Brigadier General Terence J. Hildner died of apparent natural causes Friday in Kabul, Afghanistan, the Army said.
FORT HOOD, Texas -- A 49-year-old brigadier general died of apparently natural causes in Afghanistan, the Army said Friday, the highest-ranking soldier to die during the war.
Brig. Gen. Terence J. Hildner was identified as the first of that rank to die in Afghanistan since the war began there in 2001, NBC News reported.
The New Haven, Conn.-born Hildner, who listed Fairfax, Va., as his home, took command of 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) on Aug. 19, 2010, the Army said. He deployed to Afghanistan in December from Fort Hood.
The circumstances surrounding Hildner's death are still under investigation, NBC News said.
When Hildner did not show up for a meeting Friday morning, a member of his staff went to his room and found him there, NBC News said. He was unresponsive and efforts to resuscitate him were not successful.
"This is a tragic loss for the Army, III Corps and for our Central Texas community," Lt. Gen. Don Campbell Jr., III Corps and Fort Hood commanding general, said in a prepared statement. "The command will remain focused on assisting the family through this difficult time."
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. The Army said he later served in Germany in the last U.S. patrols of the East-West German border before reunification, and in Kuwait and Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. He was also in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also led troops in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
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 Army listed Hildner'sawards: the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star withone oak leaf cluster, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal withtwo oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters, U.S. Army Achievement Medal withone oak leaf cluster, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Valorous Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal withbronze 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.
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