Special Operations Legend Carl Stiner Dies At The Age Of 85

Portrait of U.S. Army Gen. Carl W. Stiner Commander in Chief, U.S. Special Operations Command (U.S. Army photo by Mr. Russell F. Roederer, Public Domain, United States Government)

David Hookstead Sports And Entertainment Editor
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Legendary Army general Carl Stiner has passed away at the age of 85.

The U.S. Army Special Operations Command announced this week that Stiner, who was instrumental in creating the special operations forces as we know them today, died on June 2.

The United States Special Operations Command wrote the following in part about Stiner’s historic career:

Promoted to brigadier general in 1980, he served first as the Chief of Staff, Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force (RDJTF), then headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, and later as the Assistant Division Commander of the 82d Airborne Division. After serving on the Joint Staff in Washington, D.C., as Assistant Deputy Director for Politico-Military Affairs, in 1984 he was promoted to Major General and appointed as Commanding General of the Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg.

He held that post until he was assigned as Commanding General, 82nd Airborne Division, in January 1987. In October 1988 he was named Commanding General, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg. As Commanding General, XVIII Airborne Corps, he was designated Commander, Joint Task Force South, and served as the operational commander of all forces employed on Operation Just Cause in Panama in December 1989.

In May 1990 he was promoted to the rank of General and became the second Commander in Chief of the U.S. Special Operations Command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. As Commander in Chief, he was responsible for the readiness of all special operations forces of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, both active duty and reserve. He retired from the Army in May 1993.

During his thirty-five-year career, Stiner commanded the Army’s preeminent contingency strike forces; including the 82d Airborne Division and the XVIII Airborne Corps. Stiner has an extensive background in special operations. Among the many missions in which he was involved was the capture of the terrorists involved in the Achille Lauro hijacking, the Panama invasion and the capture of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, and all special operations activities during Operation Desert Storm.

He was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame in 2004.

I’m sure most of you reading this probably haven’t heard of Carl Stiner before, and that’s probably exactly how he would have wanted it.

Stiner ascended to the rank of a four star general and he did it by sharpening the tip of the spear to the best of his abilities. America has the most lethal and badass special forces capabilities in the world, and Stiner’s role in molding that force can’t be overstated.

Prior to being in a high leadership position, Stiner hit the ground in Vietnam, according to the same release from the United States Special Operations Command.

So, this wasn’t just some guy who sat in an office. He knew what he was doing and as his career advanced, his guiding hand helped put the fear of God into our enemies.

Death is never easy, but when we’re talking about a guy who lived more in his lifetime than most of us could in 100 lifetimes, you simply have to tip your cap and toast him with a beer.

More than anything, be damn grateful men like Stiner exist and that they’re on our side.

Rest easy, Stiner. Your contributions to the defense of this great country will never be forgotten.