Gen. killed in Afghanistan had Massachusetts ties
BOSTON (AP) — The U.S. Army general killed when a gunman opened fire on allied troops at Afghanistan’s defense university once headed a military technical development center in Massachusetts.
Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene, an engineer, served as the senior commander of the Army’s Natick Soldier Systems Center west of Boston from 2009 to 2011. The center develops technical equipment for soldiers in the field. It employs about 1,600 people.
When he was killed Tuesday, Greene was involved in preparing Afghan forces for the departure of U.S.-coalition troops at the end of the year.
Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, a retired National Guard colonel and former state senator, recalled Greene as “a good man, a great leader and a mentor to me and all who knew him.” Brown, now a Republican Senate candidate in New Hampshire, said Greene’s death “is a reminder that conditions remain very tenuous in Afghanistan.”
Joshua Ostroff, chairman of Natick’s governing board of selectmen, said Greene was a “friendly, forward-thinking leader” and a “great partner.” The town of 33,000 people is about 15 miles west of Boston.
“He initiated a great partnership and collaboration with the town,” Ostroff said. “He was instrumental in kicking off a redesign of the facility to make it more of a modern campus and was very agreeable to working with the community on areas of public safety, public works and economic development.”
Greene, a native of Albany, New York, said in an Army public relations interview as he left the Natick command that he valued the patriotic heritage of Massachusetts, where his parents grew up. He recalled attending patriotic ceremonies with family members in Franklin, and later representing the Army at events such as Iwo Jima Day at the Massachusetts Capitol. “It makes you proud; it makes you want to serve,” Greene said.
Greene, a 34-year veteran, was the highest ranking American officer killed in combat since the Vietnam War.