President Barack Obama has selected Army Gen. Ray Odierno ’86 MSE as his candidate for Army chief of staff. Speaking at a Rose Garden ceremony on Memorial Day, Obama said that Odierno, currently commander of the U.S. Forces Command, was his choice to replace Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, who was nominated as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Odierno has extensive experience in Iraq, where he oversaw dangerous territory that included the Sunni Triangle, and green-lighted the raid that captured Sadam Hussein. In an interview with NC State magazine in 2004, Odierno described how his 600 1st Brigade and Special Operations troops had been on nearly 20 raids in an effort to capture Hussein before they were successful on Dec. 13, 2003. “I believe what we’re doing here will change the Middle East and the world for the future,” Odierno told NC State.
Odierno went to West Point and then began rising in the Army. In 1984, as a captain, he came to NC State to get a master’s degree in nuclear engineering. That education allowed him to help with arms-control negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union. The nominations of both Odierno and Dempsey will have to be approved by the Senate.