United States Major General Harold Greene, from Falls Church, Virginia, was killed Tuesday in a sneak attack in Afghanistan. General Greene is the highest ranking officer to die in a war zone since the Vietnam War.
His body will be flown back to states this week and will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Greene is the 55-year-old father of two. The family released a statement through a spokesperson.
“He really believed in what he was doing over there and was really proud to serve,” they said. “And the family has asked that I pass along that they believe that the Army as well as Afghanistan, and America, has lost a true hero. “
The Pentagon said the general was killed when a man wearing Afghan Army clothing opened fire inside a military training facility.
The gunman wounded 15 other people before he was killed, and his motive is still unknown.
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 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.
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 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.”