Fort Hood honors fallen general with cannon salute
February 9, 2012
FORT HOOD, Texas -- A cannon salute was fired Feb. 9 in front of III Corps Headquarters in honor of the late Brig. Gen. Terence J. Hildner.
The 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Commanding General died in Afghanistan Feb. 3 of apparent natural causes. Circumstances surrounding his death are under investigation.
Hildner's Family and friends joined Fort Hood leaders at the base of the III Corps flagpole as Soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division fired eleven rounds in one-minute intervals.
The cannon salute is a traditional courtesy bestowed upon a general officer following his or her death. The number of rounds fired is associated with their rank.
Hildner took command of the 13th ESC Aug. 19, 2010, and deployed to Afghanistan with the unit in December as the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan Deputy Commander for Support Operations.
This is the first time a logistics unit of this echelon has been tasked to deploy as mentors and trainers as opposed to their traditional role as a senior logistics headquarters.
During the unit's deployment ceremony Dec. 8, the general said, "What we're being asked to do in Afghanistan is to change history…We're going to train the Afghan leadership on how to run, manage and operate a sustainment network that involves supply, transportation and maintenance.
"The folks that you see standing up in front of you and the parts of the folks in the ESC that are going to be back here, love them, be proud of them because they are the key for the American Army to leave in 2014, and that's where we can draw our strength from as a Family," he continued.
During the unit's uncasing ceremony in Afghanistan Jan. 14, NTM-A Commander Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger re-iterated that message.
"We normally don't think of logisticians as war winners in their own right, but we should," Bolger said. "The Afghan army and police today already have the basic parts of their combat service support. They have depots, they have trucks, people and commodities, but what they lack is knowhow and leadership and a relentless determination to get what's needed most to those under fire … and the 13th has all of that."
Hildner spent more than six years of his career at Fort Hood, and this was his second assignment with the 13th ESC.
"I can think of no better place and no better group of people that I would want to go downrange and make history with," he told 13th ESC Soldiers and Families before leaving Fort Hood for the last time, Dec. 8. "At the end of the day, it is about how we take care of each other. I'm proud to be a part of this organization."
A memorial service for the general will be held at 11 a.m. Feb. 18 at the Spirit of Fort Hood Warrior and Family Chapel. The funeral is scheduled for 8:45 a.m. (EST) Feb. 29 at the Memorial Chapel at Arlington National Cemetery.