the overall situation in Iraq continued to improve. In an environment of pessimism, the Iraqis held successful provincial and parliamentary elections. Furthermore, violence levels remained low after the implementation of the Security Agreement and during the gradual transition of responsibility for the security sector to the ISF. Progress was abundant and success appeared assured.

Withdrawing U.S. forces

President Obama delivered an address at Camp Lejeune in February 2009 laying out his policy for the withdrawal of U.S. forces and the transition from a military to civilian-led presence in Iraq. From a foreign policy perspective, this gave the U.S. Administration the ability to begin developing civilian-led efforts to help Iraq develop its economy, build governance capacity, build a long-term strategic partnership, and address remaining political challenges (Kahl).

In essence, the President directed Odierno to conduct an operation the scope of which had not been seen since Vietnam. To fulfill the mission, Odierno directed his staff to develop a conditions-based plan to transfer authorities, ship equipment and redeploy military personnel while maintaining the campaign successes initiated when he took command of MNC-I in December 2006. A combination of initiatives was decisive in setting the conditions for the withdrawal of U.S. forces. These included: Sustaining improved security; partnering holistically with legitimate government; and collectively moving towards a mutually shared strategic partnership.

The U.S. administration’s vision of sending home 90,000 U.S. troops became reality during Odierno’s tenure. These achievements would have been difficult if not impossible without the increased capability of the ISF, the improved security conditions and increased government legitimacy in Iraq. In addition to sending service members home, United States Forces-Iraq also re-located, closed or transferred over 600 bases and moved or transferred in excess of 1.6 million pieces of equipment quietly with no impact to the security situation. Most importantly, the Government of Iraq was in control and partnered with a viable U.S. civilian-led presence breaking a New Dawn on 1 September 2010.

On 1 September 2010, Odierno was replaced by General Lloyd Austin after the U.S. combat missions in Iraq ended.

Communication activities

While serving as the Commanding General of Multi-National Corps – Iraq, Odierno was instrumental in informing the American, international, and Pan-Arab audience about the difficulties and progress of surge operations. He conducted more than 100 interviews with several mainstream national and international media outlets. To ensure broader access for the myriad media outlets covering Iraq, he had a state-of-the-art broadcast studio installed at his headquarters that enabled live interviews with stateside reporters as well as larger press events. He dedicated the studio to Marine Corps Major Megan McClung, a Marine Corps public affairs officer who was killed in action in Ramadi, Iraq, in December 2006.

Traveling back from Iraq briefly in February 2008, Odierno visited New York City and spoke at several foreign policy forums, academic institutions and also with the national and international press – print, radio, and broadcast – about the success of the surge. While speaking at one such institution, the Union League Club of New York, he received an achievement award for his lifetime of service to the nation. In March 2008, Odierno traveled to Washington, DC, where he briefed President Bush on the situation in Iraq and progress made during the surge. While in the Nation’s Capitol, Odierno also met with several think tanks and policy organizations, including the National War College, and conducted a news briefing with the Pentagon Press Corps.

In September 2008, Odierno became Commanding General for Multi-National Force – Iraq. He engaged the American audience during a 60 Minutes interview and shared his vision for a stable Iraq. Almost 18 million viewers saw the program. Odierno continued his campaign to inform U.S. national, international, and Pan-Arab audiences by hosting and conducting interviews with a multitude of major national and international news organizations. This effort was critical in the aftermath of a new security agreement, providing a global audience with details about the future U.S. role in Iraq. Odierno also realized the importance of informing the Middle Eastern audience and reached over 20 million Arab-speaking viewers during a one-hour interview with reporter Elie Nakouzi from Al-Arabiya television in Dubai. He continued his efforts to inform and educate audiences, delving into social media to reach both local Iraqi people as well as younger Americans. Odierno established a Facebook page to ensure diverse audiences could learn about success and progress in Iraq as well as key events.

