He is an alumnus of the United States Military Academy and Georgia Institute of Technology. He also received military education at the United States Army War College. During the Vietnam War, Ord commanded an Infantry company of the 25th Division in 1966.
He then worked as a Personnel Staff Officer for the headquarters of the United States Army Vietnam.
Later in the conflict, from 1972-1973, he worked as a Senior Adviser for the 41st Ranger Command and as Chief of Plans and Operations for Region IV. Ord"s major commands were the United States Total Army Personnel Command in Alexandria, Virginia, from 1990-1992, and the 25th Infantry Division prior to taking command of USARPAC. Other significant duties were Chief of Staff for the Combined Field Army in of Korea from 1987-1989. He also served as Assistant Division Commander for the 7th Infantry Division in Fort Ord, California.
He retired in June 1996. In 2002, he was named Dean of the Naval Postgraduate School of International Graduate Studies (SIGS).