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Army general who commanded in Iraq dies of cancer at age 67

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Army general who commanded in Iraq dies of cancer at age 67

WASHINGTON — Raymond T. Odierno, a retired Army general who commanded American and coalition forces in Iraq at the height of the war and capped a 39-year career by serving as the Army’s chief of staff, has died, his family said Saturday. He was 67.

“The general died after a brave battle with cancer; his death was not related to COVID,” a family statement said. “There are no other details to share at this time. His family is grateful for the concern and asks for privacy.”

Odierno died Friday; the family declined to say where. It said funeral and interment information was not yet available.

President Joe Biden lauded Odierno as a “hero of great integrity and honor.” In a joint statement, the president and First Lady Jill Biden recalled that Odierno spoke at the funeral of their son Beau, who served under Odierno in Iraq and died of brain cancer in 2015.

“Ray was a giant in military circles — dedicated first and always to the service members he commanded and served alongside,” the Bidens said, adding that Odierno and his wife Linda were advocates for military children and families.

“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,” they said.

At 6-foot-5, Odierno was an imposing figure. He played football as a cadet at West Point and retained a lifelong interest in the sport. Army Secretary Christine Wormuth wrote on Twitter Saturday evening that Odierno embodied the values of West Point and of the Army itself.

“A leader who was larger than life, we will remember him always for his selfless service to our nation and to our soldiers in and out of uniform,” she wrote.

Odierno served three tours in Iraq. After his first, in 2003-04 as commander of the 4th Infantry Division, he was criticized by some for overly aggressive tactics that some believed fed an insurgency. At an early high water mark, in December 2003, his soldiers involved in the capture of Iraq’s deposed president, Saddam Hussein. That success gave hope to quashing an emerging insurgency, but in 2004 the insurgency gained greater momentum and led to the deadly rise of al-Qaida in Iraq.

Odierno returned to Iraq in 2008 and served for two years as served as commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq. He then took over as the top overall U.S. and coalition commander in Baghdad, leaving in 2010 as combat was winding down. He was succeeded in that post by Gen. Lloyd Austin, who is now the secretary of defense.

A native of Rockaway, New Jersey, Odierno graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1976 with a commission in field artillery. He served in a wide range of Army and Defense Department roles with multiple tours abroad, including in Iraq, Germany, Albania and Kuwait. As a three-star general he was assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a job that made him the main military adviser to the secretary of state.

When Odierno retired in 2015, he was succeeded as Army chief of staff by Gen. Mark Milley, the current Joint Chiefs chairman.

At a ceremony marking his retirement from the Army, then-Defense Secretary Ashton Carter described him as a commander whose tenacity and operational savvy gave civilian leaders great confidence.

“His commanding presence calmed the confused, and his courage and compassion helped carry the burden of loss and sacrifice,” Carter said.

Three months ago, North Carolina State University announced that Odierno had joined its board of trustees. In 1986 he earned a Master of Science degree in nuclear effects engineering from North Carolina State. He was president of Odierno Associates, a consulting firm in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

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Cahokia Heights home catches fire two days in a row

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Cahokia Heights home catches fire two days in a row

CAHOKIA HEIGHTS, Ill. – A home was on fire early Thursday morning in Cahokia Heights, Illinois.

The fire started in the 400 block of Garrison Avenue just before 5 a.m. Flames were seen coming out of the roof of the one-story home.

Neighbors told FOX 2’s Nissan Rogue Runner reporter Jason Maxwell that the house also caught on fire Wednesday. The fire department was able to quickly put that fire out.

The cause of both fires is unknown at this time.

FOX 2 will continue to update this story with more information as it becomes available.

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Column: Justin Fields is set to return after missing 2 games with cracked ribs — and the Chicago Bears and their rookie quarterback are in search of a little respect

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Column: Justin Fields is set to return after missing 2 games with cracked ribs — and the Chicago Bears and their rookie quarterback are in search of a little respect

Justin Fields has the same vibe that most Chicago Bears fans have come to experience.

They’re not getting any respect.

The only thing the rookie quarterback and the Bears (4-8) can do to change the narrative is to win some of their five remaining games, beginning Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers (9-3) at Lambeau Field.

Fields this week was medically cleared to return from three cracked ribs and will start against the Packers after being knocked out of the Nov. 21 loss to the Baltimore Ravens and missing the next two games.

“I just think a lot of the times teams maybe don’t respect us or don’t give us credit,” Fields said. “I mean, you can’t blame them. We messed up sometimes in the games and we’ve pretty much messed up in a lot of games. … We’re going to attack every game like it’s our last game and we’re going to play through it all.”

The Bears are not getting much respect from the oddsmakers in Las Vegas as 12½-point underdogs, but that comes with the territory in this series. The Packers have won the last five meetings and 20 of the previous 23.

Maybe the Bears can sneak up on the Packers or other remaining opponents — the Minnesota Vikings (twice), New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks. The Bears figure to be favored only against the Giants.

“It feels good,” Fields said. “I like being the underdog. It just gives me an extra chip on my shoulder. I like when people doubt me. That just gives me a little extra motivation. So I love it.”

Being an underdog is new for Fields — he was 20-2 as the starter at Ohio State — but it’s all part of his maturation process in the NFL. The most important thing: He was cleared, meaning the Bears do not believe he’s at risk for more serious injury.

Fields said he’s still not certain when the injury occurred against the Ravens and didn’t believe it was on his final play. He said he normally wears protective padding on his midsection and will do so against the Packers.

“I’m going to have to be smart this upcoming game with not taking as many hits as I usually do,” he said.

