Department of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced yesterday President Barack Obama has nominated Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the current commander of U.S. Forces Iraq, to head U.S. Joint Forces Command based in Norfolk, Va.
Prior to assuming command of U.S. Forces Iraq in September 2008, Odierno was commanding general of U.S. Army III Corps, where he served a 15-month deployment as commanding general of Multinational Corps Iraq. During that time, he was the operational architect of the U.S. troop surge in Iraq that helped decrease the violence there.
Odierno attended the United States Military Academy at West Point and graduated in 1976 with a commission in field artillery. During more than 33 years of service, he commanded units at every echelon, from platoon to theater, with duty in Germany, Albania, Kuwait, Iraq and the United States. After his first assignment with U.S. Army Europe, 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.
Odierno is known as one of the few Army generals ever to command a division, corps and an entire theater-of-operations in the same conflict.