Aug 2015 Washington State

5 Aug 2015

A year ago today at just about this time of day I was informed that a friend, my mentor Major General Harold Greene had been killed by an Afghan soldier in a ‘Green on Blue’ insider attack. I had a restless sleep last night where my thoughts would focus on the man, Harold Greene. I was privileged to have worked closely with him. I was honored to have him joke with me and allow me to become part of an inner circle of persons he trusted. I will honor Major General Greene today. I am on a Swinomish Indian Reservation with no contact to the outside world as far as news, internet or television and no cell phone connectivity. I don’t know if his memory is being honored by others.

I am choosing to honor this man as an American Hero. To me he was a bigger than life figure. His voice was always loud wherever he was. You could hear him at the other end of the hall as he greeted people on his way through the building. He had a ready smile that gave you encouragement and an energy that was contagious. There were times when I would be waiting for a meeting with him and he would walk into his office with the weight of the world upon his shoulders and he’d look at me wondering why I was there until he was able to focus. The burdens of command in a war zone took their toll on him. Depending on who else was in the meeting I would attempt to provide a diversion from his troubles for a moment and then talk about progress being made and then approach him with what did his heart the most good ‘I would involve him and request his advice, guidance, support or a particular action’. He loved being of use, having a purpose. I vividly recall after the first big meeting we had with the US Embassy and United Nations concerning the Police payroll. I had briefed a room full of staff members involved in the personnel and pay of the Afghan National Police two nights before and then the General the morning before. All of this was based on a paper I wrote to him expressing my concerns about the ability of the United Nations to pay the Afghan Police timely and accurately. At any rate after this very successful first meeting with a senior US Embassy representative and senior representatives of the United Nations he clasped me on the shoulder and asked if he hit them in the nose hard enough for me? This is the kind of guy he was. He supported me in many ways over the 7 months I knew him. He would always stop and chat with me if we met by chance. On Memorial Day he was climbing the stairs with his senior enlisted Air Force Sergeant and we stopped on the stairway to chat. He tells me that he is going room to room in the headquarters building greeting people, thanking them for their service on this day. He asked me what I would normally be doing on Memorial Day. I told him that I would carry both my American Legion hat and my VFW hat with me and switching them out I would celebrate the fallen from previous wars, especially Vietnam as I had spent two tours of duty there. He seemed surprised that I had spent time in Vietnam as he didn’t think I was that old!

He had a great sense of humor as evidenced by this email exchange based on a package I received from my daughter that I shared with the General:

From: Greene, Harold J US MG DCG CSTC-A [mailto:harold.j.greene@afghan.swa.army.mil] Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 11:57 PM To: Coffer, Paula J US CTR CSTC-A RM HQ ISAF <paula.j.coffer@afghan.swa.army.mil> Subject: (U) Thank you

UNCLASSIFIED

Paula, found a package on my desk today.  Inside, I found a very nice note, a wonderful coin and a banner.  Really appreciated the note and the coin, but the banner……I just don’t know what to do with it.  I don’t think it would provide much heating value if I burned it.  I thought about sitting on it, but it didn’t look like it had much value as padding.  I think I may use it for a target on a punching bag.  Or, better yet, I will put it underneath my Tom Brady bobble head.  Tom can stomp on the Colts there, just as I hope he’ll do on the football field on 16 November (Sunday night game which will air at 0600 hrs local here).  I’ll still be here.  If you are still here then, it will give us something to discuss.

GO PATS!!

MG Harry Greene

DCG, CSTC-A

I thought by meeting with Colonel Rodgers at Arlington National Cemetery, meeting his wife-retired Colonel Sue Meyers and several of my fellow Afghanistan compatriots that I would overcome my sadness. I don’t think I’ll ever overcome the sadness of the loss of this wonderful person, this military leader, this humorous man, this brilliant engineer. Here are my two favorite pictures of MG Greene:

In the first one the General and I had walked together from our office complex to the Destille Gardens on July 4th discussing typical cookout/picnic menus. He had me go first through the line and then he got caught up by others and lagged far behind. We crossed paths and he glanced at my plate and commented that it looked like I had everything from my ideal menu. The second picture is the General dressed for the British Queen’s birthday party. Todd Schafer and the General went together to the party at the British Embassy. I had caught him walking into our work building and asked him if I could take his picture. Here is the email conversation when I sent it to him:

—–Original Message—–

From: Coffer, Paula J US CTR CSTC-A RM HQ ISAF

Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2014 6:19 PM

To: Greene, Harold J US MG DCG CSTC-A

Subject: FW: (U) Emailing: IMG_0414

UNCLASSIFIED

WOW Sir, I can’t believe how young you look in these pictures!

Paula

From: Greene, Harold J US MG DCG CSTC-A [mailto:harold.j.greene@afghan.swa.army.mil] Sent: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 9:26 AM To: Coffer, Paula J US CTR CSTC-A RM HQ ISAF <paula.j.coffer@afghan.swa.army.mil> Subject: RE: (U) Emailing: IMG_0414

UNCLASSIFIED

Paula, are you trying to say I normally look old?  🙂  Thanks.  We’ll see if my wife thinks I look young.

MG Harry Greene, DCG, CSTC-A

MG Greene (2)

2014-06-04 17.04.34

I pulled from my journal and will include my entry from the day a year ago. I’ve included some of the articles from the time relating to his assassination by an Afghan soldier.

5 Aug 2014

This was not a good day in Paradise! As I am leaving the DFAC after a wonderful breakfast of 2 hard boiled eggs, a bowl of yogurt with cinnamon and raisons and a glass of milk I hear a loud voice “Well Paula, how are you today?” and of course I respond that I’m doing “Super Dupe! Just another great day in Paradise!” and as I pass him I touch his shoulder and tell him that in just two more days he’ll be in paradise. He tells me “That I will”  You see this was my friend that was going home for R&R in two days to see his family. He has a beautiful wife and one of his sons has graduated from West Point. He is one proud Papa! I always kid him about the #12 bobble head on his refrigerator as the first time I saw it (blue background with white numbers) I told him that I didn’t know he was a Andrew Luck fan. He tells me Blasphemy! I say, but that is the Indianapolis Colts, Andrew Luck and he walks to the refrigerator and removes something from in front of the bobble head and it is Tom Brady.  That was back in March and we have had an ongoing banter about Tom or Andrew since. I even bought him a #12 Luck Jersey and gave it to him the other day. I have the picture where he brought it back to me and said he couldn’t take it but that he would wear it on November 17th if the Colts beat the Patriots.

This is a man that always carried on a different kind of banter with many others, a Major Carter who is a Ravens fan had the same kind of repartee as me with him. This man supported me in so many ways. I want to get a pay system to the Ministry of Defense now and he holds me back and tells me that we have to follow a process and he wants the best he can get for the Afghans and knows someone back in the states that can be brought over here to make it right and get the right kind of ‘process’ and ‘system’ to ensure that each and every policeman and soldier is paid accurately, on time with transparency and accountability.

This is a man who was killed today while visiting the ‘West Point’ of Afghanistan by the Afghan Army Officers he was there to support. A German General Officer was also shot but is in good condition, a young Captain was killed as well. More than a dozen soldiers were also injured and at this point I don’t know much else.  I ask that you keep the families in your thoughts and prayers.

This is making me re-evaluate why I’m here if such a good and hard working person can be so brutally shot down, what good do I possibly think I can do?! If this man can’t be protected, what makes me think I can be protected? Time for a shower, meditation and re-evaluation of life in general and what it is that I want to accomplish. Heck – I’m young! I don’t turn 62 until November and I have America to visit and my children to hold close!

