General Odierno favored the speedy deployment of about 20,000 extra troops — the surge, because it was known as — to assist quell the insurgency.
The troop reinforcement proposal cut up the army and was opposed by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. But Vice President Dick Cheney and the nationwide safety adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, backed it, as did Gen. Jack Keane, a former Army vice chief of employees who had the ear of influential White House officers.
By January 2007, President George W. Bush had accepted the troop enhance, fired Mr. Rumsfeld, and tapped Gen. David H. Petraeus as the brand new prime commander in Iraq to hold out the brand new technique, with General Odierno, the No. 2 basic in Iraq, because the plan’s operational chief.
“Ray Odierno — the Big O to his many admirers, and I am among them — was a truly extraordinary leader, soldier, and human being,” General Petraeus stated in an e mail on Saturday.
The surge was deemed a hit at the time, because it dramatically decreased the sectarian killings and the war-shocked nation slowly began to stabilize. But army historians debate the technique’s long-term effectiveness.
General Odierno obtained his fourth star, changing into a full basic, in 2008, the 12 months he changed General Petraeus as chief commander of the multinational drive in Iraq.
The conflict instantly affected General Odierno’s household. His son, Anthony Odierno, a West Point graduate like his father, served as an infantry platoon chief with the First Cavalry Division in Baghdad. His automobile was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade on Aug. 21, 2004, and he misplaced his left arm.