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First Name: William

Last Name: Odom

Birthplace: Cookeville, TN, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Eldridge

Date of Birth: 23 June 1932

Date of Death: 30 May 2008

Rank: Lieutenant General

Years Served: 1954 - 1988
William Eldridge Odom

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1954

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


William Eldridge Odom
Lieutenant General, U.S. Army

William Eldridge Odom was born on 23 June 1932 in Cookeville, TN.

Odom graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1954 and received a Master's degree from Columbia University in 1962 and a Doctorate in 1970.

He was assigned to a variety of command and staff positions in the U.S. and overseas, including service in Vietnam from 1970-71. From 1972-74, Odom was a Military Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, where he continued the study that made him a recognized authority on Russia and the Soviet Union. In 1977, he became Military Assistant to President Carter's National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and he was Director of the National Security Agency during President Reagan's second term. He served in the Army until 1988 and attained the rank of Lieutenant General.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Army Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Defense Superior Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Army Commendation Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Army of Occupation Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal with Bronze Star
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Expert Infantryman Badge
Parachutist Badge
Army Staff Identification Badge

In Retirement

After leaving the Army, General Odom was a college professor, authored seven books and numerous articles and papers on foreign policy, and commented on foreign affairs and current events for several television news programs. Though he did not identify with either the Democratic or Republican parties, General Odom's previous reputation as an opponent of compromise with the Soviet Union caused him to stand out as an opponent of U.S. involvement in Iraq. Well before the 2003 invasion, he warned against military action, and in 2007 he delivered, on behalf of the Democratic Party, a national radio address on Iraq that was critical of President Bush. 

Death and Burial

Lieutenant General William Eldridge Odom died on 30 May 2008 in Lincoln, VT. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 2916   Created by: MHOH




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