Nathalie Hines came over this afternoon and asked me to take a walk with her. We walked arm in arm around the ISAF compound 3 times. She is encouraging me to stay as she states that I am that rare person who is able accomplish where others are not.  She tells me that my work here is not done and that I can still contribute.  I know that my loss is small as this soldier’s soldier meant something to many people and is a personal hero of mine. I’ve written about him many times as he has supported me and championed my causes.  Nathalie tells me that he had a great deal of respect for me.  WOW, and Nathalie sits in a General’s position.  I guess part of my issue at this moment is that why am I here, at 61 years of age, when I should be sharing life with my son and daughters, bringing inspiration to others in need of an uplift to their heart. Over the past 3+ years we have continually heard the President of Afghanistan tell us to go home, berate us for actions taken to eliminate the terrorist threat and over and over express that the Taliban were his brothers. So why am I risking my life to ensure his soldiers and policemen are paid when he obviously doesn’t care because he seems to harbor terrorist and corrupt politicians and officers. Maybe it’s just my time to come home and find friends and family that I can celebrate life with instead of wasting my time here. Now if I can just quit crying!

Report: Man in Afghan uniform kills U.S. general

A man in an Afghan uniform opened fire at a military training academy outside Kabul on Tuesday, killing at least one American, media outlets are reporting.

Details about the attack at Camp Qargha, a base west of the capital, Kabul, weren’t immediately clear. The New York Times, citing an unidentified Afghan military official, reports that a U.S. Army major general was fatally shot at point-blank range, the highest ranking U.S. officer to die in Afghanistan.

The Times also reports that at least two other senior coalition officers were killed — and that only American officers were believed to be taking part in the meeting.

Lt. Gen. Afzal Aman, the director of operations at Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry, tells the Times the academy’s commander, Brig. Gen. Ghulam Saki, was wounded in the shooting along with two other senior Afghan officers. The academy remained under lockdown and further details were unavailable, the Times said.

The Associated Press, citing Afghan military spokesman Gen. Mohammmad Zahir Azimi, said at least one U.S. soldier was killed and 15 coalition troops were wounded, including a German brigadier general and “about a dozen” Americans.

Azim said a “terrorist in an army uniform” opened fire on both local and international troops. Azimi said the shooter had been killed and that three Afghan army officers were wounded.

Terrorist in Afghan army uniform opens fire on NATO forces in Kabul

By Ghanizada – Tue Aug 05, 2:32 pm

An Afghan national army (ANA) soldier opened fire on NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) soldiers in Camp Qagha in Kabul city.

The incident has reportedly taken place following a verbal clash, with preliminary reports suggesting at least four ISAF soldiers were shot dead following the attack.

ISAF said, “We can confirm that an incident occurred involving local Afghan and ISAF troops at Camp Qargha today in Kabul City. We are in the process of assessing the situation. More information will be released as we sort out the facts.”

Defense ministry spokesman, Gen. Zahir Azimi, said the attack was carried out a terrorist who had disguised in Afghan army uniform and opened fire on Afghan army officers and international forces.

Gen. Azimi further added that the incident took place around 12:00 pm local time and the assailant militant was killed by Afghan army soldiers.

News – Afghanistan

Four Foreign Soldiers Killed by Afghan Soldier: Officials

Tuesday, 05 August 2014 15:24 Written by TOLOnews.com

Four foreign soldiers have been killed by an Afghan soldier at a military academy in Kabul City on Tuesday morning, according to security officials.

Two Afghan soldiers were also wounded in the attack.

An Afghan security official, on condition of anonymity, said the incident took place at a military academy in Qargha located west of Kabul City.

The nationalities of the four soldiers are yet to be identified.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has confirmed the incident, adding that an investigation is underway.

Details to come.

5 August 2014 Last updated at 10:52

‘Afghan soldier attacks’ British army academy near Kabul

The UK’s Ministry of Defence is investigating reports of an Afghan soldier opening fire at a British-run military academy near Kabul.

There are reports of the Afghan commander being injured and international casualties.

The officers’ training academy at Camp Qargha first took cadets last October.

Modelled on the UK’s academy at Sandhurst, it will be the only British military presence in Afghanistan when operations end this year.

The BBC’s Afghanistan correspondent David Loyn said he understands that an argument took place late morning or lunchtime between Afghans and an armed Afghan soldier, who opened fire.

General Mohammed Afzal Aman, the chief of staff for operations at the Afghan Ministry of Defence, told AFP that “three of our officers have been injured, some ISAF troops have also suffered casualties”.

From straitstimes.com

Afghan soldier ‘opens fire’ at NATO troops in Kabul: officials

Published on Aug 5, 2014 7:03 PM

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KABUL (AFP) – An Afghan soldier opened fire on Nato troops at a British-run military academy on the outskirts of Kabul on Tuesday, officials said, though they were unable to immediately confirm casualty details.

“We are investigating, but it appears that an Afghan army officer opened fire. Three of our officers have been injured, some ISAF troops have also suffered casualties,” General Mohammed Afzal Aman, the chief of staff for operations at the Afghan Ministry of Defence, told AFP.

Incidents in which Afghan forces turn their guns on their allies have killed scores of US-led troops in recent years, breeding fierce mistrust and forcing joint patrols to be monitored by so-called “guardian angels” to provide protection.

“We can confirm that an incident occurred involving local Afghan and ISAF troops at Camp Qargha,” Nato’s International Security Assistance Force said in a statement.

Man wearing Afghan uniform shoots at foreign troops in Kabul

By Rahim Faiez and Amir Shah

| Associated Press August 05, 2014

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A man dressed in an Afghan army uniform opened fire Tuesday on foreign troops at a military base, causing casualties, an Afghan military spokesman said.

NATO said it was investigating an ‘‘incident’’ involving both Afghan and international troops at Camp Qargha, a base west of the capital, Kabul, which trains officers for the country’s army.

Gen. Mohammmad Zahir Azimi, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry, wrote on Twitter that ‘‘a terrorist using (the) uniform of (the) Afghan Army’’ opened fire, wounding some. He did not elaborate. Afghan officials declined to immediately comment.

In its statement, NATO said that it was ‘‘in the process of assessing the situation.’’

The attack comes as so-called ‘‘insider attacks’’ — incidents in which Afghan security turn on their NATO partners — largely dropped last year. In 2013, there were 16 deaths in 10 separate attacks. In 2012, such attacks killed 53 coalition troops in 38 separate attacks.

Such ‘‘insider attacks’’ are sometimes claimed by the Taliban insurgency as proof of their infiltration. Others are attributed to personal disputes or resentment by Afghans who have soured on the continued international presence in their country more than a dozen years after the fall of the Taliban’s ultra-conservative Islamic regime.

Foreign aid workers, contractors and other civilians in Afghanistan are increasingly becoming targets of violence as the U.S.-led military coalition continues a withdrawal to be complete by the end of the year.

Meanwhile Tuesday, a NATO helicopter strike targeting missile-launching Taliban militants killed four civilians in western Afghanistan, an Afghan official said Tuesday. NATO said they were investigating the attack.

The attack in western Herat province comes as civilian casualties from NATO attacks remain a contentious issue across the country. Almost 200 people protested against NATO in Herat on Tuesday, carrying the bodies of the dead civilians into the provincial capital and demanding an investigation.

The strike happened Monday night in the province’s Shindan district, said Raouf Ahmadi, a spokesman for the provincial chief of police. He said Taliban militants launched a missile at an airport nearby, drawing the NATO helicopter’s fire. He said the NATO attack killed two men, one woman and a child.

In a statement, NATO said it was aware of the attack and was investigating, without elaborating.

NATO ‘‘takes all allegations of civilian casualties seriously, and is assessing the facts surrounding this incident,’’ it said.

Civilians increasingly find themselves under fire as the 2001 U.S.-led war draws to a close, as Afghan forces take the lead in operations targeting the Taliban. The civilian death toll in the war in Afghanistan rose 17 percent for the first half of this year, the United Nations reported in July. The U.N. said 1,564 civilians were killed from January through June, compared with 1,342 in the first six months of 2013. It blamed

Insurgents were responsible for 74 percent of the casualties, the U.N. said, while pro-government forces were responsible for 9 percent, government forces 8 percent and foreign troops just 1 percent. The rest could not be attributed to any group.

Outgoing President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly clashed with NATO over civilian casualties.

Afghan security forces also increasingly find themselves under attack as the planned foreign troop withdrawal draws near. On Tuesday, a police car struck a roadside bomb in the eastern province of Nouristan, killing three officers, provincial police chief Abdul Baqi Nouristani said.

