Former Army chief of staff Raymond Odierno dies at age 67

A retired three-star general who put in almost four decades of service in the U.S. Army has died.

The Associated Press reported Sunday that Ret. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, best known for his role as Army chief of staff and for commanding U.S. and allied troops in Iraq during what the AP called “the height of the war” there, had died at age 67.

Odierno reportedly died Friday after what his family called “a brave battle with cancer.” His death, they said, was not related to COVID-19.

“There are no other details to share at this time,” his family added in a statement to the AP. “His family is grateful for the concern and asks for privacy.”

Leaving a legacy

According to reports, Odierno served in the U.S. Army for 39 years before retiring in 2015. While in the service, he served three tours in Iraq, and was said to have played a major role in shaping U.S. strategy there.

After graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1976 with a commission in field artillery, Odierno also served tours in Germany, Albania, and Kuwait.

In 2003, Odierno’s 4th Infantry was involved in the capture of Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi president who by that time had already been deposed, the AP said.

He also reportedly served as commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq from 2006 to 2008 before spending another two years as the top U.S. commander in Baghdad.

In 2011, then-President Barack Obama appointed Odierno to serve as the Army’s 38th chief of staff, the Military Times reported. That role was later filled by Gen. Mark Milley, who currently chairs the Joint Chiefs, as the AP noted.

“Lifetime of service”

Following news of Odierno’s death, Gen. Milley told the AP that his legacy would “live on through the generations he led.”

President Joe Biden and his wife Jill also released a statement.

“Ray was a giant in military circles — dedicated first and always to the service members he commanded and served alongside,” they said, according to the AP. “We stand with the Odierno family and all our brave service members who were shaped and molded by General Odierno over his lifetime of service.”

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