Army Chief of Staff

On 30 May 2011, Odierno was nominated to be Army Chief of Staff.[21] 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.[21]

In 2014 Odierno submitted a budget request for 520,000 active-duty soldiers, and said that the bare minimum was 450,000,[22] which would however be at a "high risk to meet one major war".[23] In August 2015, Odierno retired from the Army after 39 years of service.[24][25]

JP Morgan

Odierno accepted a job by JP Morgan Chase & Co as a senior adviser on "risks of doing business in various countries, technology and cybersecurity" to start on September 1, 2015, per the Wall Street Journal.[26]


Promotion assignments

U.S. Military Academy COA.png United States Military Academy – Class of 1976

Rank Assignment date
US-O1 insignia.svg Second Lieutenant 2 June 1976
US-O2 insignia.svg First Lieutenant 2 June 1978
US-O3 insignia.svg Captain 1 August 1980
US-O4 insignia.svg Major 1 December 1986
US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant Colonel 1 February 1992
US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel 1 September 1995
US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General 1 July 1999
US-O8 insignia.svg Major General 1 November 2002
US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant General 1 January 2005
US-O10 insignia.svg General 16 September 2008

Officer assignments

From To Assignments
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

Awards, decorations, and recognition

Awards and decorations

U.S. military Decorations
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Distinguished Service Medal (with 4 bronze Oak Leaf Clusters)
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Distinguished Service Medal (with bronze Oak Leaf Cluster)
Defense Superior Service Medal
Silver oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit (with 1 silver Oak Leaf Cluster)
Bronze Star
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Meritorious Service Medal (with 3 bronze Oak Leaf Clusters)
Army Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal
U.S. Unit Awards
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Joint Meritorious Unit Award (with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster)
Army Meritorious Unit Commendation
Other U.S. Government awards
State Department Secretary's Distinguished Service Award
U.S. Service (Campaign) Medals and Service and Training Ribbons
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal (with 1 Service Star)
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Southwest Asia Service Medal (with 3 Service Stars)
Bronze star
Bronze star
Kosovo Campaign Medal (with 2 Service Stars)
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Iraq Campaign Medal (with 4 Service Stars)
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Armed Forces Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Award numeral 7.png Army Overseas Service Ribbon (with award numeral "7")
Foreign Awards
NATO Medal for Kosovo
Legion of Honour, Officer (France)
Brazilian Order of Military Merit (Grand Officer)[27]
Italian Order of Merit (Grand Officer)[28]
Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland[29]
Romanian National Order for Merit (Grand Officer)
Medalla Militar "Fé en la causa" (Colombia)[30][31]
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
Other Accoutrements
Combat Action Badge.svg Combat Action Badge
Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge.png Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge
Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
United States Army Staff Identification Badge.png Army Staff Identification Badge
4 Infantry Division SSI.svg 4th Infantry Division Patch worn as his Combat Service Identification Badge
8 FA Rgt DUI.jpg 8th Field Artillery Regiment worn as his Distinctive Unit Insignia
ArmyOSB.jpg 11 Overseas Service Bars, reflecting 5½ years overseas combat service

Other awards

TAPS Military Leadership Award

On 19 March 2013, The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) presented General Odierno with the Military Leadership Award. General Odierno has been outspoken in his support for military families and those grieving the death of a loved one in service to country. General Odierno was introduced by Austin Audo, the son of Army Major David Audo, who died in Iraq in 2009. Kyra Phillips from HLN and John Roberts from Fox News Channel emceed the ceremonies at the event.[32]

Ryan C. Crocker Award

The Hampton Roads World Affairs Council presented its Second Annual Ryan C. Crocker Global Citizen Award to Odierno in February 2011 for his superlative impact on the international stage. Ambassador Crocker attended the event and introduced Odierno prior to the General's remarks and a lengthy question and answer session with a broad range of citizens from the Hampton Roads community.

Abraham Lincoln Award

In December 2010, Odierno was recognized by the Union League of Philadelphia with their Abraham Lincoln Award during the League's Armed Services Council Army-Navy Game Dining Out.

USO's Distinguished Service Award

In December 2009, Odierno was given the USO's Distinguished Service Award, at the 48th Annual Armed Forces Gala and Gold Medal Dinner in New York City. The event, which was co-hosted by NBC's Brian Williams, and retired Army Col. Jack H. Jacobs, a Medal of Honor recipient for his actions in Vietnam, raised over $1 million for the USO. The USO's Distinguished Service Award is USO's premiere award that recognizes exemplary leadership and service to the armed forces.[33]

U.S. News & World Report, America's Best Leaders of 2009

In October 2009, Odierno was recognized as one of America's Best Leaders of 2009 by U.S. News & World Report for his leadership in Operation Iraqi Freedom. America's Best Leaders is a collaboration between U.S. News & World Report and the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. The honorees were selected by a committee of academic, government, business, community, and nonprofit leaders convened by the center.[34]

Romanian Order of Military Merit

On 4 June 2009, the Romanian President Traian Băsescu awarded Odierno the Romanian Order of Military Merit.