German soldier killed, 15 wounded in Kabul attack

By Rahim Faiez and Amir Shah

| Associated Press August 05, 2014

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Fifteen German troops were wounded, including a brigadier general, and one soldier killed in Kabul Tuesday, a German military official said.

A man dressed in an Afghan army uniform opened fire on foreign troops at a military base, causing casualties, an Afghan military spokesman said.

NATO said it was investigating an ‘‘incident’’ involving both Afghan and international troops at Camp Qargha, a base west of the capital, Kabul, which trains officers for the country’s army.

Gen. Mohammmad Zahir Azimi, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry, wrote on Twitter that ‘‘a terrorist using (the) uniform of (the) Afghan Army’’ opened fire, wounding some. He did not elaborate. Afghan officials declined to immediately comment.

In its statement, NATO said that it was ‘‘in the process of assessing the situation.’’

The attack comes as so-called ‘‘insider attacks’’ — incidents in which Afghan security turn on their NATO partners — largely dropped last year. In 2013, there were 16 deaths in 10 separate attacks. In 2012, such attacks killed 53 coalition troops in 38 separate attacks.

Such ‘‘insider attacks’’ are sometimes claimed by the Taliban insurgency as proof of their infiltration. Others are attributed to personal disputes or resentment by Afghans who have soured on the continued international presence in their country more than a dozen years after the fall of the Taliban’s ultra-conservative Islamic regime.

Foreign aid workers, contractors and other civilians in Afghanistan are increasingly becoming targets of violence as the U.S.-led military coalition continues a withdrawal to be complete by the end of the year.

Meanwhile Tuesday, a NATO helicopter strike targeting missile-launching Taliban militants killed four civilians in western Afghanistan, an Afghan official said Tuesday. NATO said they were investigating the attack.

The attack in western Herat province comes as civilian casualties from NATO attacks remain a contentious issue across the country. Almost 200 people protested against NATO in Herat on Tuesday, carrying the bodies of the dead civilians into the provincial capital and demanding an investigation.

The strike happened Monday night in the province’s Shindan district, said Raouf Ahmadi, a spokesman for the provincial chief of police. He said Taliban militants launched a missile at an airport nearby, drawing the NATO helicopter’s fire. He said the NATO attack killed two men, one woman and a child.

In a statement, NATO said it was aware of the attack and was investigating, without elaborating.

NATO ‘‘takes all allegations of civilian casualties seriously, and is assessing the facts surrounding this incident,’’ it said.

Civilians increasingly find themselves under fire as the 2001 U.S.-led war draws to a close, as Afghan forces take the lead in operations targeting the Taliban. The civilian death toll in the war in Afghanistan rose 17 percent for the first half of this year, the United Nations reported in July. The U.N. said 1,564 civilians were killed from January through June, compared with 1,342 in the first six months of 2013. It blamed

Insurgents were responsible for 74 percent of the casualties, the U.N. said, while pro-government forces were responsible for 9 percent, government forces 8 percent and foreign troops just 1 percent. The rest could not be attributed to any group.

Outgoing President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly clashed with NATO over civilian casualties.

Afghan security forces also increasingly find themselves under attack as the planned foreign troop withdrawal draws near. On Tuesday, a police car struck a roadside bomb in the eastern province of Nouristan, killing three officers, provincial police chief Abdul Baqi Nouristani said.

Afghan soldier opens fire at British-run Qargha military academy near Kabul

Both Afghan and Nato troops injured in attack at facility that will be only UK presence in country beyond end of year

Afghan recruits attend a lecture at the British-run Qargha military academy near Kabul. Photograph: Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images

An Afghan soldier opened fire at a British-run military academy outside Kabul on Tuesday, injuring Afghan and Nato troops.

The number of people injured in the attack at the Qargha academy was not immediately known, but the Ministry of Defence in London said it was investigating.

“We are aware of reports of an incident at Qargha. The incident is under investigation and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time,” a spokesman said.

General Mohammed Afzal Aman, the chief-of-staff for operations at the Afghan defence ministry, said it was also investigating the reports.

“We are investigating, but it appears that an Afghan army officer opened fire. Three of our officers have been injured, some [Nato] troops have also suffered casualties.”

Unconfirmed reports suggested an argument had broken out at the academy among a group of Afghan soldiers, including the one who opened fire.

The officers’ training academy, dubbed “Sandhurst in the sand”, took its first cadets last October and will be the only remaining British military presence in the country after operations end this year.

Incidents in which Afghan forces turn their guns on their allies have killed scores of Nato troops in recent years, breeding deep mistrust and forcing joint patrols to be monitored by so-called “guardian angels” to provide protection.

“We can confirm that an incident occurred involving local Afghan and Isaf troops at Camp Qargha,” Nato’s International Security Assistance Force said in a statement.

“The camp, also known as the Kabul ANA Officer Academy, is an Afghan National Security Forces facility. We are in the process of assessing the situation.”

6 Aug 2014

This is not just another day in Paradise. While Paradise is a state of mind, a place where worries are dissipated and joy experienced; my paradise has been covered with clouds. The good news is that clouds only cover our perceptions of life temporarily. Clouds do move on eventually, some bring rain, some bring lightning and thunder. One thing for sure though, the air is fresher after a rain, the sun is brighter when the clouds move away and life is good, to be lived and experienced to the maximum. We each must make a choice on how this day goes for us. Today my emotions are controlling my tears but my heart is strong and my mind is strong and I know that Major General Harold Greene will appreciate that the mission continues in the spirit with which he led. Therefore I can choose to be the flower that breaks through the soil and is nourished by the spirit of a wonderful man and leader and bloom in the wind that blows across the plains of our lives. I can choose to enlighten, to strengthen the ties of humanity in the hopes that love and peace and the desire to live as spiritual beings in a human world will prevail. I can choose to smile and bring hope, to travel the higher road. I can choose to live my life and only hope that what I can accomplish will be recognized and appreciated in the spirit in which I live it. Much like MG Greene I only want to give, to support, to grow, to develop and to build. MG Greene pushed me, challenged me to dig deeper and to consider things that are out of my own box or comfort zone. He placed me in charge of important projects and functions and never doubted me.  For this I swear I heard him last night tell me “Paula, what are you going to do? Are you going to finish the pay system you’ve worked so hard on? Are you going to ensure that the Gender specific funds are spent? What are you waiting for?”

I received many notes of condolence and support and I thank you for that. A friend sent me a prayer/quote she carries with her and I’ve shared it with my colleagues and I now share it with you.

I’m so sad for the families of the men killed and wounded.  It is just all so senseless.

You have given years/months of your life to this cause and I can only imagine how heartsick you are right now.  Take good care of yourself.  I know you will handle this decision with the same dedication you have shown throughout this mission.

I will leave you with a quote I carry with me:

This is the beginning of a new day.

God has given me this day to use as I will.

I can waste it or use it for good.

What I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.

When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; Leaving in its place something I have traded for it.

I want it to be gain, not evil;

Success not failure in order that I shall not regret the price I paid for it.

Take care dear friend and know you are in my prayers.

In response to this prayer from a workmate I wrote this:

This prayer from my friend does not mean I’ve made a decision just yet. I just have to consider what my value will be to the command and what contribution that I can make that would make General Greene’s death meaningful. I’m at the twilight of my career, my life and I need/want/desire purpose.

I wrote this also in response to another comment.

It is a struggle for me at the moment. I know it will get better – I just have to be strong enough at this moment in time to accept what I cannot change and change what I’ve been given the intelligence and ability to change. Life is good and should be honored. I must tell you that Major General Harold Greene was a very special person and I’m going to miss him dearly. A soldiers’ soldier and I’m nothing more than an old retired soldier!

I feel privileged and blessed today. I was placed on the manifest to travel by Chinook helicopter to Bagram where I was able to participate in the ramp ceremony as MG Greene was placed onto the aircraft for transport back to the United States and his family. I don’t know how many people were there, I lost count but I would say 1,000 of his ‘family’ were there to pay their respects. I am honored that I was able to hold my hand on the flag that covered his coffin, knowing that the energy passed to this United States flag by all of us here in Afghanistan will be transferred to his family, safe back home.

