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Immediate Release

Statement by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on the Passing of General (Ret.) Raymond T. Odierno

Charlene and I were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of General (Ret.) Ray Odierno.

Ray was a teammate, a confidant and a powerful example to me. Mostly, he was my friend. And I will miss him dearly.

My thoughts — like those of everyone who knew him — are squarely with Linda and their children and grandchildren. We know we cannot assuage their grief, but we hope Ray's strong legacy of leadership brings them some measure of comfort.

Throughout nearly four decades in uniform, Ray Odierno served his country with great dignity and courage.  He led bravely in peace and in war.  And he mentored an entire generation of future leaders.

Ray was known for his loyalty — to mission and to his people. He cared deeply about the troops who knew him as "General O," and he and Linda looked after the families of those troops as if they were their own. From training and equipment to mental health and education, the Odiernos remained tireless advocates for the health and welfare of those who serve.

As our 38th Chief of Staff of the Army, Ray also worked to forge what he called an "Army of the future"— a force that was agile, innovative, adaptable, and led by leaders of character and commitment.

The United States Army, indeed our nation, is stronger for his dedication, professionalism, and leadership.  I know that I am a better person for having had his friendship.

On behalf of the men and women of the Department of Defense, I extend my deepest condolences to Linda and the entire Odierno family.