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General killed in Afghanistan is Guilderland native

U.S. officials blame insider attack for shooting; Albany County flags lowered for weeks

Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute alumnus, speaks at the opening of RPI’s Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center on May 3, 2010. Greene was killed Tuesday, Aug. 5, while serving in Afghanistan.

Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute alumnus, speaks at the opening of RPI’s Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center on May 3, 2010. Greene was killed Tuesday, Aug. 5, while serving in Afghanistan. Courtesy of Mark Marchand, of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

— A Guilderland native on Tuesday, Aug. 5, became the highest-ranking American military member to be killed in the Afghanistan war.

Maj. Gen. Harold Greene was killed when an apparent Afghan security force member opened fire on a group of coalition troops during a routine visit at a military academy in Kabul, Afghanistan, according to Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby. Fifteen other people were shot before the assailant was killed.

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U.S. Army

Maj. Gen. Harold Greene

Greene, 52, was commissioned as an engineer after graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1980 and rose to the rank of two-star general. He had lived in Virginia for the past 22 years with his wife and children, who are all members of the military, according to Rep. Paul Tonko’s Office.

Greene’s body arrived Thursday, Aug. 7, at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery next week.

There reportedly were additional causalities, with several people seriously injured and others sustaining minor injuries, according to U.S. officials. An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy on Wednesday, Aug. 6, directed flags on county buildings to be flown at half-staff for 30 days to honor Greene. Gov. Andrew Cuomo instructed flags on state buildings to be flown at half-staff on Thursday, Aug. 7.

McCoy said Greene would be remembered for the impact he had on others during his 34 years of service.

“On behalf of Albany County residents, I extend my deepest condolences to the family, friends and fellow soldiers of Major General Greene,” McCoy said in a prepared statement. “We are deeply grateful for his service to our nation and dedication to improving the lives of the troops in his command.”

Tonko, D-Amsterdam, also offered his condolences to Greene’s family and friends.

“He was a decorated soldier, a patriot and servant to our nation. His service and ultimate sacrifice will never be forgotten,” Tonko said in a prepared statement.

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