HEIDELBERG, Germany (Army News Service, April 6, 2012) -- Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, and his wife, Linda, concluded their tour of the European theater here, April 6.

Odierno visited Army units throughout Europe and addressed the importance of maintaining a versatile U.S. presence there. The general said a continued presence in Europe must foster training with allies, and must adhere to the principles of "prevent, shape, and win."

"It's about having the right mix of capacity, modernization and readiness," Odierno said. "Having a force forward in Europe that's working with our allies -- one that has the right capabilities, has the right characteristics, and modernization readiness levels -- helps us to let people know we still have a force forward. That helps us quickly launch into other parts of the world."

The general said the Army will continue to shape the environment in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, by doing what it has done for years: partnering with allies to build stronger relationships and stronger partners.

"That's what building partner capacity is about," Odierno said. "It's about a combination of exercises at all levels ... [and] building military-to-military, army-to-army relationships with many nations."

During his tour of the European theater, Odierno had the opportunity to observe V Corps' mission readiness exercise.

"The training areas we have with the Joint Multinational Training Command in Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels gives us the capability to train and maintain a significant amount of readiness that will enable us, if necessary, to win dominantly and decisively on the battlefield," said Odierno.

Over the past decade, the U.S. has worked closely with allies and partner nations in Europe.

"It is important for us to continue to train and work with our allies. Being able to work with them to solve security problems around the world," Odierno said. "It's important for us to stay engaged with them so we have the right structure here on the ground that will allow us to do that."

(Sgt. 1st Class Victor Aguirre writes for U.S. Army Europe public affairs)