US general killed in Afghanistan assassination was engineer

Published August 05, 2014

Associated Press

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WASHINGTON – Harold J. Greene, the two-star Army general who on Tuesday became the highest-ranking U.S. military officer to be killed in either of America’s post-9/11 wars, was an engineer who rose through the ranks as an expert in developing and fielding the Army’s war materiel. He was on his first deployment to a war zone.

Greene was killed when a gunman believed to be an Afghan soldier opened fire at a military academy near Kabul. More than a dozen other coalition soldiers were wounded, including about eight Americans, according to early accounts of the attack. It was among the bloodiest insider attacks of the war in Afghanistan.

The Army’s top soldier, Gen. Ray Odierno, issued a statement Tuesday evening saying the Army’s thoughts and prayers were with Greene’s family as well as the families of those injured in the attack.

In a 34-year career that began at Fort Polk, La., Greene, a native of upstate New York, earned a reputation as an inspiring leader with a sense of humility. He had been in Afghanistan since January, serving as deputy commander of a support command called the Combined Security Transition Command, in Kabul.

At the time of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks Greene was serving at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and when the U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003 he was a student at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, at the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Greene flourished in the less glamorous side of the Army that develops, tests, builds and supplies soldiers with equipment and technology. That is a particularly difficult job during wartime, since unconventional or unanticipated battlefield challenges like roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan, call for urgent improvements in equipment.

In 2009-2011, for example, he served as deputy commanding general of the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command and senior commander of the Natick Soldier System Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Maryland. During that tour of duty he gained the rank of brigadier general, and at his promotion ceremony in December 2009 he was lauded for his leadership skills and ability to inspire those around him.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Speakes applauded Greene for a “sense of self, a sense of humility” and an exemplary work ethic, according to an account of the promotion ceremony published by the Times Union of Albany, N.Y., which called Greene an Albany native.

“In every job I had we got things done that I think made our Army better, and it was done by other people,” Greene was quoted as saying. “All I did was try to pull people in the right direction and they went out and did great things.”

Greene earned a bachelor of science degree in materials engineering and a master’s degree in industrial engineering, both from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. He later studied at the University of Southern California and also attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Leavenworth, Kansas.

In 2010, he spoke at the opening of the Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center, a research facility at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with the mission of improving the Army’s understanding of social, information and communication networks, according to the Army’s account of the event.

“We’re in a fight now with an enemy that’s a little bit different and uses different techniques … and networks are a key part of that,” Greene said.

He said finding patterns in the tactics of insurgents was difficult because of the way networks evolve and otherwise change. So the goal was to bring to light the patterns and determine how to anticipate and influence the actions of insurgents.

“The enemy is every bit as good as we are at using that network to our detriment so this is essential work, this is about defending our country,” Greene said. “You must know that there is a direct application on the battlefield and we’re using it today, but we don’t really understand it yet so this is a critical element.”

His awards include the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Service Medal, a Meritorious Service Award and an Army Commendation Medal.

US general assassinated in ‘green-on-blue’ shooting at Afghan army training base

Published August 05, 2014

FoxNews.com

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A man in an Afghan Army uniform opened fire Tuesday at a military base, killing a U.S. general and wounding 15 people, among them a German brigadier general and a number of Americans troops.

U.S. officials identified the murdered American late Tuesday as Maj. Gen. Harold Greene. Greene was the highest-ranked American officer killed in combat since 1970 in the Vietnam War.

Greene, who was on his first deployment to a war zone, was involved in preparing Afghan forces for the time when U.S.-coalition troops leave at the end of this year. An engineer by training, he was the deputy commanding general, Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan.

Pentagon spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said earlier that the assailant fired into a group of international soldiers at the Marshal Fahim National Defense University at Camp Qargha, a base west of Kabul, and was subsequently killed.

Another 15 people, roughly half of them Americans, were wounded. Among the wounded were a German brigadier general, two Afghan generals and an Afghan officer, whose rank the Afghan Defense Ministry did not provide.

The attack occurred during a site visit to the university by coalition members.

Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi said a “terrorist in an army uniform” opened fire on both local and international troops.

The Qargha shooting comes as so-called “insider attacks” — incidents in which Afghan security turn on their NATO partners — largely dropped last year. In 2013, there were 16 deaths in 10 separate attacks. In 2012, such attacks killed 53 coalition troops in 38 separate attacks.

Germany’s military said 15 NATO soldiers were wounded in an assault launched “probably by internal attackers.” The wounded included a German brigadier general, who the German military said was receiving medical treatment and was “not in a life-threatening condition.”

NATO said it was investigating the attack, which Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned as “cowardly.”

It is “an act by the enemies who don’t want to see Afghanistan have strong institutions,” Karzai said in a statement.

Officials with the Taliban could not be immediately reached for comment.

Qargha is known as “Sandhurst in the sand”– referring to the famed British military academy — as British forces oversaw building the officer school and its training program. In a statement, the British Defense Ministry said it was investigating the incident and that “it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

Soldiers were tense in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. One soldier in a NATO convoy leaving Camp Qargha fired a pistol in an apparent warning shot in the vicinity of Associated Press journalists who were in a car, as well as pedestrians standing nearby. AP photographer Massoud Hossaini said he and an AP colleague were about 15 feet from the soldier at the time.

“The vehicle before the last one, someone shouted at me,” Hossaini said. “The last one, the soldier opened fire.”

No one was wounded.

Such “insider attacks” are sometimes claimed by the Taliban insurgency as proof of their infiltration. Others are attributed to personal disputes or resentment by Afghans who have soured on the continued international presence in their country more than a dozen years after the fall of the Taliban’s ultra-conservative Islamic regime.

Foreign aid workers, contractors, journalists and other civilians in Afghanistan are increasingly becoming targets of violence as the U.S.-led military coalition continues a withdrawal to be complete by the end of the year.

In eastern Paktia province, an Afghan police guard also exchanged fire Tuesday with NATO troops near the governor’s office, provincial police chief Gen. Zelmia Oryakhail said. The guard was killed in the gunfight, he said. It wasn’t clear if the two incidents were linked and police said they were investigating the incident.

Meanwhile Tuesday, a NATO helicopter strike targeting missile-launching Taliban militants killed four civilians in western Afghanistan, an Afghan official said Tuesday. NATO said they were investigating the attack.

The attack in western Herat province comes as civilian casualties from NATO attacks remain a contentious issue across the country. Almost 200 people protested against NATO in Herat on Tuesday, carrying the bodies of the dead civilians into the provincial capital and demanding an investigation.

In a statement, NATO said it was aware of the attack and was investigating, without elaborating.

Civilians increasingly find themselves under fire as the 2001 U.S.-led war draws to a close, as Afghan forces take the lead in operations targeting the Taliban. The civilian death toll in the war in Afghanistan rose 17 percent for the first half of this year, the United Nations reported in July. The U.N. said 1,564 civilians were killed from January through June, compared with 1,342 in the first six months of 2013.

Insurgents were responsible for 74 percent of the casualties, the U.N. said, while pro-government forces were responsible for 9 percent, government forces 8 percent and foreign troops 1 percent. The rest could not be attributed to any group.

Karzai has repeatedly clashed with NATO over civilian casualties and strongly condemned the helicopter attack Tuesday.

Afghan security forces also increasingly find themselves under attack as the planned foreign troop withdrawal draws near. On Tuesday, a police car struck a roadside bomb in the eastern province of Nouristan, killing three officers, provincial police chief Abdul Baqi Nouristani said. Two other roadside bombs in northern Sari Pul province killed three people, including a district police chief and his driver, deputy provincial police chief Sakhi Dad Haidary said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

US general killed in Afghan insider attack ID’d

By Bob Fredericks,

U.S. Maj. Gen. Harold Greene

A gunman wearing an Afghan army uniform opened fire at an officers’ school near Kabul Tuesday, killing a two-star US ​major general ​– the highest-ranking officer to be killed in the 13-year-old war in Afghanistan.

