Key Iraq War strategist and former Army chief Raymond Odierno dies at 67

Retired Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, who commanded U.S. and coalition forces during the Iraq war, has died at the age of 67. 

“It is with deep regret that I can confirm the death of General Raymond T. Odierno on October 8th, 2021,” a family spokesperson said in a statement shared with The Hill. 

“The general died after a brave battle with cancer; his death was not related to COVID. There are no other details to share at this time,” the statement continued. “His family is grateful for the concern and asks for privacy.” 

Odierno, a native of New Jersey, graduated from West Point in 1976 with a commission in Field Artillery, according to his biography.  Odierno has commanded units in Albania, Kuwait, Iraq and the United States.

Odierno notably commanded the 4th Infantry Division from October 2001 to June 2004, leading the division during Operation Iraqi Freedom from April 2003 to March 2004. The division participated in the military operation that captured Saddam Hussein.

After Hussein was found in an underground bunker north of Baghdad, Odierno notably said “He was just caught like a rat,” The Washington Post noted.  “When you’re in the bottom of a hole, you can’t fight back.”

Two years later, in 2006, Odierno served the commanding general of the Multinational Corps in Iraq, working as the operational commander of the surge of forces.

Odierno’s time in Iraq was concluded as commanding general of the Multinational Force-Iraq, and, subsequently United States Forces – Iraq, from 2008 to 2010.

The top military leader served as the 38th Army Chief of Staff from 2011 to 2015. He was later succeeded by Gen. Mark Milley, who is now the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In July, Odierno was named a new trustee at North Carolina State University, where he earned his Master of Science in nuclear effects engineering. He was president of the North Carolina-based consulting firm Odierno Associates.

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