Funeral set for highest ranking officer to die in Afghanistan
February 16, 2012
FORT HOOD, Texas (Army News Service, Feb. 16, 2012) -- Brig. Gen. Terence J. Hildner, who died of apparent natural causes Feb. 3 in Kabul, Afghanistan, has come home to rest and receive the nation's honors.
A memorial service for Hildner will be held at 11 a.m., Feb. 18, at the Spirit of Hood Warrior and Family Chapel at Fort Hood, Texas. A funeral is scheduled for 8:45 a.m., Feb. 29, at the Memorial Chapel at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Hildner, 49, took command of 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Aug. 19, 2010, at Fort Hood, and left in December as the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan deputy commander for Support Operations.
"We are truly saddened by the loss of Brigadier General Hildner," said Lt. Gen. Don Campbell Jr., III Corps and Fort Hood commanding general. "This is a tragic loss for the Army, III Corps and for our Central Texas community. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. The command will remain focused on assisting the family through this difficult time."
A cannon salute was fired at noon Feb. 9 in front of III Corps Headquarters in honor of Hildner, while his 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 11 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.
A 1984 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Hildner began his career as an Armor officer with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Bliss, Texas. He was reassigned in 1988 to the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment in the Federal Republic of Germany. He served as the regimental training officer and subsequently commanded a ground cavalry troop.
During his company command, Hildner's troop deployed with the regiment as part of the U.S. VII Corps' attack into Kuwait and Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. Later, his company conducted the last U.S. patrol along the East-West German border before its reunification.
Returning from Germany, the general served in several assignments at Fort Hood to include 2nd Armored Division comptroller and aide-de-camp to the 4th Infantry Division commanding general.
Following his transition to the Quartermaster Corps and attendance at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in 1997, Hildner served in a variety of staff positions to include battalion executive officer of the 296th Forward Support Battalion, Supply and Services chief for I Corps Logistics at Fort Lewis, Wash., and logistician for Joint Task Force 6, a Department of Defense counterdrug task force.
In 2003, Hildner assumed command of the 13th Corps Support Command's Special Troops Battalion at Fort Hood. During nearly three years in command, the battalion conducted two operational deployments. The first came in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as a combat sustainment support battalion, providing general logistical support to units located around Joint Base Balad, as well as the Abu Ghraib prison complex. The battalion's second deployment came in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, as Logistical Task Force Lone Star, providing both military and humanitarian support operations.
From July 2007 to July 2009, Hildner commanded the 23rd Quartermaster Brigade at Fort Lee, Va., training more than 20,000 Soldiers annually for deployment in support of contingency operations across the globe.
In 2009, he was the Combined Arms Support Command's director of training and doctrine.
"The unfortunate and untimely death of Brigadier General Hildner was a shock to our unit and Families," Col. Knowles Atchison, 13th ESC rear commander, said. "Both forward deployed elements and we at home station are deeply saddened by this loss. We will all pull together through this difficult period and care for one another."
Hildner's awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with one oak leaf cluster, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, U.S. Army Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Valorous Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star, Southwest Asia Medal with 2 bronze stars, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War of Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, the Combat Action Badge and the Parachutist Badge.