Brandishing a light machine gun, the terrorist also wounded up to a dozen other Americans, three Afghan army officers and a German brigadier general who suffered a non-life threatening injury, authorities said Tuesday.

The US general – the first to die in the line of duty since 9/11 and first in overseas combat since Vietnam – was identified as Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, the Associated Press reported.

“It’s just too much tragedy that’s hit this family,” said Harold Greene, 85, father of the General. “It’s so sad that this happened. As a father, you never want your children to die before you do. And now I have to bury my son. As a family we are just trying to stay strong.”

An Afghanistan Defense Ministry spokesman said the “terrorist in an army uniform” was killed after firing on the troops at Camp Qargha at about noon local time.

The BBC reported that the attacker was a soldier who was recruited three years ago, citing Afghan defense sources.

A US official said “about a dozen” of the wounded were Americans, but declined to comment further.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said officials believed the gunman was “a member of the Afghan national security forces,” and called the insider attacks “a pernicious threat” but had few other details.

The military academy base after an Afghan soldier opened fire on NATO troops inside the premises August 5th.Photo: Getty Images

“It’s impossible to eliminate that threat [of insider attacks] but you can work hard to mitigate it. Afghanistan is still a war zone.

The Taliban, meanwhile, praised the shootings – but stopped short of taking responsibility for the bloodshed.

It is rare for such a high-ranking officer to be killed in combat.

The last US general was the first officer of that rank killed in the line of duty since Lt. Gen. Timothy L. Maude was killed during the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon.

NATO said it was investigating the attack, which Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned as “cowardly.”

It is “an act by the enemies who don’t want to see Afghanistan have strong institutions,” Karzai said in a statement.

Qargha is known as “Sandhurst in the sand”— referring to the famed British military academy — as British forces oversaw building the officer school and its training program.

In a statement, the British Defense Ministry said it was investigating the incident and that “it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

Afghan security officials stand guard at Camp Qargha.Photo: Reuters

An Afghan soldier stands guard at a gate at Camp Qargha.Photo: AP

After the shooting, a soldier in a NATO convoy leaving Camp Qargha fired his pistol in an apparent warning shot in the vicinity of Associated Press journalists and pedestrians nearby. No one was wounded.

The Qargha shooting comes as so-called “insider attacks” — incidents in which Afghan security turn on their NATO partners — largely dropped last year.

In 2013, there were 16 deaths in 10 separate attacks. In 2012, such attacks killed 53 coalition troops in 38 separate attacks.

Such “insider attacks” are sometimes claimed by the Taliban insurgency as proof of their infiltration.

Others are attributed to personal disputes or resentment by Afghans who have soured on the continued international presence in their country more than a dozen years after the fall of the Taliban’s ultra-conservative Islamic regime.

Foreign aid workers, contractors and other civilians in Afghanistan are increasingly becoming targets of violence as the US-led military coalition continues a withdrawal to be complete by the end of the year.

In eastern Paktia province, meanwhile, an Afghan police guard exchanged fire Tuesday with NATO troops near the governor’s office, local officials said.

The guard was killed in the gunfight, and it wasn’t clear if the incidents were linked.

 

General killed in Afghan attack was engineer

By ROBERT BURNS AP National Security Writer

MG Greene
AP Photo

WASHINGTON (AP) — Harold J. Greene, the two-star Army general who on Tuesday became the highest-ranking U.S. military officer to be killed in either of America’s post-9/11 wars, was an engineer who rose through the ranks as an expert in developing and fielding the Army’s war materiel. He was on his first deployment to a war zone.

Greene was killed when a gunman believed to be an Afghan soldier opened fire at a military academy near Kabul. More than a dozen other coalition soldiers were wounded, including about eight Americans, according to early accounts of the attack. It was among the bloodiest insider attacks of the war in Afghanistan.

The Army’s top soldier, Gen. Ray Odierno, issued a statement Tuesday evening saying the Army’s thoughts and prayers were with Greene’s family as well as the families of those injured in the attack.

In a 34-year career that began at Fort Polk, La., Greene, a native of upstate New York, earned a reputation as an inspiring leader with a sense of humility. He had been in Afghanistan since January, serving as deputy commander of a support command called the Combined Security Transition Command, in Kabul.

At the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks Greene was serving at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and when the U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003 he was a student at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, at the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Greene flourished in the less glamorous side of the Army that develops, tests, builds and supplies soldiers with equipment and technology. That is a particularly difficult job during wartime, since unconventional or unanticipated battlefield challenges like roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan, call for urgent improvements in equipment.

In 2009-2011, for example, he served as deputy commanding general of the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command and senior commander of the Natick Soldier System Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Maryland. During that tour of duty he gained the rank of brigadier general, and at his promotion ceremony in December 2009 he was lauded for his leadership skills and ability to inspire those around him.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Speakes applauded Greene for a “sense of self, a sense of humility” and an exemplary work ethic, according to an account of the promotion ceremony published by the Times Union of Albany, N.Y., which called Greene an Albany native.

“In every job I had we got things done that I think made our Army better, and it was done by other people,” Greene was quoted as saying. “All I did was try to pull people in the right direction and they went out and did great things.”

Greene and his wife, Susan, lived in the Washington suburb of Falls Church, Virginia, where neighbors recalled he would often go for morning runs, The Washington Post reported. The Greenes’ son Matthew also is in the Army and their daughter, Amelia, recently graduated from Binghamton University in New York state.

Greene earned a bachelor of science degree in materials engineering and a master’s degree in industrial engineering, both from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. He later studied at the University of Southern California and also attended the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Leavenworth, Kansas.

In 2010, he spoke at the opening of the Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center, a research facility at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with the mission of improving the Army’s understanding of social, information and communication networks, according to the Army’s account of the event.

“We’re in a fight now with an enemy that’s a little bit different and uses different techniques … and networks are a key part of that,” Greene said.

He said finding patterns in the tactics of insurgents was difficult because of the way networks evolve and otherwise change. So the goal was to bring to light the patterns and determine how to anticipate and influence the actions of insurgents.

“The enemy is every bit as good as we are at using that network to our detriment so this is essential work, this is about defending our country,” Greene said. “You must know that there is a direct application on the battlefield and we’re using it today, but we don’t really understand it yet so this is a critical element.”

His awards include the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Service Medal, a Meritorious Service Award and an Army Commendation Medal.

Associated Press writer George M. Wash in Albany, N.Y., and Monika Mathur at the AP News Research Center contributed to this report.

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U.S. general killed in Afghanistan was key figure in training effort

A man believed to be an Afghan soldier has killed a U.S. general and wounded more than a dozen coalition troops after opening fire at a military training facility in Kabul. (Reuters)

By Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Patricia Sullivan August 5 at 5:06 PM Follow @Tmgneff Follow @psullivan1

The U.S. general who was shot and killed in an apparent insider attack in Kabul on Tuesday had served in the American military for more than three decades and was a key player in the current U.S. effort to stand up Afghan security forces.

Army Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene of Falls Church, Va., was the highest-ranking member of the U.S. military to die in the line of duty since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He was the deputy commanding general for the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan and was making a routine visit to a training facility when he was fatally shot.

Greene, 55, was commissioned as an engineer officer in the Army in 1980 after earning an undergraduate degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. In addition to serving in Afghanistan, he had deployed to Iraq.

Greene’s family did not issue a statement Tuesday. But as news of his death spread to the quiet cul-de-sac where he had lived with his wife, Susan, neighbors remembered him as a fixture in the community who would go for morning runs. This past winter, the Greenes hosted the main course for the neighborhood’s holiday dinner, an annual event in which participants move from house to house for different courses.

“He was a good guy,” said retired Army Col. Duane Myers. “Harry was loved.”

Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene. (Courtesy of the U.S. Army)

The Greenes, whose son Matthew also is in the Army, had hung a Blue Star Flag to the right of their door, like many other families with loved ones serving in the military. Their daughter, Amelia, recently graduated from Binghamton University in New York state.

