Four-Star General Robert W. Cone Dies at 59

Gen. Robert W. Cone giving presentation.

Manchester native Robert W. Cone, 59 -- a four-star general who held a command position during the Iraq War and headed Fort Hood in 2009 when a gunman killed 13 people -- has died, according to U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

Shaheen issued a statement on Monday mourning his death. In March 2014, Cone retired as commander of U.S. Army's Training and Doctrine Command, which oversees training, recruitment and new equipment integration for the Army.

As commander of III Corps, Cone deployed to Iraq to serve as deputy commanding general for operations, the second highest-ranking military officer in Iraq, said Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat.

Cone was responsible for operations throughout the country, including the development and training of Iraqi Security Forces.

"In his nearly 35-year military career, Gen. Cone rose through the ranks of the U.S. Army to become a distinguished four-star general and he leaves behind a legacy of hard work, grit and dedication to our Armed Forces," Shaheen said.

"Gen. Cone devoted his life to preserving freedom at home and abroad, serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, Kuwait and Germany, and his distinguished career has made New Hampshire proud. My thoughts are with Gen. Cone's family -- the Granite State mourns your loss and we are grateful for your family's service to this country."

Cone was widely praised for his calm and compassionate leadership as commander of Fort Hood in 2009, after an Army psychiatrist opened fire, killing 12 soldiers and one civilian and injuring 32 others at the Texas base.

At a memorial service for the victims, Cone praised the courage of soldiers who during the attack rushed to "do what soldiers do best: to take care of one another."

According to previous news accounts, he grew up in a working class Manchester family that was headed by a factory worker.

He was a 'C' student at Memorial High School and "not exceptional at anything," he told students there. But a guidance counselor encouraged him to focus, and former football coach Bob Chabot encouraged him to apply for West Point.

He told Memorial students that the greatest privilege one can ever have is to lead America's sons and daughters into combat.

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