GUILDERLAND, N.Y. -- At the end of the week, U.S. Major General Harold Greene was scheduled to fly home from his mission in Afghanistan. The 55-year-old father was looking forward to family time, seeing his wife and daughter in Virginia, and spending a few days in Guilderland, N.Y. helping to tidy up his father's family home.
Now, that time will not happen. Instead, General Greene's family will fly to be with his body when it arrives at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. Greene was killed when a rogue man dressed in an Afghan military uniform opened fire at Greene's base in Afghanistan. Several other soldiers were wounded in the apparent ambush attack.
Back in Guilderland, the general's father, also named Harold Greene, said he is still in shock over the news he received Tuesday morning.
"One of our other sons had heard a reference to a military major general being killed," Harold said. "And knowing there were only three in Afghanistan, and one who's our son, he checked it out. So my son is the one who called me about it."
One day later, Harold Greene shared his son's life story, even recounting the major general's humorous first days in the world.
"He was born at Richardson House in Boston," Greene said. "He was loud, and he was piercing. Once he started [crying], he would have every baby in the place driving the staff nuts."
General Greene graduated RPI in 1980 on a full military scholarship due to his vigorous work in ROTC. He later obtained another engineering degree at the University of Southern California.
But it was his military service, far and away, that defined the general's professional life. Greene was known for deflecting praise to others; on Wednesday, it was the general himself receiving the praise from national leaders.
"You could just tell that there was this deep-rooted sense of community about him," said congressman Paul Tonko. "His concern and compassion for the next generations, I think, drove his commitment as a member of the military."
"To him, and his family, our thanks for being a true patriot in the finest sense of the word," said Senator Chuck Schumer.
The best praise Wednesday came from Major General Greene's father.
"One of the most consistent notes in all his performance evaluations over the years, was that he made the people under him better," said Harold Greene. "Just the way he set up a communications network, the vast majority of people under him, responded."
Major General Harold Greene's body is being flown into Dover Air Force Base, and is expected to arrive there Thursday morning. Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery.