LA FOLLETTE, Tenn. — Carl Stiner, a Tennessee native and retired U.S. Army four-star general who became a foundational pillar in the development of U.S. Special Forces, has died at age 85.
Stiner's family announced the news Thursday afternoon.
"He would like to be remembered as a man of faith that loved his family and friends and his country. And when reflecting on his military career as well as his life, General Steiner would frequently say he was just a country boy trying to do what was right," his family said about his legacy.
Stiner served 35 years in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and Desert Storm. He eventually retired in 1993 and returned to Campbell County, where he grew up.
Stiner served as Commander in Chief of U.S. Special Operations Command in the years before his retirement. In 2002, he co-authored a book with Tom Clancy, "Shadow Warriors: Inside the Special Forces."
U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann (R - Oak Ridge) said he was heartbroken to hear of Stiner's passing.
"General Stiner was a hero who bravely led our nation's troops into combat and represented the best of Tennessee, Campbell County, and LaFollette. May God bless General Stiner and his family," he said.
U.S. Representative Tim Burchett (R-Knoxville) said "hero just doesn't quite cover it" when describing Stiner.
Retired Lt. Col. and Campbell County Mayor E.L. Morton served under General Stiner.
"We were always very proud to tell everybody that we were from the same town as General Stiner," said Mayor Morton.
Mayor Morton talked about the Stiner aid, still used in battle. It's a landmark where troops can assemble once they jump out of an airplane.
"No matter where you dropped on the drop zone, there was a certain combination of lights that you would actually have to assemble on," said Mayor Morton.
He said even though General Stiner had traveled all around the world, and met so many world leaders, he never forgot he was the farm boy from LaFollette.
"It's very rare to find a person who has the ability to communicate between the rows on the farm and the diplomats table internationally, and convince you that he actually cares," said Mayor Morton.
Stiner's funeral is set for Saturday, June 11.