Maj. Gen. Harold Greene had been an Army officer since 1980

Posted at 8:30 PM, Aug 05, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-05 20:38:39-04

(CNN) – Army Maj. Gen. Harold Greene worked his way up the military over 34 years to become a training leader and infrastructure expert in the U.S. effort to heal war-torn Afghanistan, where he was killed Tuesday.

His service took him all over the world, and along the way, he earned two master’s degrees in engineering and even a doctorate.

Greene was slain when a gunman believed to be an Afghan soldier opened fire at a training facility in Kabul, hitting the general and several others.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno released a letter of condolence for the loss of Greene on the U.S. Department of Defense website Tuesday.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene’s family, and the families of our soldiers who were injured today in the tragic events that took place in Afghanistan,” Odierno said.

Becomes an officer

A native of upstate New York, Greene received his commission as an engineer officer after graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1980, the Army said. The institute describes itself as the “the nation’s oldest technological research university,” founded in 1824. He later earned a master’s degree in engineering from that school and another master’s in engineering from the University of Southern California.

He also earned a Ph.D. in materials science from USC.

After 1980, he traveled widely and served in posts around the country and the world: Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Fort Monmouth, New Jersey; Army Aviation and Troop Command in St. Louis, Missouri; Fort Polk, Louisiana; Germany; Athens, Greece; and Istanbul, Turkey.

Greene’s job title was deputy for acquisition and systems management in the Army’s headquarters in Washington, according to an Army website.

His prior assignment was the program executive officer leading the group responsible for “research, development, acquisition, and life cycle management of the Army intelligence, electronic warfare and sensor systems.”

Work ethic

In 2011, Greene gave a farewell speech at the Natick Soldier Systems Center in Massachusetts, where he was the senior commander, at the rank of brigadier general.

“We’ve accomplished a lot, but there is still a lot of work to do,” Greene said, according to an Army website article.

“The one thing I didn’t get to: quality of life and facilities,” Greene said in the Army article. “I wish I could have stayed longer to continue to do more. The workforce here deserves better. We need to keep working to improve the quality of life for the workforce and the soldiers that are stationed here. That is going to require resources over time. The infrastructure here is not what anyone would like it to be. It was a problem that took many years to get here.

“If you gave me one thing that I could fix tomorrow, it would be to rip out those god-awful windows and put in state of the art thermal pane windows and get some light in here,” Greene said.

Greene’s family has been notified of his death, according to one U.S. official.