US Army Major General. He rose in rank to become the deputy commander of Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan. Nicknamed "Harry," he was raised in Schenectady, New York and graduated in 1976 from Guilderland High School in Guilderland Center, New York. He attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy New York and joined the Reserve Officer Training Program. Upon graduating from RPI in 1980 with degrees in materials and management engineering, he enlisted in the US Army and was commissioned an Engineer Officer. He later received a master's degrees in engineering from RPI and the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, California, a Master of Science Degree from USC, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Science from USC. He also held a Master of Strategic Studies degree from the US Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. In 2009 he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and served as deputy commanding general of US Army Research, Development and Engineering Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland and the commanding general of Natick Soldier Systems Center, Massachusetts. Later he became Program Executive Officer for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology) in Washington DC. In 2012 he was promoted to the rank of major general and became the commander of Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan. While serving in this capacity, he died at the age of 55 after being fatally shot by an Afghan soldier with an M16 rifle at Camp Qargha's Marshal Fahim National Defense University in Kabul, Afghanistan while making a routine visit to the training facility. He became the highest-ranking American service member killed by hostile action since Lieutenant General Timothy J. Maude was killed in the September 11 2001 terrorist attack at the Pentagon in Washington DC and the and the highest-ranking service member killed on foreign soil since Rear Admiral Rembrandt Cecil Robinson of the US Navy was killed in a helicopter crash in May 1972, during the Vietnam War. His military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit with 3 oak leaf clusters, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal with 1 silver oak leaf cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with 3 oak leaf clusters, the Army Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with 1 bronze service star, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, and the Army Overseas Service Ribbon with award numeral 2.
by William Bjornstad