Aug. 13, 2014 -- CSA's remarks at Maj. Gen. Harry Greene Memorial Ceremony

By Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray OdiernoAugust 14, 2014

CSA speaks at Greene Memorial Ceremony
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Good morning everyone. Thank you for coming here today. I want to recognize Harry Greene's family, who he always put first. Sue, his wife of 29 years; his son Matt--1LT Matt Green; his daughter-in-law, Kasandra; and his daughter, Amelia. I'd also like to recognize Harry's father, Harold, and the rest of the family and friends who traveled long distances to be here.

My guess is we probably could have done this in a 10,000 seat stadium and filled the stadium today because there are so many people who care for Harry Greene. We come together here today to honor and celebrate his life. Harry was a Soldier, a husband, a father, a son, a friend, a leader, and a great patriot. His service and his sacrifice is a reminder to all Americans, about the dedication, commitment, and the risk our men and women knowingly take when they raise their right hand to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. We do not take that very lightly.

I know this is an exceptionally painful loss for both the Greene family and our Army family. I want to share with you that this has affected everyone, who worked with and knew Harry. He left an indelible mark on everyone he came in contact with.

When I think about Harry, I think scholar, inspirational leader, one who was a humble and passionate Soldier and always committed to whatever mission he was given. In 34 years of service, Harry always tackled the most complex jobs. He did it over the last 13 years while the nation was involved in two wars. He did it while the Army was fighting on an evolving battlefield, requiring the most advanced equipment and technology. Harry did it because that is what he loved, and you could see that passion in him every day.

When he was leading the Army's Research, Development and Engineering Command, he led the organization to develop leading technology and solutions for our warfighters. As the Deputy for Acquisition and Systems Management, he worked for every Soldier implementing essential acquisition policy for aviation, missile command, the intelligence enterprise, and many other programs that supported directly our Soldiers in Combat. He was always a forward thinker; not only looking at today, but forward on how we could make our Army better. I will tell you this, his dedication and his work saved countless lives.

When I was looking for the right person with the passion and vision and background to establish the multinational mechanisms to sustain the Afghan National Army and security forces for the long term, I knew Harry was the right choice. He had all the credentials. He had the background, experience, and personal knowledge to prepare the Afghan security forces as the U.S. Coalition troops departed. He also had probably the most important element, an intense passion for setting the foundation required for the long term success of the Afghan people, and the impact of his work was felt at all levels. He personally made an incredible difference improving the Afghan institution.

Harry was more than a Soldier. He was a great man, a caring father, a devoted husband, and loyal friend. He had a passion for his family. Sue, Matt, Amelia, Kasandra, his dad, and the rest of his family were at the center of his life. They spent their time together, travelling or volunteering within the local community. Coaching youth sports and supporting scouting activities were some of his favorite pastimes.

As you can tell, I believe he had a rare combination of intellect, compassion, and the warrior ethos. He was a great man; although I will say, from my view, growing up in New Jersey, he was a Yankee and Giant's fan, so he did have one major flaw. What I could never understand was while he grew up in New York City, yet he was an avid New England Patriots and Red Sox fan. Harry was never afraid to remind me that the Red Sox had won 3 World Series over the past 10 years. But I had also pointed out to him that the Giants beat the Patriots in the last 2 Superbowls that had been played. There were also rumors that at one time Harry might have actually stomped on and spit on a Yankee flag. I don't know if that is true or not, but I guess no one is perfect!

What I will always remember about Harry is that he was a true patriot and the epitome of what we hope and expect of our senior leaders: a leader who is competent -- able to do whatever job is given to him and to do it to his best ability; a leader who was committed -- committed to Soldiers, committed to the Army, committed to the Nation, committed to the mission and able to balance that with the commitment to his family. Most importantly, Harry was a leader of great character -- one I know who constantly talked to his son and daughter about this, the importance of moral and ethical values, one that understood the importance of building trust and doing something for the greater good. That was a strength of character that Harry had. He was truly a trusted professional, and his contributions to the Soldiers and our Army will be everlasting and will live on in all those he has touched. That will be his legacy. Those Soldiers he touched will carry on Harry's commitment, his confidence and his character. That is who defines you as a person, those who learn from you and those who will carry on what you have taught them.

To Harry's family, I want you to know that the Army stands with you and will always be there for you. Harry Greene is a representative of the sacrifice of the men and women who have given so much and who are not afraid to give their lives for this nation. It is men like that who have made this nation what it is today. Harry and everyone else stands on the shoulders of those who came before us and will set the path for those who come after us.

We can never repay those who raise their right hand and give their lives for our country. What we can do is honor them, remember their sacrifices, and the only thing that I think about is that I know he gave his life doing what he loves, leading Soldiers in service to our Army and the Nation.

The Strength of our Nation is our Army

The Strength of our Army is our Soldiers

The Strength of our Soldiers is our Families

That is what makes us Army Strong

May God Bless the Greene family and may God Bless America. Thank you very much.

Related Links:

Natick remembers Maj. Gen. Harold J. 'Harry' Greene

Aberdeen Proving Ground, RDECOM remember fallen Soldier Maj. Gen. Harold Greene

Maj. Gen. Harold Greene remembered as leader, hero during ceremony

Army memorial ceremony honors Maj. Gen. Greene

VIDEO: Maj. Gen. Greene's remains returned to the U.S.

VIDEO: Odierno Releases Condolence Statement