On Tuesday, while military officials stayed with family members inside, another neighbor, Joanne Caramanica, took a pot of yellow chrysanthemums and left it on the front porch of the Greene home.

“We’re all shocked and saddened. They’re just lovely people,” she said. “This is a very close community. We all knew he was going overseas. We were hopeful he’d be safe.”

Greene grew up as one of three boys in Upstate New York. During his career, he received a number of advanced degrees, including a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College and a doctorate from the University of Southern California.

Before his current posting, he served as the deputy for acquisition and systems management for the assistant to the secretary of the Army. He also had worked in research and development in Aberdeen, Md., and Natick, Mass.

His military awards include the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal.

While in the Army, Greene was known for being a proponent of meshing the old with the new. To prepare a new generation of soldiers, he turned to the technology young soldiers had grown up with, such as iPads and video games, to create training tools, according to a 2011 New York Times story.

“We have to adapt to where they are,” Greene said at the time. “This is something we absolutely have to do.”

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Nicholas Caramanica, a Vietnam-era veteran, had tears in his eyes as he considered the death of his friend and neighbor. He lamented that, like dozens of other U.S. troops who have been fatally shot in Afghanistan, Greene apparently was killed by a member of the security forces he was committed to training.

“If we’re going to fight a war, fight to win, and get out,” Caramanica said. “We have our guys walking around in uniform. The enemy is in civilian clothes, so you don’t know who is the enemy and who is not the enemy.”

Julie Tate contributed to this report.

A treacherous Taliban surprise

The killing of a U.S. general attests to the persistence of Afghan tribalism

By Ken Allard – – Tuesday, August 5, 2014

On Tuesday, the United States lost the first U.S. general killed in a combat zone since 1970, when Maj. Gen. George Casey died in a helicopter crash while commanding the famous 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam. Troops of the Vietnam era gradually learned that airmobile combat also meant enduring the wider range of things that could go catastrophically wrong in helicopters. Their grandsons in Afghanistan have had to learn that “green-on-blue” casualties characterize an agonizing guerrilla conflict, where clan, tribal and family loyalties easily trump any notion of national identity.

Sadly, that same grim scenario played out again. The high-ranking American officer, identified as Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, was killed while inspecting Afghan cadets at their military academy outside Kabul, the equivalent of being assassinated while visiting summer training at West Point. In information-age warfare, symbols are often a substitute for victory. When an unguided rocket landed a mile away the main runway at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration suspended U.S. landing rights — and promptly handed Hamas its biggest “victory” in its profoundly suicidal war. Killing a U.S. major general provides the Taliban with their biggest triumph in the history of the 13-year Afghan conflict.

Why? Warfare in Afghanistan has never been about inflicting shock and awe, about installing puppets and saluting another victorious intervention. Those hard lessons of prevailing over a profoundly warlike tribal society have been learned and relearned many times — from Alexander the Great to the Soviet general staff. Our lasting national hubris was evident yesterday as well, with the Pentagon replaying its traditional role of always being the last to know. How else to understand the hapless Pentagon spokesman who asserted, against all evidence and common sense, that American trust for their Afghan counterparts remained unaffected. Wanna bet, admiral?

The irrefutable historical fact is that Afghan loyalties cannot be bought — but renting them is rarely a problem. Even when green-on-blue attacks peaked in 2012, the American command reacted by strengthening its “vetting” of Afghan soldiers, particularly those operating close to U.S. troops. Having spent the better part of an intelligence career running exactly those types of reliability investigations, I can attest that the potential unknowns are simply mind-boggling. What bonds of trust could even serve as a beginning baseline? “Well, has your cousin Abdul ever tried on a suicide vest? And if he had the chance, would he knock off an American general?” The fact is that we have no frame of reference remotely capable of bridging the vast cultural gap between our two societies — or distinguishing the good from the bad and truly dangerous.

The result is that our diplomatic-military establishment often operated blind, making great pronouncements about reversing the tides of Afghan history — but constantly being forced to recognize the intrusion of timeless realities. In “Little America,” his classic study of the Afghan war, Rajiv Chandrasekaran writes, “For all the grand pronouncements about waging a new kind of war, our nation was unable to adapt.” That failure extended across many institutions — diplomats who knew little about Afghan languages or customs, generals concentrating on their own agendas rather than those of the enemy, and development experts interested only in “making a buck.” His devastating conclusion: “For years, we dwelled on the limitations of the Afghans. [Instead], we should have focused on ours.”

One of those weaknesses is overestimating our ability to reform Afghan society while underestimating the ability of the Taliban to hang on long enough to thwart American will. President Obama chose to follow a strategy aimed only at withdrawal, camouflaged by the fig leaf that we would first train the Afghans to stand up for themselves. (You may recall that he promised something similar in Iraq, and just look how well that’s turned out.)

There should be no mistaking that yesterday’s attack was aimed with great audacity at the canonical symbol of Afghan self-reliance. The Taliban had the actionable intelligence and the operational savvy to place their agent at the prime time and place where he could inflict the most damage. The real targets: American hubris and Afghan compliance. If we can kill an infidel general, then which side should you be on?

For those of us who belong to the 1 percent of all Americans who have worn the uniform, those news bulletins arrived like a gut-punch. One of the cadets I trained is now a high-ranking leader of the U.S. contingent in the Afghan combat zone. The son of another now serves there as a platoon leader. The common factor for both of them is that combat is a daily reality and that their country owes them far more than a simple, “Thanks for your service.”

The Taliban understand the real value of that exceptional general: Do we?

Ken Allard, a retired Army colonel, is a military analyst and author on national-security issues.

Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, Army officer since 1980, is killed in Afghanistan

By Michael Martinez, Catherine E. Shoichet and Jim Sciutto, CNN

updated 10:03 PM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014

Source: CNN

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • NEW: Friend: Maj. Gen. Harold Greene’s focus was improving soldiers’ lives
  • He earned two master’s degrees in engineering and a Ph.D. in materials science
  • Greene was one of the highest-ranked U.S. military service members killed since 9/11
  • He was an expert in infrastructure improvement and logistics, the Pentagon says

(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 described Greene and soldiers who were wounded in Tuesday’s attack as “professionals, committed to the mission” in Afghanistan.

“It is their service and sacrifice that define us as an Army,” Odierno said in statement.

Greene was the deputy commander of the Combined Security Transition Command, which is responsible for helping transfer security control in Afghanistan to the Afghans.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said the general was a logistics and infrastructure expert helping to lead training efforts.

Throughout his military career, Greene’s focus was using technology to make soldiers’ lives better, retired Maj. Gen. Robert Scales told The Army TImes.

“He had a real sense of what was important,” Scales said. “Harry was always the one who always understood the tactical needs of the close-combat soldiers.”

And Greene was someone who many admired, he said.

“He was just very level, down-to-earth,” Scales told The Army Times. “It’s just devastating that you’ve got this great genius with this incredible reputation and education, and some Islamist wacko comes in and fires a 10-cent bullet and Harry’s life is over. There’s a certain unfairness in life that war brings.”

‘Singular ability to display wisdom’

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. 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 had served as deputy for acquisition and systems management in the Army’s headquarters in Washington before deploying to Afghanistan, 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.”

When he was promoted to brigadier general in 2009, Greene earned praise for what one military leader called his “singular ability to display wisdom.”

“He has the rare abilities to make others better, and that’s something very special too because at the level he’s at right now his ability to inspire others, to show others the way, is so important as well,” Lt. Gen. Stephen M. Speakes said at the time.

Greene told people at the ceremony that his success was part of a team effort.

‘Get great things done’

“All I did was try to pull people in the right direction, and they went and did great things. So the reason I’m up here is not what I did, but what all of you did. I know it was truly you guys and gals that did the work the Army recognized today, and for that I thank you,” he said.

“I was very lucky. I worked with tremendous people, and over the years I was honored to have jobs where I could work with great people and we could get great things done.”

Greene ends command at Natick Soldier Systems Center in 2011.

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

“We’ve accomplished a lot, but there is still a lot of work to do,” Greene said, according to a description of his remarks on the Army’s website.

