U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Harold Green killed in Afghanistan ‘terrorist’ attack

General Harold J. Greene

WASHINGTON —   Army Maj. Gen. Harold Greene worked his way up the military over 34 years to become a training leader and infrastructure expert in the U.S. effort to heal war-torn Afghanistan, where he was killed Tuesday.

His service took him all over the world, and along the way, he earned two master’s degrees in engineering and even a doctorate.

Greene was slain when a gunman believed to be an Afghan soldier opened fire at a training facility in Kabul, hitting the general and several others.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno described Greene and soldiers who were wounded in Tuesday’s attack as “professionals, committed to the mission” in Afghanistan.

“It is their service and sacrifice that define us as an Army,” Odierno said in statement.

Greene was the deputy commander of the Combined Security Transition Command, which is responsible for helping transfer security control in Afghanistan to the Afghans.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said the general was a logistics and infrastructure expert helping to lead training efforts.

Throughout his military career, Greene’s focus was using technology to make soldiers’ lives better, retired Maj. Gen. Robert Scales told The Army TImes.

“He had a real sense of what was important,” Scales said. “Harry was always the one who always understood the tactical needs of the close-combat soldiers.”

And Greene was someone who many admired, he said.

“He was just very level, down-to-earth,” Scales told The Army Times. “It’s just devastating that you’ve got this great genius with this incredible reputation and education, and some Islamist wacko comes in and fires a 10-cent bullet and Harry’s life is over. There’s a certain unfairness in life that war brings.”

‘Singular ability to display wisdom’

A native of upstate New York, Greene received his commission as an engineer officer after graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1980, the Army said. He later earned a master’s degree in engineering from that school and another master’s in engineering from the University of Southern California.

He also earned a Ph.D. in materials science from USC.

After 1980, he traveled widely and served in posts around the country and the world: Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Fort Monmouth, New Jersey; Army Aviation and Troop Command in St. Louis, Missouri; Fort Polk, Louisiana; Germany; Athens, Greece; and Istanbul, Turkey.

Greene had served as deputy for acquisition and systems management in the Army’s headquarters in Washington before deploying to Afghanistan, according to an Army website.

His prior assignment was the program executive officer leading the group responsible for “research, development, acquisition, and life cycle management of the Army intelligence, electronic warfare and sensor systems.”

When he was promoted to brigadier general in 2009, Greene earned praise for what one military leader called his “singular ability to display wisdom.”

“He has the rare abilities to make others better, and that’s something very special too because at the level he’s at right now his ability to inspire others, to show others the way, is so important as well,” Lt. Gen. Stephen M. Speakes said at the time.

Greene told people at the ceremony that his success was part of a team effort.

‘Get great things done’

“All I did was try to pull people in the right direction, and they went and did great things. So the reason I’m up here is not what I did, but what all of you did. I know it was truly you guys and gals that did the work the Army recognized today, and for that I thank you,” he said.

“I was very lucky. I worked with tremendous people, and over the years I was honored to have jobs where I could work with great people and we could get great things done.”

In 2011, Greene gave a farewell speech at the Natick Soldier Systems Center in Massachusetts, where he was the senior commander.

“We’ve accomplished a lot, but there is still a lot of work to do,” Greene said, according to a description of his remarks on the Army’s website.

He told the audience he wished he could have made more improvements, like replacing windows so more light would come in.

“The one thing I didn’t get to: quality of life and facilities,” Greene said. “I wish I could have stayed longer to continue to do more. The workforce here deserves better. We need to keep working to improve the quality of life for the workforce and the soldiers that are stationed here.”

CNN’s Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

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23 comments

    • Robbie

      No one took more vacations than W. He was on vacation when he was receiving intelligence reports on a pending attack and did nothing. The attack became known as 9-11 for you idiots. Bush was in an elementary class room at the time of the attacks with far brighter kids than he was. Obama killed bin laden, beat every idiot the Republican party threw at him and you cry babies can’t take it.

      • manalishi

        Yeah, yeah, yeah, and Slick Willie confesses to letting bin laden get away. Your daddy sided with islam in his own written words. It shows.

    • Comrade Obama Hussein RedStar

      You ignorant communists must have forgotten that the terrorists who attacked this country on 9-11 (which you probably enjoyed watching) came from Afghanistan . I know your solution would have been to go apologize . Hey you should try reading a book sometime comrade Erikkka …. books are doubleplus good , useful idiot.

      • Robbie

        Numnuts, they came from Saudi Arabia. The same Saudi Arabia that bin laden came from. George H.W. Bush’s good friends that Saudi Arabia. Bin laden moved to Afghanistan, trained terrorists and ran his network. After 9-11 Bush invaded Afghanistan and missed every opportunity to kill bin laden because he was an idiot like you. Bin laden became anti American because we were in his home land during the first gulf war. Quit posting under so other names Manidueshi.

      • manalishi

        3 things are certain Robbie, your dad’s a tranny, your mom is the other ho in the Ann Dunham nuddies from the Frank marshall Davis library, and there is only 1 manalishi.

    • manalishi

      As facts would have it, Allah started it. General Pershing crushed it for 100 years with 1 swipe. But that’s before progressive told the little people whats right and wrong in the world. What could go wrong with an islamic president?

    • Robbie

      Giriilishi, you’re such a liar! That comrade Obama post has your thoughts all over it. It’s wrong, has no purpose and its idiotic. That’s you, you and you. Quit lying Pinocchioishi.

      • manalishi

        Sorry bout your genetic flaws Robbie. I have a pet peeve about the word “ignorant” as its only used by adolescents. You should know by now. Shouldn’t you be on your “fluffer” job right now? Oh that’s right, its only the 5th and you still have some of your check leftover.

      • manalishi

        I see you and him are on the same intellectual level. It’s actually irresponsible to leave you around kids with those pending charges.

  • Rebel

    just very normal reaction against any occupation in any country….I hope more US generals and soldiers get killed next days …until they get the hell out from our lands

  • Steel Mill

    Afghanistan is a s..hole, we have no business being there. Maybe in 2001 or 2003 we could have done something but that opportunity was missed by then President Bush with his fixation on Iraq. We see how well that has turned out.
    For those that recommend that we should have stayed in Iraq (just like now with Afghanistan) I say how long (1 year, 10? 100?) and how would we have done that w/o a SOFA agreement which Iraq refused to grant. Same in Afghanistan. We need to leave that to those folks to handle, we can only loose there… this is an example. Our “friends” can not even police their own armed forces (over 50% of the soldiers can not read…).
    Get out…yesterday

  • Becky

    Obama’s original Promise to “Bring Our Troops Home”:
    “I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank. ” – Barack Obama Campaign Promise – October 27, 2007

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