The Department of Defense has announced the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Major General Harold J. Greene, 55, died on August 5, 2014, in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he was assigned to the Combined Security Transition Command.
Major General Harold J. Greene
His father, Harold F. Greene, said Harry was born in Boston and was the oldest of three boys. He related that his son loved baseball, a "little kid who didn't give up on the Red Sox, even when the rest of us knew better." Referring to his son’s last assignment, his father said, "He probably would have been one of the last ones to leave Afghanistan when we pull out." The loss of his son has left the elder Greene with a void: "I can describe it as a vacuum; something is missing." Jonathan Greene, Harry’s younger brother, said, "Here's all you need to know about my thoughts: I'm 52 years old, and he's still my hero."
Throughout his military career, Major General Greene was intensely dedicated to his service. According to background information provided by the U.S. Army, Major General Greene was the Deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army, responsible for providing acquisition oversight of Army systems and acquisition reform initiatives.
Before his last assignment, Major General Greene was assigned as the Program Executive Officer for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors. In that position, he led the organization responsible for research, development, acquisition, and life cycle management of the Army intelligence, electronic warfare and sensor systems. Prior to his assignment at PEO IEW&S, he served as the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) Deputy Commanding General and Senior Commander of the Soldiers System Center, Natick, MA.
He previously served as the Director of Material in the Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs, G8, Headquarters, Department of the Army where he was responsible for the resourcing and fielding of the Army's major items of equipment. He also served in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology as the Battle Command Division Chief. Before serving in the Pentagon, he spent four years as the U.S. Army's Project Manager, Battle Command.
Other assignments include: Assistant Director, Directorate for Combat Developments, U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center, Fort Leonard Wood, MO; Product Manager, Aerial Common Sensor at Fort Monmouth, NJ; Division Chief in the TRADOC Systems Manager, Engineer Combat Systems Office at the U.S. Army Engineer School, Fort Leonard Wood; staff officer and materials engineer with the Army Aviation and Troop Command, St. Louis, MO; Brigade Engineer and Company Commander, V Corps, Federal Republic of Germany; assignments with the Corps of Engineers as Resident Engineer, Athens, Greece and Project Engineer, Istanbul, Turkey; and Company Executive Officer, Platoon Leader and Battalion Staff Officer, Fort Polk, LA.
Major General Greene received his commission as an Engineer Officer following graduation from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1980. He held a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in Materials Science as well as masters degrees in engineering from both Rensselaer and Southern California. He also held a Masters of Strategic Studies degree from the U.S. Army War College, and he was a registered Professional Engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
His military education included the Army War College, the Advanced Program Management Course at the Defense Systems Management College, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and the Engineer Officer Basic and Advanced Courses. His awards include the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal with a silver cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Army Achievement Medal and the Army Superior Unit Award.
The General described his approach to his work: "In every job I had we got things done that I think made our Army better, and it was done by other people. All I did was try to pull people in the right direction and they went out and did great things.''
[Major General Greene] would always do what was right, whether popular or not -- a man of rock solid and unwavering character. I thoroughly enjoyed working for him and now carry many (of his) lessons with me each day. He had a great sense of humor and sense of community and a great way with people at all levels. You could always hear him coming down the hall, cheerfully greeting everyone. Most of all, I appreciated his commitment to the Army, its mission and the Soldiers. He was proud to be a Soldier, and it showed every day. ~ Army Reserve Lt. Col. Brian Wood, who served as Greene's executive officer for two years at the Natick Soldier System Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Maryland
He’s just a fun guy. There’s a lot of people sad here today because a lot of us lost a friend. What a soldier eats, wears, sleeps under or ... has dropped down supply-wise while they’re out in the field deployed — it’s researched and developed here [at Natick]. General Greene pushed everybody to do every day the best they could on behalf of that soldier who’s deployed. ~ John Harlow, chief of public affairs for the Natick
He was an amazing man. I think the thing everyone remembers about Harry was how intelligent he was, his wicked sense of humor, how willing he was to step in to lend a hand. ~ Felicia Campbell, vice president of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of the Assn. of the United States Army.
Just a brilliant, brilliant guy. This was a man who was working with Microsoft and commercial vendors, who gave his heart and soul to make sure that soldiers were getting the absolute best that we could provide. These acquisition guys are out there looking at systems and making sure the right thing gets to the soldiers ... These are the guys who are out there to bring them the stuff that they need. ~ Lawrence Levine, an Army defense analyst who worked with Greene at Ft. Leavenworth
He was extraordinarily smart, cared deeply about his people, and was completely dedicated to the Army's mission in Afghanistan. He was also great to work for and with, and he had a super sense of humor. He was a mentor to me, and I will miss him very much. ~ Brig. Gen. William E. Cole, Natick senior commander
I am wrestling with the sadness I feel personally on the loss of Maj. Gen. Harry Greene, an amazing Soldier, leader and fellow scientist -- and also with the enduring questions of the nature of war and peace and our commitment to defense. I awoke this morning with a renewed dedication to our mission, and encourage you all to do the same. ~ Dr. Laurel Allender, an acting director for research at Natick
He and I had a very special bond. It was a devastating blow to see that something like that could happen to such a great human being. He was very light hearted. He was always in on somebody doing a practical joke. He looked at everyone equally. He never looked down on anybody. He was genuine. ~ Retired Sgt. Maj. John Poff, who served as Greene's senior enlisted adviser at Natick
I Got the News Today is a diary series intended to honor, respect and remind. Its title is a reminder that almost every day a military family gets the terrible news about a loved one. Diaries about the fallen usually appear two days after their names are officially released, which allows time for the IGTNT team to find and tell their stories.
Click the IGTNT tags to see the series, which was begun by i dunno, and which is maintained by i dunno, Monkeybiz, Noweasels, Blue Jersey Mom, Chacounne, twilight falling, SisTwo, Spam Nunn, True Blue Majority, CalNM, Wide Awake in Kentucky, Maggie Jean, Jax Dem, The Fat Lady Sings, Ekaterina, Sandy on Signal, and me, Joy of Fishes.
Please bear in mind that these diaries are read by friends and family of the service members chronicled here. May all of our remembrances be full of compassion rather than politics.
When you go home, tell them of us and say
For their tomorrow, we gave our today.
~ John Maxwell Edmonds