He told the audience he wished he could have made more improvements, like replacing windows so more light would come in.

“The one thing I didn’t get to: quality of life and facilities,” Greene said. “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.”

Man in Afghan army uniform opens fire at base in Afghanistan, killing at least 1 American soldier

Published August 05, 2014

FoxNews.com

Aug. 5, 2014: A NATO soldier, right, opens fire near the main gate of Camp Qargha, west of capital Kabul, Afghanistan. A man dressed in an Afghan army uniform opened fire Tuesday on foreign troops at a military base, causing casualties, an Afghan military spokesman said.AP

A man wearing an Afghan army uniform opened fire Tuesday on foreign troops at a military base in Afghanistan, killing at least one U.S. soldier and wounding 15, officials say. A general is believed to be among those who were shot. Details about the attack at Camp Qargha, a base west of the capital, Kabul, weren’t immediately clear. Gen. Mohammmad Zahir Azimi, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry, said a “terrorist in an army uniform” opened fire on both local and international troops. Azimi said the shooter had been killed and that three Afghan army officers were wounded.

A U.S. official told The Associated Press that one American soldier was killed and “about a dozen” of the wounded were Americans, but declined to comment further. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss details of the attack by name on the record. A senior U.S. military official told Fox News that one of the dead was an ISAF service member and the shooting left a “significant number of wounded, both Americans and Afghans.” Germany’s military said one NATO soldier was killed, while 15 NATO soldiers were wounded in an assault launched “probably by internal attackers.” In a statement, NATO said that it was “in the process of assessing the situation.” Qargha is known as “Sandhurst in the sand,” as British forces oversaw building the officer school and its training program. In a statement, the British Defense Ministry said it was investigating the incident and that “it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.” The attack comes as so-called “insider attacks” — incidents in which Afghan security turn on their NATO partners — largely dropped last year. In 2013, there were 16 deaths in 10 separate attacks. In 2012, such attacks killed 53 coalition troops in 38 separate attacks. Such “insider attacks” are sometimes claimed by the Taliban insurgency as proof of their infiltration. Others are attributed to personal disputes or resentment by Afghans who have soured on the continued international presence in their country more than a dozen years after the fall of the Taliban’s ultra-conservative Islamic regime. Foreign aid workers, contractors and other civilians in Afghanistan are increasingly becoming targets of violence as the U.S.-led military coalition continues a withdrawal to be complete by the end of the year. In eastern Paktia province, an Afghan police guard also exchanged fire Tuesday with NATO troops near the governor’s office, provincial police chief Gen. Zelmia Oryakhail said. The guard was killed in the gunfight, he said. It wasn’t clear if the two incidents were linked and police said they were investigating the incident. Meanwhile Tuesday, a NATO helicopter strike targeting missile-launching Taliban militants killed four civilians in western Afghanistan, an Afghan official said Tuesday. NATO said they were investigating the attack. The attack in western Herat province comes as civilian casualties from NATO attacks remain a contentious issue across the country. Almost 200 people protested against NATO in Herat on Tuesday, carrying the bodies of the dead civilians into the provincial capital and demanding an investigation. The strike happened Monday night in the province’s Shindan district, said Raouf Ahmadi, a spokesman for the provincial chief of police. He said Taliban militants launched a missile at an airport nearby, drawing the NATO helicopter’s fire. He said the NATO attack killed two men, one woman and a child. In a statement, NATO said it was aware of the attack and was investigating, without elaborating. NATO “takes all allegations of civilian casualties seriously, and is assessing the facts surrounding this incident,” it said. Civilians increasingly find themselves under fire as the 2001 U.S.-led war draws to a close, as Afghan forces take the lead in operations targeting the Taliban. The civilian death toll in the war in Afghanistan rose 17 percent for the first half of this year, the United Nations reported in July. The U.N. said 1,564 civilians were killed from January through June, compared with 1,342 in the first six months of 2013. It blamed Insurgents were responsible for 74 percent of the casualties, the U.N. said, while pro-government forces were responsible for 9 percent, government forces 8 percent and foreign troops just 1 percent. The rest could not be attributed to any group. Outgoing President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly clashed with NATO over civilian casualties. Afghan security forces also increasingly find themselves under attack as the planned foreign troop withdrawal draws near. On Tuesday, a police car struck a roadside bomb in the eastern province of Nouristan, killing three officers, provincial police chief Abdul Baqi Nouristani said. Two other roadside bombs in northern Sari Pul province killed three people, including a district police chief and his driver, deputy provincial police chief Sakhi Dad Haidary said. Fox News’ Justin Fishel and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Afghan troops’ rocky past offers clues into shooting that killed U.S. general

An Afghan National Army soldier searches passengers at a checkpoint near the Marshal Fahim National Defense University, a training complex on the outskirts of Kabul on Aug. 6, 2014. (Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images)

By Pamela Constable August 6 at 11:28 AM

KABUL — Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene, the highest-ranking U.S. military officer killed in a war zone in four decades, died not at the hand of a sworn enemy but from a burst of gunfire by a soldier in an allied army who had been largely paid, trained and equipped with American and NATO support.

It will probably never be known what led the shooter, identified as a man in his 20s, to hide in a bathroom at a military training base near the capital Tuesday, then emerge and open fire on a delegation of visiting American and European military officers, before being shot dead himself.

It was also unclear what provoked two other “insider attacks” this week: a firefight Tuesday between an Afghan police guard and NATO troops near the governor’s office in southern Paktia province, and an incident Wednesday in Uruzgan province in which an Afghan policeman poisoned his colleagues’ food, then shot at least seven of them before fleeing in a police truck, officials said.

But the troubled 11-year history of the post-Taliban Afghan security forces, including the Afghan army, offers an ample range of possible explanations for such deeply disturbing incidents, whether aimed at Afghan cohorts or foreign military dignitaries.

The army, the most professional and popular of the new defense forces, has drawn recruits from across the country who have been expected to replace local and ethnic loyalties with adherence to a national government and its defense. The aim has been to forge an army of about 80,000 men and officers who could be weaned from foreign tutelage by now and prepared to take on the Taliban alone, then gradually grow to as many as 120,000 troops.

Brigadier General Harold J. Greene. (US Army)

From the beginning, however, the project has been plagued with problems. Soldiers have gone AWOL and deserted in high numbers. Ethnic imbalances between officers and troops have been sources of envy and friction. Equipment has been old and expensive to replace.

Perhaps most problematic, the American mentors who have “embedded” with Afghan units were slow to arrive, and Afghan fighting traditions — honed over decades of anti-Soviet guerrilla combat and civil war — have been both more brutal and egalitarian than the orderly American ethos of haircuts, salutes and pre-dawn drills.

In a 2009 report on the state of the Afghan army, the Rand Corp. and the Royal Danish Defense College found that while steady improvements were being made in professional skills and combat readiness, the army was still very much a “work in progress” and would need continued international support for the foreseeable future. Despite significant gains in some areas, the report said, “operational effectiveness remains very much in the balance.”

Five years later, some problems have eased but others have arisen. American military officials report that Afghan troops participate in all combat operations against the Taliban and lead at least half of them. The domestic popularity of the force has grown, pay has increased and desertions have shrunk. But reports of high-level corruption have soured morale below, and enthusiasm for the fight has faltered as Taliban insurgents have become better armed and more rapacious.

One of the most vexing developments has been the spread of insider attacks, in which Afghan personnel have opened fire on their foreign military counterparts. The phenomenon became noticeable in 2008 and surged for the next several years. In 2012, there were 60 such attacks, including the fatal shooting of two American advisers by a government worker inside the Interior Ministry. By June of this year, 87 insider attacks had killed 142 coalition troops and wounded another 165, according to the Long War Journal, an online publication focused on counterterrorism and Islamic radicalism.

The motives behind these attacks have ranged widely. In some cases, insurgents infiltrated the services and waited for the chance to attack foreign troops. In others, Afghan soldiers and police attacked their American trainers after taking offense at certain orders or perceived insults. Some have been angered by civilian bombings or reports of Korans being burned at U.S. bases. Others have professed Taliban sympathies or railed at U.S. foreign policy in the Islamic world.