Naval War College Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award
Rear Admiral James (Phil) Wisecup, President of the U.S. Naval War College and Rear Admiral (Ret) Glenn E. Whisler, Jr., Chairman, Naval War College Foundation Board of Trustees, present General Raymond T. Odierno, Commander, Multi-National Force-Iraq and Operation Iraqi Freedom with the Naval War College Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award at the Naval Support Activity Washington – Washington Navy Yard Catering and Conference Center. (U.S. Navy photo by Joseph P Cirone/Released).
Rear Admiral James (Phil) Wisecup and Rear Admiral (Ret) Glenn E. Whisler, Jr. present General Odierno with the Naval War College Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award.

In May 2009, the Naval War College recognized Odierno as the 14th recipient of the Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award for his strategic leadership and insight. Odierno graduated from the Naval War College in 1990 as a Major, where he learned the importance of becoming a strategic thinker and leader.[35]

Union League Club of NYC

In February 2008, the Union League Club of New York City bestowed Odierno with an achievement award for his lifetime of service to the nation.

Morris Hills Regional District Hall of Fame

In May 2006, Odierno was inducted into the Morris Hills Regional District Hall of Fame for his successful command of the 4th Infantry Division in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Odierno graduated from Morris Hills in 1972 prior to entering the United States Military Academy at West Point.[36]

NIAF Special Achievement Award

In April 2006, Odierno was presented the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) Special Achievement Award for Military Service at the Foundations East Coast Gala by Jerry Colangelo, NIAF Vice Chair [37] During the event, legendary race car driver and wine maker Mario Andretti received a NIAF Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports; actor Alan Alda was inducted into the NIAF Italian American Hall of Fame by Jack Valenti, former president of the Motion Picture Association of America; and Joseph M. Boitano, senior vice president and general merchandise manager at Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises, received a NIAF Special Achievement Award in Business.[38] NIAF is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational foundation that promotes Italian American culture and heritage.

Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal

Odierno was awarded the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal for serving as the senior military advisor for the Secretary of State from October 2004 to May 2006. Odierno served as the Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, D.C., where he was the primary military advisor to Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. During this time, he accompanied the Secretary of State on all diplomatic journeys and state visits, traveling over 335,000 miles and visiting over 65 countries.

Ellis Island Medal of Honor

Odierno received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for his commitment to many humanitarian causes. He accepted the award on 12 May 2012, at Ellis Island.[39]

VFW Dwight D. Eisenhower Award

Odierno accepted the Dwight D. Eisenhower Award on 23 July 2012, at the 113th Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) National Convention. The award is presented to an individual for contributions to the cause of American security, unity, and peace.[40]

Liberty Award

On 5 October 2012, the Liberty USO serving Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey presented Odierno with the Liberty award for dedication to and support of military members and their families.[41]

Personal life

The Odiernos have three children: son Tony, married to wife Daniela; daughter Katie, married to husband Nick Funk; and son Mike. Tony Odierno is a combat veteran who attained the rank of Captain before leaving the Army after losing his left arm as the result of a rocket-propelled grenade attack while he was serving in Iraq. The Odiernos have four grandchildren. [42][43]

