NH mourns general with ties to Granite State
New Hampshire residents who knew Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene are shocked and saddened by the two-star general’s death.
Greene, who had ties to New Hampshire and other parts of New England, was the highest-ranking U.S. military officer killed in combat since Vietnam. The shooter, who was wearing an Afghan army uniform, was also killed in the attack near Kabul, Afghanistan, but not before he wounded 14 others, Reuters reported.
On Wednesday, several Granite Staters were mourning the loss of Greene, 55, of Falls Church, Va., questioning the attack and reminiscing about a devoted military man.
“He was a consummate professional — a highly intelligent man who was completely dedicated to the Army and this country,” said Ron Corsetti of Hollis, who knew Greene when the general served as the senior commander at the Natick (Mass.) Soldier Systems Center in Massachusetts from 2009-2011.
“He understood the real needs of the soldier and the technology that could be used to help with those needs,” Corsetti said. “A smart guy like that could bridge the gap between technologically advanced programs and real soldier requirements, which is extremely valuable.”
Greene had received his commission as an engineer officer, a master’s degree in engineering and a Ph.D. in materials science.
He served as deputy for acquisition and systems management in the Army’s headquarters.
Corsetti said Greene was an approachable, down-to-earth individual who was easily able to excel in leadership roles because of his sincerity.
“I think he really had an affinity for the soldier,” said Corsetti, adding Greene worked on counter Improvised Explosive Device jamming programs in the electronic and intelligence realms that made a real difference for troops on the front lines.
Chris Ager of Amherst, president of the New Hampshire Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army, said he was honored to have known Greene through work at BAE Systems.
“He was just a really fine, upstanding gentleman. It is very devastating to lose someone like him,” Ager said.
Greene served as a key decision-maker in ensuring troops have what they need to survive deployment, Ager said.
Mike Rice of Nashua, state president of the Association of the U.S. Army in New Hampshire, said Greene’s death is a harsh reminder that a war is still going on.
“I think one of the over-arching concerns that everybody has had for a long time is that whether in Iraq or Afghanistan, some of the locals we have given a certain amount of trust to in order to do what we do,” said Rice. “You just don’t know. They can turn on you at any time. This is a reminder that it doesn’t matter who you are, you are still at risk whether you are a young service member or a seasoned sergeant.”
Scott Brown, New Hampshire candidate for the U.S. Senate, spent 35 years in the National Guard.
“General Greene was someone I respected greatly, and it makes me angry that he was killed by someone suspected of being a member of the Afghan military,” Brown said in a statement. “General Greene was a good man, a great leader and a mentor to me and all who knew him.”
Greene’s death, according to Brown, is a reminder that conditions remain tenuous in Afghanistan, and that the Taliban has sympathizers that still pose a very real threat.
Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry described the shooter as a “terrorist in army uniform.” The German military told Reuters its general was one of 14 coalition troops wounded in Tuesday’s attack, adding that his life was not in danger. Seven Americans and five British troops were among the wounded, an Afghan official said.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Greene leaves behind his wife, retired Col. Sue Myers, who was a study director and a professor at the U.S. Army War College, and two grown children — a son, Matthew, who is a lieutenant and a graduate of West Point, and a daughter, Amelia.