TOP PHOTO: General Carl Stiner, center, with dear friends Bill Seiber and Mike Freeman at the general’s birthday celebration in 2018 at Big O’s Git-n-Go.

General Carl Stiner reads the birthday card presented to him on his 82nd birthday by friends and family at Big O’s Git-n-Go.

LAFOLLETTE, TN (SPECIAL TO WLAF) – The four-star general who made his hometown proud has died. General Carl Wade Stiner passed away on Thursday morning at a Knoxville healthcare facility.

General Carl W. Stiner was 85 years old.

LaFollette native, General Carl W. Stiner, along with fifteen other paratroopers, was inducted into the 82nd Airborne Division Hall of Fame at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Wednesday, May 22, 2019.  Twenty-one friends and family made the trip to Fort Bragg for the special day.  General Stiner is pictured with his wife Sue and Captain Dan Rosenbalm from the 82nd Airborne Division.

This biography on General Carl Wade Stiner was written by Lieutenant Colonel Logan Hickman with help from General Stiner. Both are retired and served in the U.S. Army.


General Carl W. Stiner was born in LaFollette, Tennessee, on September 7, l936. A 1954  LaFollette High School alumnus, he graduated and was commissioned in the Infantry from Tennessee Polytechnic Institute (Tennessee Tech) on May 30, 1958, with a Bachelor of Science degree. After graduation from the Infantry Officer Basic Course, Airborne School, and Ranger School, he served initially with the 9th Infantry Regiment at Fort Benning, Georgia, the 7th Infantry Division in Korea, and commanded a basic training company at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

His first special operations tour of duty was in 1964-66 with the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Following graduation from the Army Command and General Staff College in 1967, he served in Vietnam as both an infantry battalion and brigade operations officer (S3) with the 4th Infantry Division.

In 1970, after a tour with Headquarters, Department of the Army in Washington, D.C., he joined the 82d Airborne Division where he commanded the 2nd Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, and served as the Division operations officer (G3). Following graduation from the Army War College in 1975 and a tour in Saudi Arabia, he commanded the 1st Infantry Training Brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia.

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, 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 this post until assigned as Commanding General, 82d 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 June 1990 he was promoted to the rank of General and became the second Commander in Chief of the United States 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, retiring in May 1993.

Since retirement, General Stiner remained extremely active on the local, state, and national levels. His home, Campbell County, was the first county in Tennessee to become connected to America’s Promise. He used his friendship with General Colin Powell to spearhead a local program designed to benefit 1,000 at risk children. He was extremely involved on the national level. General Stiner headed a terrorism task force for US Senator Lamar Alexander. He served as a national security advisor to multiple CIA Directors. He served a senior mentor for the Department of Defense CAPSTONE Course, which includes the training of all newly selected brigadier generals and rear admirals. He was an instructor and senior mentor for the Joint Forces Staff College. He served as a senior mentor and concept developer for the US Joint Forces Command. In 2004, he was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame. In 2019, he was inducted into the 82nd Airborne Division Hall of Fame.

In 2002, he wrote and published along with Tom Clancy, Shadow Warriors, Inside the Special Forces. Shadow Warriors was the third non-fiction book Clancy published. The book looked deep look into modern warfare, as seen through the eyes of General Stiner. Together, Stiner and Clancy traced the transformation of the Special Forces (SF) from the small core of outsiders in the 1950s, through Vietnam, to the rebirth of the SF in the late 1980s and 1990s.

During his thirty-five year career, General Carl Stiner commanded the Army’s preeminent contingency strike forces; including the Joint Special Operations Command, the 82d Airborne Division and the XVIII Airborne Corps. General Stiner had an extensive background in special operations. Among his many missions were the capture of the terrorists in the Achille Lauro hijacking, the Panama invasion and the capture of Manuel Noriega, and all special operations activities during Operation Desert Storm. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 06/02/2022-9AM)

5 Replies to “La Follette’s favorite son, General Carl Stiner, has died”

  1. He will be missed. I remember him when i was young, He and his brother would come up and help our family to cut tobacco. The only thing they requested was for my mom Myrtle to fry them some chicken for lunch, The whole Stiner family were great people. May he RIP

  2. General Carl Stiner was the best “boss” that I ever had. From the RDJTF, FT BRAGG,USSOCOM and JUST CAUSE. A great leader in every way. He will missed on the “drop zone”

  3. He and Sue have been regular and most loyal members of the Faithful Followers Sunday School Class of First Baptist Church Concord, Knoxville TN. We will miss his smiling face every Sunday.

Comments are closed.