See also


  1. Michelle Tan, Staff writer (14 August 2015). "Milley takes over as new chief of staff; Odierno retires". Army Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Register of Graduates and Former Cadets, United States Military Academy". google.ca.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Biden marks transfer of U.S. command in Iraq". CNN. 1 September 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. NWCDGLA recipients
  5. https://fas.org/irp/congress/2011_hr/sasc-nom.pdf
  6. Cloud, David S. “U.S. Military Leader in Iraq Talks of ‘Thinning the Lines’”, The New York Times, 26 May 2007. Accessed 27 February 2008. “‘We’ll do this in a very deliberate and slow way’, General Odierno, a 1976 West Point graduate from Rockaway, N.J., said in an interview here.”
  7. Manochio, Matt. “Morris general oversaw capture”, Daily Record (Morristown), 14 December 2003. Accessed 27 February 2008. “Raymond T. Odierno, 48, is a 1972 graduate of Morris Hills High School.”
  8. "Odierno to take command at JFCOM Friday". WAVY-TV. 29 October 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Institute of Politics on YouTube
  10. Odierno, Raymond T., Erickson, Edward J., "The Battle of Taji and Battle Command on the Move", Military Review, July–August 2003 [1]
  11. "Turkish commander awarded US Legion of Merit medal". Today's Zaman. 29 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Ricks, Thomas E. (25 July 2006). Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq. Penguin Press HC. p. 153. ISBN 0-7139-9958-6. 159420103X.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Peters, Ralph (28 August 2007). "He's a Fighter: How Odierno is Building Peace". The New York Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. 14.0 14.1 Filkins, Dexter. “Back in Iraq, Jarred by the Calm”, The New York Times, 21 September 2008. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "NYT_Filkins_20080921" defined multiple times with different content
  15. Gordon, Michael. “Troop ‘Surge’ Took Place Amid Doubt and Debate”, New York Times, 31 August 2008.
  16. Odierno, LtGen Raymond T. (13 March 2008). "The Surge in Iraq: One Year Later". Heritage Lecture # 1068. The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 1 October 2008. Changing our approach also meant introducing more balance in our targeting by going after both Sunni and Shia extremists. I should point out that this modification required the government of Iraq’s cooperation, and it is significant to note that we got it. Shia militia leaders conducting extra-judicial killings would no longer get a free pass. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Sky, Emma, “Iraq 2007 – Moving Beyond Counterinsurgency Doctrine”, Rusi, Volume 153, No. 2, April 2008, pp 30–34.
  18. Kagan, Frederick W. and Kimberly Kagan, [2]“The Patton of Counterinsurgency”, The Weekly Standard, Volume 13, Issue 25, 10 March 2008.
  19. Sky, Emma, “Iraq, From Surge to Sovereignty, Winding Down the War in Iraq”, Foreign Affairs, March/April 2011.
  20. Kahl, Colin, “Breaking Dawn”, Foreign Policy, posted on line 31 August 2010.(subscription required)
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Obama nominates Dempsey to chair Joint Chiefs". USA Today. 30 May 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. McGarry, Brendan (12 February 2014). "Odierno: Army Needs at Least 450,000 Soldiers". www.dodbuzz.com. Military Advantage. Retrieved 13 February 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Brook, Tom Vanden; Locker, Ray (24 February 2014). "New Pentagon budget calls for smaller Army, pay changes". usatoday.com. USA TODAY. Retrieved 4 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  24. Dan Lamothe (13 August 2015). "In parting, retiring Army chief raises concerns about battle-hardened leaders and Gold Star families". Washington Post.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Michelle Tan, Staff writer (14 August 2015). "Milley takes over as new chief of staff; Odierno retires". Army Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. Emily Glazer and Chelsey Dulaney (20 August 2015). "arkets J.P. Morgan Names Former Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno as Adviser". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 30 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. [3]
  28. [4]
  29. "..:: Dowództwo Generalne Rodzajów Sił Zbrojnych :: Aktualności / Najnowsze - Dowódca Wojsk Lądowych USA w Polsce  ::." mon.gov.pl.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. "Cooperation Scene". National Army. 16 May 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. Melo Rodrigues, Luz Martha (April 2013). "Escenarios de cooperación". Revista Ejército (in Spanish). Bogotá: Ejército Nacional de Colombia: 26−27. Retrieved 20 August 2015.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  32. Odierno receiving TAPS Leadership Award at YouTube.com
  33. "USO officials honor 5 Air Force Medal of Honor recipients". archive.is.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. Anna Mulrine. "Ray Odierno: The Commander in Iraq Is Leaving His Mark". US News & World Report.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. [5]
  36. [6]
  37. [7]
  38. [8]
  39. "2012 Ellis Island Medal of Honor Recipients". National Ethnic Coalition. Archived from the original on 14 June 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2012. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  40. Veterans of Foreign Wars http://www.vfw.org/News-and-Events/Articles/2012-Articles/PRESIDENT-OBAMA-TO-ADDRESS-VFW-NATIONAL-CONVENTION/
  41. "Liberty USO Serving Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  42. Odierno, Raymond. "Official Bio" (PDF). US Army.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  43. Jack Curry, New York Times, Yankee Intern, Injured in Iraq, to Throw Out First Pitch Friday, 4 July 2008

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Peter Chiarelli
Commanding General of the Multinational Corps-Iraq
Succeeded by
Lloyd Austin
Preceded by
David Petraeus
Commanding General of the Multinational Force-Iraq
Position abolished
New office Commanding General of the United States Forces-Iraq
Succeeded by
Lloyd Austin
Preceded by
Keith Huber
Commander of United States Joint Forces Command
Position abolished
Preceded by
Martin Dempsey
Chief of Staff of the Army
Succeeded by
Mark A. Milley