Two careers honored during installation retirement ceremony

Jennifer Zbozny, SES and chief of the CECOM Software Engineering Center, left, congratulates Francis L. Mayer, also of CECOM SEC, upon his retirement during the installation retirement ceremony at the Ball Conference Center Oct. 26, 2017. | U.S. Army Photo by Lamont Harbison, APG Garrison

One career Soldier and a civilian with military roots formally ended their careers before family, colleagues and comrades during the installation retirement ceremony at the Ball Conference Center Oct. 26.

The honorees, Francis L. Mayer, a cybersecurity manager with the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command’s Software Engineering Center, or CECOM SEC, officially retired Sept. 30, 2017 with 30 years of service and Maj. Lucas R. Towne, training and exercise officer for the 20th CBRNE Command, retires Feb. 28, 2018 after a 26-year career.

Jennifer Zbozny, a member of the Senior Executive Service and director of the CECOM SEC, officiated the ceremony and presented awards, assisted by CECOM Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew McCoy.

Francis L. Mayer

Mayer was awarded the Department of the Army Meritorious Civilian Service Award signed by Gen. Gustave Perna, commander of the U.S. Army Materiel Command; the Department of the Army Certificate of Appreciation, signed by APG Senior Commander Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor. The DA Certificate of Appreciation, also signed by Taylor, was presented to Mayer’s wife, Maria L. Mayer.

A native of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, Mayer graduated from the Reserve Officer’s Training program of Widener University with a degree in Science. He was commissioned as an officer into the Regular Army in May 1979 and served on active duty until 1992, then transitioned to the Pennsylvania National Guard as a major.

Mayer worked in the civilian sector until he was recalled to active duty after 9/11. He served with the CECOM SEC at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey and transitioned to APG during base, realignment and closure. He retired from the Army Reserves in March 2016. He and his wife, Maria, have five children and three grandchildren.

Mayer expressed his thanks to APG Senior Commander Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor and CECOM leaders for their support of his mission.

“The leadership has been fantastic,” he said. “The whole community is really a first-class operation. They have my appreciation because I didn’t do all of this by myself.”

An adjunct professor at Harford Community College, Mayer said he’s already “made my transition.”

Maj. Lucas R. Towne

Jennifer Zbozny, SES and chief of the CECOM Software Engineering Center, left, and CECOM Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew McCoy, right, congratualate retiree Maj. Lucas R. Towne of the 20th CBRNE Command upon his retirement after 26 years of service. | U.S. Army Photo by Lamont Harbison, APG Garrison

Towne was awarded the Army Meritorious Service Medal signed by Brig. Gen. William King, commander of the 20 CBRNE Command; the Armed Forces Certificate of Appreciation signed by President Donald Trump; the Department of the Army Certificate of Retirement signed by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley; and a U.S. flag and pin.

A native of Antigo, Wisconsin, Towne enlisted in the Army as a cavalry scout in 1991. He joined the Wisconsin National Guard in 1995 and was commissioned as an Ordnance officer through ROTC at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

His past assignments include Fort Drum, New York; Fort Riley, Kansas; and Fort McCoy, Wisconsin; as well as overseas deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq during operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.

His military education includes Ordnance basic and career courses; the General Staff College; the Basic Airborne Course and Explosive Ordnance Disposal School.

Towne has earned the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service, Army Commendation and Army Achievement medals as well as the Afghanistan and Iraq Campaign medals and Master Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Parachutist badges.

He and his wife Catherine have two children.

Towne thanked his wife and children who were unable to attend the ceremony.

“I’d just like to thank the leaders and mentors I’ve met throughout my career,” he said, adding that he’ll be starting life anew in Wisconsin.

“It’s where my whole family is right now and it’s where I’m heading,” he said.

Installation Retirement

For more information about Installation Retirement Ceremonies, contact Lisa Waldon at 410-278-4353 or


By Yvonne Johnson, APG News