Major General Greene honored with flags at half-staff

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Updated: 8/06 9:51 pm

ALBANY, N.Y. – A former Albany County resident who was killed in Afghanistan will be honored as flags have been directed to fly half-staff throughout the state.

Governor Cuomo has directed that flags on state government buildings be flown at half-staff on Thursday after U.S. Army Major General Harold J. Greene died on Tuesday in Afghanistan.

Greene was a student at Guilderland High School in the 70s before heading to RPI where he earned his bachelor's degree in materials engineering and master's degree in management engineering. While at RPI he joined the ROTC to fulfill a physical education requirement, but it became a career. 

Officials confirm the 52-year-old was killed Tuesday in Afghanistan. According to early accounts, a gunman dressed as an Afghan soldier opened fire on U.S. and coalition leaders. At least 17 others were wounded. 

Greene leaves behind a wife and two children. 

His father, who did not want to appear on camera, still lives in Guilderland and says his son was supposed to visit him in the next couple of weeks.

"I have to admit there's kind of a numbness. I don’t, the idea of the kids going before I did, never entered my mind. Even though when he first went aboard that military, some of his early assignments had him in kind of precarious positions,” said Greene’s father.

Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy has also directed that flags on county buildings be flown at half-staff for 30 days in honor of Greene.

“On behalf of Albany County residents, I extend my deepest condolences to the family, friends and fellow soldiers of Major General Greene,” said McCoy.  “We are deeply grateful for his service to our nation and dedication to improving the lives of the troops in his command. He will long be remembered for the impact he had on others in the course of his 34-year career in the U.S. Army.”           

RPI President Shirley Ann Jackson released a statement on Greene’s death Wednesday morning. 

“It is with profound sadness that I write to inform you of the tragic, untimely death of a member of the Rensselaer family. Major General Harold J. Greene, a member of the Rensselaer Class of 1980, was killed in Afghanistan during a routine visit to a British military base near Kabul.

The thoughts and prayers of the global Rensselaer community are with Major General Greene's family, as well as his friends and fellow service members. Words fall short of expressing our sorrow for their loss.”

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