We are devastated to learn of the death of General Raymond Odierno, US Army, retired. Ray was a giant in military circles—dedicated first and always to the service members he commanded and served alongside. And through almost four decades of service to our nation in uniform, he helped grow the United States Army into the modern fighting force it is today—an Army, in Odierno’s words, that is “admired and deeply respected by our Allies” and “feared by our adversaries.”

When we think back on our time as Vice President and Second Lady, Ray was part of some of our most poignant memories—ones that will be with us for the rest of our lives. Ray welcomed us to Camp Victory in Iraq where, to honor July 4th, we helped to swear in as American citizens immigrants to our country who were already serving, fighting, and sacrificing on behalf of our nation. He was there to pass his wisdom on to West Point graduates as a fellow member of the Long Gray Line. Ray and his wife Linda were partners and fierce advocates for military children and families. And we will be forever grateful for the words and the kindness that Ray shared when he spoke at the funeral of our beloved son Beau and awarded him with the Legion of Merit.

We can think of no person who better encapsulated that basic creed of duty, honor, country than General Ray Odierno. He made our entire nation better, stronger, and more secure. We are keeping his beloved wife Linda, their children Tony, Mike, and Katie, and their grandchildren in our prayers.  Ray was Beau’s commander in Iraq, and he was there in our moment of deepest grief. We stand with the Odierno family and all our brave service members who were shaped and molded by General Odierno over his lifetime of service, and who are grieving today as well. Today is a sad day for our nation. We have lost a hero of great integrity and honor.  

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