Odierno Set To Take Over Command In Iraq

September 14, 2008

On Tuesday, Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno will head back to Iraq to take over as commander of US and allied forces in Iraq. In his last tour in Iraq, which ended just last February, Odierno was second in command to General David Petraeus. With the new assignment, Odierno will be promoted from 3 star to 4 star General. Odierno was previously the Commanding General of III Corps and installation commander of Fort Hood. Odierno will face improved conditions in Iraq, thanks to he and Petraeus’s recommendation last year of a Troop surge, which was responsible for quelling the violence in Iraq.

Odierno has staunchly advocated that conditions on the ground would determine whether US Troops were increased or decreased. He’s joined in that approach by Republican Presidential hopeful John McCain, while McCain’s Democratic rival, Barrack Obama has favored setting a timetable for Troop withdrawal from Iraq.1

With his new responsibilities comes the job of charting further progress or lack of progress in his decisions to Troop strength in the country. Odierno will answer to Petraeus, who is slated to take over the reins in October of U.S. Central Command, the headquarters overseeing U.S. military involvement throughout the Middle East, as well as Afghanistan and the rest of Central Asia.2

“My sense is that it will be a very smooth transition,” said Nathan Freier, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who was among Odierno’s top advisers in Baghdad in the summer of 2007. Freier is among a relatively small number of Iraq specialists who met privately with Odierno in Washington this summer as the general sought out a range of opinions and views about how to move forward in Iraq.3

This will be Odierno’s third tour in Iraq. His first was in 2004 as commander of 4th ID. Some claimed that Odierno was overly heavy handed in his approach during that tour. His second tour was in 2006, as General David Petraeus’s right hand man. Petraeus has nothing but praise when speaking of Odierno and his execution of President Bush’s Troop surge in 2007.

“His recommendations for what came to be known as the ‘surge’ forces have since been proven correct,” Petraeus said at the ceremony in Baghdad marking the end of Odierno’s last tour in February.4

There’s no doubt in my mind that General Ray Odierno is up for the task in front of him and that he’ll execute his job as Commander of US and coalition forces with professionalism and do what’s best for the country of Iraq. His leadership will be sorely missed at III Corps and Fort Hood, though I know that his promotion and assignment to this position is best for the Army and forces in Iraq.

  1. http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/09/ap_odierno_091408/ []
  2. http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/09/ap_odierno_091408/ []
  3. http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/09/ap_odierno_091408/ []
  4. http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/09/ap_odierno_091408/ []


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