Like many of his neighbors, John Odom, 71, retired to Central Texas after three decades of service to the United States.

Unlike most retirees in the Fort Hood area, Odom has no link to the U.S. Army. A native of Stephenville, Odom moved to the area with his family when his father, a civilian contractor, came to Killeen to build roads.

Odom enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1963 and after a hitch in the Marine Reserve, spent the bulk of his national service as a special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and

the Department of Defense.

After retiring in 1995, Odom returned to the area, married and settled in Harker Heights.

“I fit in with Marine and Navy veterans who know NCIS,” he said. “We share the same values, but not necessarily the same politics.”

During his 15-year stint in NCIS, Odom worked in Vietnam from 1972-75 as an investigator in support of Navy and Marine counter-intelligence operations.

NCIS has become well known to civilians through the CBS television series, which Odom said is true to life “in some ways.”

“The loyalty among the agents, that’s true,” he said. “The fights with other agencies, that’s true. Working well with the lab, that’s true.”

In 1984, Odom moved from NCIS to DOD where he specialized in investigating white-collar crimes involving DOD contractors.

After Sept. 11, 2001, the government needed Odom’s investigative skills and he came out of retirement to work another 10 years as a contractor with the FBI.

Now he keeps busy with an array of volunteer activities. He is active in the Killeen Exchange Club. He helps the Harker Heights Police Department distribute Bikes for Kids as part of the Blue Santa project.

A history buff, Odom serves on the board of trustees of the Bell County Museum.

Once a month, Odom takes his chainsaw to Mother Neff State Park to help clear trails with the Central Texas Master Naturalists, of which his wife, Mary, is a member.

In 1998, Odom earned a feather for his hat when he was selected as the 19th Comanche Gap Medicine Man, an award honoring a local resident who makes “good medicine” by helping others in his community.

“I like to stay busy and be around people,” Odom said. “I want to stay active and engaged in the community and support good causes.”

Contact Tim Orwig at

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