“There’s pain there, but I mean, the pain’s just not unbearable. I know there’s going to be pain there, but it is what it is. As long as it’s just not crazy pain where I can’t bear it, I’m going to play and practice.”

Fields threw for 174 yards and a touchdown with one interception and four sacks when the Packers defeated the Bears 24-14 on Oct. 17 at Soldier Field. That started a five-game losing streak, and the organization has been in turmoil since.

The best way to calm the storm, if only temporarily, would be to stun the Packers, and the only chance the Bears have of rolling off some victories in the stretch run is getting their offense rolling.

“We really feel like he was improving as the games went by for him individually, our team, our offense,” coach Matt Nagy said. “There are still places where we can certainly improve. As a staff, we felt like we were really getting a good feel for where he was, and then he gets injured. So then for him to come back against a big division opponent and rival, I know that he’s excited for it.”

Meanwhile, Nagy was cryptic when describing a left hand injury that kept Andy Dalton out of practice Wednesday. Nagy declined to say whether Dalton suffered a broken hand, which a source said was the fear. The team plans to evaluate Dalton’s pain tolerance and possible swelling to determine if he or Nick Foles will serve as the No. 2 quarterback in Green Bay.

The Bears hope two weeks on the sideline gave Fields a different perspective that allowed him to get a slightly better feel for what to expect from opposing defenses — and maybe small elements of situational football that he can apply while he searches for the consistency that has been missing for the offense.

“I think he’s just, like most young players, you sometimes have got to go through some ups and downs and navigate your way through that,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “But he’s a very confident guy. He’s obviously very, very talented, not only as a thrower, but he’s got the added element that you can’t account for — his ability to make the off-schedule play.

“He’s more comfortable in what they’re doing. He’s a heck of a challenge to defend.”

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5 Colorado spas that offer everything from soaks in beer to Himalayan salt room saunas

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5 Colorado spas that offer everything from soaks in beer to Himalayan salt room saunas

Take a tour of The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park and you’ll hear about how Freelan Oscar Stanley – a hotelier and, more famously, inventor of the Yankee steam-powered car – originally came to Colorado on doctor’s orders. Stricken with tuberculosis, Stanley arrived here at the start of the 20th century with optimism that the fresh and dry air, high altitude and ample sunshine would heal him.

Stanley, who survived TB, was just one of many “lungers” who migrated to Colorado seeking a cure. Others who moved here believed the burbling hot springs had healing powers that could treat a variety of ailments. In all, state historians estimate as many as one-third of Colorado’s early settlers moved to the Centennial State for reasons associated with health.

“More came to Colorado for their health than for silver or gold,” says Tom Noel, a state historian who is known as “Dr. Colorado.”

That is to say wellness has deep roots in the state. Several historic destinations and landmarks, including The Broadmoor Hotel and Resort in Colorado Springs and the Colorado Chautauqua in Boulder, were founded as health retreats. Today, the many hot springs and spas, overall active lifestyle, crisp mountain air, and many days of sunshine (and the list goes on) continue to appeal to residents and visitors alike.

After an especially tough year and a half, Colorado’s wellness destinations are seeing an increase in people who want a restorative vacation, whether for a day or a week. Guests are seeking out “travel therapy,” says James Gibson, president of Garden of the Gods Resort and Club, which has a front row seat to the scenic Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs. The resort is home to the STRATA Integrated Wellness and Spa, where Western and Eastern medical science coexist on its treatment menu.

“We are extraordinarily grateful for the power of place here at Garden of the Gods Resort and Club,” Gibson says. The sandstone rock formations that jut into the blue skies, he says, instantly evoke feelings of tranquility and ease.

From sudsy soaks at a beer spa in Denver to pampering “done right” at one of the original spas in the West, here are five ways to experience wellness travel in a state that helped invent it.

Provided by The Broadmoor

The Broadmoor Spa offers a steam room, sauna, aromatherapy room and lounge that are gender specific as well as coed lounge areas that are complimentary with scheduled spa treatment services. Also available are a fitness center, indoor pool and outdoor whirlpool.

The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs

When this luxury resort opened in 1918, it had one of the first spas in the country with dedicated space for both men and women. At the time, guests were advised to dress in their rooms and take the service elevator directly to the baths in The Broadmoor’s “thermo hydrotherapeutic department” (aka spa). A half-hour massage cost a buck and visitors paid $1.50 for a Turkish bath and steam room visit, according to Krista Heinicke, public relations manager and resident historian.

The Broadmoor’s world-traveling founders, Spencer and Julie Penrose, wanted health and wellness to be a centerpiece experience at their resort, where European opulence meets rugged outdoor adventures. Today, guests can fill their itineraries with hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking and stand-up paddleboarding excursions. Coinciding with the reopening of The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway, new fitness options include hiking to the top of Pikes Peak and taking the train down, or taking the train to the top of Pikes Peak and biking down the twisting Pikes Peak Highway.

The resort’s renown spa offers traditional treatments such as deep tissue massages and facials as well as more inventive options. The Wine Down package ($445) incorporates grape seed extract and comes with a chardonnay sugar scrub, massage, manicure and pedicure.

The Broadmoor, 1 Lake Ave., Colorado Springs, 800-755-5011, broadmoor.com

1639052821 309 5 Colorado spas that offer everything from soaks in beer

Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post

The therapy room of The Beer Spa in Denver. Customers soak in a cedar hydrotherapy tub filled with a meticulously crafted blend of hops, barley, and herbs.

The Beer Spa in Denver

After becoming intrigued by a beer spa in Poland, husband-and-wife duo Damien Zouaoui and Jessica French decided to open a similar concept in the United States. They zeroed in on Denver because of the city’s robust craft beer scene and Colorado’s health-consciousness creds.

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