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General Raymond T. Odierno, Florida Panthers executive, passes away

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General odierno
The Florida Panthers honor the memory of General Raymond T. Odierno prior to Saturday night’s preseason game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Odierno worked in the Panthers’ front office since 2017. // @GeorgeRichards

Retired General Raymond T. Odierno, who was hired to be part of the Florida Panthers front office in 2017, passed away on Friday.

Odierno was 67.

“The general died after a brave battle with cancer; his death was not related to COVID,” a family statement said as reported by the AP.

“There are no other details to share at this time. His family is grateful for the concern and asks for privacy.”

The Panthers, who officially hired Odierno to be their team chairman and alternate governor 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.

“General Odierno is an accomplished diplomat, general, sportsman, business executive and a bona fide American hero,” owner Vinnie Viola said upon hiring Odierno four years ago.

“Over the years he’s advised me on many of my business ventures. Since March, General Odierno has worked with me to chart a course forward for the Panthers organization.

“His vision and advice have been instrumental in empowering Dale (Tallon’s) leadership and providing our hockey operations department with the necessary tools to get us moving in a championship direction again.’’

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Odierno was brought in when the Panthers wanted to settle down what had been an upheaval in their front office in 2017 — with Tallon being returned to his position as general manager.

The Panthers relied on Odierno for numerous tasks on both the business and hockey side of the arena – including contract negotiations.

Some of the bigger deals Odierno worked on included bringing in coach Joel Quenneville and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky in 2019.

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.

General odierno

A framed photo of General Raymond Odierno dropping the ceremonial puck during the 2015-16 season hangs in the Florida Panthers press box at FLA Live Arena. // @GeorgeRichards

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—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.”

To read more about General Raymond T. Odierno, his obituary can be found here at military.com.

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