I was deeply saddened today to learn about the passing of General Ray Odierno after a battle with cancer.
General Odierno devoted his life to serving this country, from the day he graduated West Point, through multiple tours of duty, and ultimately as the top U.S. commander in Iraq and as the Army chief of staff.
As President, I relied on Ray’s deep knowledge, steady leadership, and strong judgment. It’s why I trusted him to help come up with the plan to withdraw U.S. combat forces from Iraq, and to execute it in a way that kept our forces and the Iraqi people safe.
I was far from the only person to depend on Ray’s counsel, and to appreciate both his strategic and operational talents. Today, our military is stronger and the world is safer thanks to Ray’s service, and for that I will always be grateful.
Michelle and I send our thoughts to Ray’s wife Linda, their children, and everyone who is mourning his loss today.