The fatal attack on Tuesday was an acute embarrassment to the Afghan military leadership, because it occurred inside the Afghan equivalent of the U.S. military academy at West Point, and was aimed at a Western VIP delegation that had come to assess the army’s progress in being able to defend the nation as Western forces prepare to leave.

Afghan officials said the shooter, who used the single name Rafiqullah, had just returned from a patrol around midday and was still carrying his weapon when he concealed himself in a bathroom within close range of the delegation, then opened fire. His weapon, described as either an assault rifle or a machine gun, would have been issued by NATO. More than a dozen people were wounded, including eight Americans, a German general and a top Afghan commander of the training facility.

Officials said there was no indication that he was part of a conspiracy or had Taliban sympathies. But the timing of the attack was particularly sensitive, with presidential elections derailed by charges of fraud and an audit of all 8.1 million ballots repeatedly suspended by disagreements. Afghans are hoping to have a new leader inaugurated in time for a NATO summit in early September, and a stalled bilateral security agreement between Afghanistan and the United States is on hold until a new government takes office in Kabul.

The number and scope of Taliban insurgent attacks has been increasing in recent months, with dozens of deadly incidents involving unusually large numbers of insurgents. Officials have said the Taliban is testing the strength of Afghan security forces as U.S. and NATO troops continue their withdrawal and prepare to place the nation’s defense largely in Afghan hands.

Several analysts in Kabul said the attack exposed deep flaws in the control and competence of Afghan military leaders, who had apparently not prepared adequate security for the foreign visit. They also said it revealed ongoing problems with the army’s lax recruitment policies and faltering efforts to build a loyal, unified fighting force after more than a decade of foreign investment and training.

“This sad event is a major blow to our international alliances, and it shows that we cannot build trustworthy and credible military institutions,” said Javed Kohistani, a military analyst, former Afghan army officer and former national intelligence officer. “Whoever was behind this attack has achieved their highest goal. It is no coincidence that a two-star American general was killed.”

But Martine van Bijlert, of the Afghan Analysts Network, said she believed the shooting was an “act of opportunity” by a soldier who happened to be in the base and was not an indication of any broader conspiracy. A spokesman for the Taliban issued a statement praising the soldier for his “honorable” action in attacking foreign “occupiers” but did not claim any connection.

“Symbolically this is very telling, but whether it is telling about the broader ability of the army and its international relations, I don’t think so,” van Bijlert said. Despite intensified screening efforts and other precautions, she pointed out, “you still can’t know the thoughts and moods of every soldier and recruit. It would be different if this had been a planned and targeted attack, but it looks like this was more a target of opportunity.”

Pamela Constable covers issues related to immigration policy, immigrant communities and international figures and issues that crop up in our local and regional midst

15 Aug 2015

Deception Pass State Park and Anacortes, Washington

I apologize for being out of touch for the past 10 days and I thank you for the phone calls and emails asking if all is OK. I have changed locations from the Thousand Trails RV Park at La Conner, WA to the Thousand Trails RV Park at Bow, WA (Mount Vernon). I have cell phone reception here at the Mount Vernon location and for me that is a safety factor and good thing. I don’t have internet unless I go to the lodge but that is OK as it keeps me off of facebook and on track with my writing.

During the past 10 days I have been busy writing on my book. At the time that I thought I was complete I changed my mind and have decided to expand the book to match its title ‘Sandbox to Sandbox’. This means that I’m going to include my experience in Afghanistan (2011-2013) in the book of my personal story. I’m hopeful to have this book completed by the first day of fall.

Alexis continues to improve in spirit as well as physically. She tires easily and she is always trying to do more than she should but most importantly she has a wonderful smile and a great spirit about herself. She is currently looking for another apartment in a safe neighborhood of Seattle where her, a roommate and her Dalmatian dog Orion can live. She is working toward enrolling in the University of Washington to pursue a microbiology degree with an intention of using her education to research cures for the cancer that has riddled her body twice. It would be wonderful if she did not experience cancer a third time!

I remained three weeks at La Conner, WA. The historic town of La Conner is only a few miles from the La Conner RV Resort that resides on the Swinomish Indian Reservation. Anacortes is a quaint village only a few more miles down route 20. Deception Pass is an area with a very scenic bridge that connects to Whidbey Island. The Deception Pass Bridge has a walkway on both sides that allows you to walk across for even better scenes of the Deception Pass State Park and beach.

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A view of Deception Pass Beach behind Alexis as we prepare to cross the bridge.

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Deception Pass Bridge and beach.

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Whidbey Island is the home of the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. I checked out the ocean view from the RV Park and considered changing locations but the Park was full. The jet aircraft taking off and landing reminded me of the ‘sound of freedom’ that we experienced in Kabul with the helicopters.

The Deception Pass State Park beach had a few surprises for us. Not only was there great amounts of driftwood but the shoreline consisted of huge rock formations that could be volcanic but the land here was influenced by the glaciers of the ice age.

A view from within the driftwood on the beach.

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A makeshift house of some sort constructed from driftwood.

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Orion playing with the surf as the tide was coming in. He would walk out on the rocks and then rush back to avoid getting wet as the tide waters moved onto the beach.

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As the tide was moving in we almost got trapped on the wrong side of these rocks as the water encroached upon the beach. Alexis and Orion telling me to hurry up with the photo – the water is cold!

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In Anacortes we drove to the Camp Sante Park that provided us with a panoramic view of the waters off of Fidalgo Island and the Anacortes Marina.

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Alexis in a Yoga pose at the Camp Sante Park looking at the Fildago Bay.

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I am accustomed to the Maryland Blue Crab from the Chesapeake Bay. These are small, very tasty morsels that you have to work at diligently to obtain the meat. The Dungeonous crabs obtained locally are HUGE in comparison. The locally made crab cakes do not use the lump meat from the body of the crab but rather the sinewy meat from the legs and claw. Oddly though, if you purchase crab cakes from a store those are made from the lump meat of the blue crab. At any rate Alexis and I ate these large crabs and truly enjoyed the experience.

One of our favorite hangouts became the La Conner Brewery because they had some great pizzas and terrific internet service! Between the La Conner Brewery and the Starbucks in Anacortes we were able to stay somewhat in contact with others.

My friend Mary Eileen will not arrive in Boise, ID until late in the evening of the 5th of September so I will not depart this area until the 4th. The friend I was going to fish with on the way is starting a fishing class on Aug 31st and will not be available after all. So I’ll take a leisurely drive and try to stay at one of the Harvest Host wine or farm facilities on the way. Then I have booked 3 nights at Henrys Lake State Park right on the water. This will give us a nice place to relax after each day’s adventure in Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons. I’m looking forward to the hikes and scenery of one of nature’s greatest gifts.

North Cascade National Park

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The North Cascade National Park isn’t in my National Geographic Road Map of National Parks. I decide to drive the Jeep to the park anyway and at one of the stops along the way I overhear a conversation that mentions the vistas at the Diablo Dam. The vistas along Route 20 as it follows the Skagit River are pretty amazing all by themselves.

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I stop at the Park Visitor Center and was greeted warmly and provided with hiking maps of the Park and a description of each of the major trails that included distance and time to complete. The butterfly with wings spread gloriously soaking up the sun was just a bonus!

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I was fortunate that I have cell phone reception as I provided Alexis with a plane ticket to go from Seattle to Indianapolis where she can visit with her sister and friends before her radiation treatment starts. Emily starts college again this fall to earn her Engineering degree and so this is an opportune time for them to visit. As Alexis landed in Chicago to learn about a delay she called me as I was sitting on the Ferry docks on Diablo Lake near the Environmental Learning Center. I enjoyed a lunch with this as my view.

These two pictures do not do justice to the exquisite color of the water. Glacier melt lends a special hue to the water that is almost turquoise.

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The Diablo Dam is rather impressive. The following pictures show the dam from Washington State Route 20, the view from on the dam and the road on top of the dam.

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A view the support facilities for the Diablo Dam.

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