Retired Jan. 1, 1959. Died Oct. 16, 1997.
Thetus Cayee Odom was born in Big Sandy, Tenn., in 1906. After graduating from high school at Paris, Tenn., in 1924, he attended the Georgia School of Technology at Atlanta for a year and a half. Entering the U.S. Military Academy in July 1926, he graduated June 12, 1930, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Signal Corps.
Beginning Primary Flying School at Brooks Field, Texas, in October 1930, General Odom graduated from Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas, a year later. On Dec. 22, 1931, he was transferred to the Air Corps. He was assigned to the 28th Bomb Squadron at Nichols Field in the Philippine Islands until November 1933, and was then named provost marshal and police and prison officer there.
Moving to Langley Field, Va., in May 1935, General Odom assumed command of the Second Photo Squadron; became communications officer of the 20th Bomb Squadron in September 1936; and later served as an instructor for the Second Bomb Group. Entering the Air Corps Technical School at Chanute Field, Ill., in August 1937, he completed the maintenance engineering course the following June and remained there as director of the Department of Basic Instruction. That September he entered Harvard University, receiving his master of business administration degree in June 1940.
Ordered to Wright Field, Ohio, General Odom was named chief of the Accounting Branch of the Air Materiel Division. Transferred to Army Air Force Headquarters, Washington, D.C., in January 1942, he was executive assistant to the budget officer, and that September was named director of administrative inspection. He entered the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., in February 1943, graduated that April, and became deputy air inspector at Army Air Forces headquarters. Entering the Army and Navy Staff College in October 1943, he graduated the following February.
Going overseas, General Odom assumed command of the 452nd Bomb Group in the European Theater. He was named assistant deputy for operations of the U.S. Strategic Air Forces in England in July 1944. Returning to Army Air Forces headquarters in June 1945, he was appointed deputy to the assistant chief of staff for personnel, and the following January was named executive officer to the assistant secretary of war for air. He was designated air inspector of Kelly Field in September 1946. Returning to England the following January, he was assistant military air attache, studying at the Imperial Defense College there until December 1947.
Returning to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, the next month, General Odom was appointed deputy comptroller at Air Materiel Command headquarters; becoming assistant deputy to the commanding general for operations, AMC, in April 1950. He was named deputy assistant for programming in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at Air Force headquarters that August.
Rejoining the Air Materiel Command in October 1953, General Odom was named deputy commander at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, and assumed command the following March.
His decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster; French Croix de Guerre with Palm; and the Order of the British Empire. He is rated a command pilot, combat observer, and aircraft observer.
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
He was promoted to first lieutenant (temporary) June 7, 1935; to first lieutenant (permanent) Aug. 1, 1935; to captain (permanent) June 12, 1940; to major (temporary) July 15, 1941; to lieutenant colonel (temporary) Jan. 5, 1942; to colonel (temporary) June 10, 1944; to major (permanent) June 12, 1947; to colonel (permanent) April 2, 1948; to brigadier general (temporary) Dec. 22, 1950; to major general (temporary) July 30, 1954; brigadier general (permanent) Oct. 27, 1954.