Here is Major General Ray Ordierno, commander of the U.S. Army 4th Infantry Division at the beginning of the war in Iraq. He is of course a four star general now, much like General Petraeus who recieved his fourth star from Bu$h upon becoming the commander of the forces in Iraq.
General Raymond Odierno assumes US military command in Iraq
Tuesday September 16 2008 12:43 BST
The commander of US forces in Iraq, General David Petraeus, today handed over control of American military operations in the country to his successor, General Raymond Odierno.
In an elaborate ceremony in the marble-lined rotunda of one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces outside Baghdad, the US defence secretary, Robert Gates, praised the two men for stabilising the country in the past year.
"Darkness had descended on this land," Gates said. "Merchants of chaos were gaining strength. Death was commonplace… Slowly, but inexorably, the tide began to turn. Our enemies took a fearsome beating they will not soon forget."
In his remarks, Petraeus thanked his troops and hailed Odierno as "the perfect man for the job".
As Odierno takes charge, Petraeus becomes the new chief of Central Command, with responsibility for US troops from the Horn of Africa to central Asia, including the conflicts in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Iraq was spiralling into all-out civil war when Petraeus took over in February 2007, almost four years after Saddam was toppled by a US-led invasion.
Since late last year, violence has fallen to a four-year low. Much of the credit has gone to the counter-insurgency strategies of 55-year-old Petraeus.
Yesterday, Gates credited Petraeus's "brilliant strategy" and its implementation by US troops and field commanders for the success of the surge.
"I think he's played a historic role. There is just no two ways about it," he said.
Petraeus oversaw the surge, but it was his former deputy Odierno who first proposed it in December 2006 to a resistant Pentagon, setting the stage for what would become a pivotal turn in the unpopular war.
Odierno, criticised for riding roughshod over civilians during his first tour to Iraq in 2003-2004, implemented the surge as the corps commander from December 2006 to March 2008, which Gates said made him the right person to replace Petraeus.
September 17, 2008
New US Commander in Iraq has aggressive reputation
General Ray Odierno takes over US occupation in Iraq as demonstrators march against Gates visit