The Florida Panthers will honor retired General Raymond T. Odierno at their season opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise.
Odierno, an executive with the Panthers, died after a battle with caner. He was 67.
The Panthers, who hired Odierno to be their team chairman and alternate governor in 2017 after he retired from a highly-decorated career in the U.S, Army, honored him with a moment of silence before Saturday’s preseason game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
On Thursday night, the team will wear a special helmet decal with his initials ‘R.T.O’ bordered by a star.
The team will also celebrate his life as part of their ‘Heroes Among Us’ campaign at Thursday’s game.
Odierno grew up in Rockaway, New Jersey and, like Viola, was a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.
The 38th Chief of Staff of the Army, General Odierno commanded the United States Joint Forces Command in Iraq from 2010-11, served as Command General from 2008-10 and as Commanding General, III Corps from May 2006-08.
Odierno served three tours in Iraq and from 2008-10, he was the top U.S. commander in Baghdad.
After serving for almost 40 years — and commanding units at every echelon with duty in Germany, Albania, Kuwait, Iraq and the United States — General Odierno retired from active duty in 2015.
General Mark Milley, the current Joint Chiefs chairman, succeeded Odierno upon his retirement.
A former football player for Army, Odierno also served on the College Football Playoff selection committee.
“We are devastated to learn of the death of General Raymond Odierno,’’ a joint statement from President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden read.
“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 …
“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.”
To read more about General Raymond T. Odierno, his obituary can be found here at military.com.