LAFOLLETTE, Tenn. (WATE) — It was no shortage of soldiers and loved ones Saturday in LaFollette. Hundreds gathered to pay respect to Lafollette native General Carl Stiner as he was laid to rest Saturday. He passed away surrounded by his family on June 2.

“Words can’t express the honor, the legacy, and just the man we’re honoring today,” said General Richard Clarke. “And what he did for our country should never be forgotten.”

Clarke is a four-star general like Stiner and serves as the 12th Commander of United States Special Operations Command.

General Stiner served as the second commander and paved the way for people like General Clarke.

“He’s 30 years my senior,” Clarke said. “I was a young Captain Clarke when he was General Singer and what I recall a part of his legacy is that he was always training and teaching. And he was very humble.”

General Stiner’s humility began in LaFollette, where he grew up on a farm.

“Always understanding the value of hard work and education,” retired Lieutenant Colonel Logan Hickman said.

But Stiner wanted to make a mark on the world.

“In 1989 while serving as the 18th Airborne Corps Commander, General Stiner led the successful US invasion of Panama and the subsequent capture of the dictator Manuel Noriega. That operation, Just Cause, required incredible precision with 27 different targets but what I recall it required immense preparation,” said Clarke.

The former general oversaw all special operation activities during Desert Storm. He also was involved in capturing the terrorists who highjacked the Achille Lauro in 1985.

But after 35 years with the Army, Stiner wanted to go back to his roots.

“This is what General Stiner said about coming home. ‘Always enjoyed what I was doing and I took a lot of satisfaction from it. And this has stayed with me. I left home just after college, spent most of my life away. But I had to go home and make whatever contribution I could for my community had given me in my younger days,'”Eighth Circuit Court Judge John McAffee said.

General Stiner was 85-years-old when he died. He’s survived by his daughters, several grandkids and his wife, Sue. They were married for 62 years.