James "Gene" Odom


Today we meet in the Santo, Texas home of WWII veteran James "Gene" Odom. To avoid the imminent draft, Gene volunteered for the U.S Navy following his eighteenth birthday. He was soon after assigned to a supply ship, and deployed to the war-torn pacific. Over seventy years later, Gene shares the captivating details of Leyte and Okinawa for his first time on camera.

Two months after our interview, the Gary Sinise Foundation's "Soaring Valor" program hosted an all-expense-paid trip for Gene Odom and I. We were provided a wonderful three-day journey to The National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Upon his completion of a quick basic training, Gene was assigned and deployed aboard the USS

"I thought controlling the Japanese was hard, but then I had two daughters."