Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army: Who Is Raymond Odierno?
Sunday, June 10, 2012
General Raymond T. Odierno has served as the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army since September 7, 2011. As such, he has been a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a council of senior uniformed officers in the Defense Department who advise the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council and the President on military matters. The Joint Chiefs of Staff consists of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (VCJCS), and the Military Service Chiefs from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and the National Guard Bureau.
Born September 8, 1954, in Dover, New Jersey, to Raymond J. (an Army sergeant during World War II) and Helen Odierno, Raymond T. Odierno grew up in nearby Rockaway and graduated Morris Hills High School, where his mother worked, in 1972. Odierno earned a B.S. in Engineering at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1976, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in Field Artillery. He later earned an M.S. in Nuclear Effects Engineering at North Carolina State University in 1986 and an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies at the Naval War College in 1990.
Over 36 years of service, Odierno has commanded units at every level, and served overseas in Germany, Albania, Kuwait and Iraq. After early career assignments in Germany, Odierno was assigned to the XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he commanded two batteries and served as a battalion operations officer from August 1980 to May 1984, when he began his Master’s program at North Carolina State University, earning his degree in 1986.
After three years’ service at the Pentagon, Odierno returned to Germany, where he served as a battalion executive officer and division artillery executive officer and was deployed for the Gulf War of 1990-1991. He later commanded the 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery, 7th Infantry Division, and the Division Artillery, 1st Cavalry Division.
From October 2001 to June 2004, Odierno commanded the 4th Infantry Division, including during the War on Iraq from April 2003 to March 2004. From April 2004 to May 2006, Odierno was Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he was the primary military advisor to Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. From December 2006 to February 2008, he served as the operational commander of the “troop surge,” and served as the commanding general of all forces in Iraq from September 2008 to September 2010. Most recently, from October 2010 to August 2011, Odierno commanded United States Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia.
General Odierno is married to his high school sweetheart, Linda. They have three children: Tony, Katie, and Mike; and three grandchildren. His oldest son, retired Army Captain Tony Odierno, lost his left arm in combat in Baghdad in 2004; in honor of all wounded soldiers he threw the ceremonial first pitch of the 2009 World Series.
U.S. Military Leader in Iraq Talks of “Thinning the Lines” (by David S. Cloud, New York Times)
The Surge in Iraq: One Year Later (by Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, Heritage Foundation)
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