PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - The Picatinny community bade farewell to outgoing Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center Director Dr. Joseph A. Lannon during a retirement ceremony June 30.

Lannon has been the ARDEC director since 2005 and is retiring after almost 44 years of service to the Army and the nation.

Lt. Gen. William Phillips, former Picatinny commanding general and the Army's current principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, officiated the retirement ceremony.

"This is a celebration of 44 years of dedicated service to our Soldiers," Phillips said about the ceremony, adding that Lannon had been a leader among leaders during his time in the government.

As the ARDEC director, Lannon led the development of innovative armaments technologies and products to support the warfighter and assured that systems evaluation and armaments concepts were effectively provided at all phases of the research, development, engineering and production processes.

Under Lannon's leadership the organization provided service members with more than 144 materiel and urgent materiel releases of armament. ARDEC won 21 Army's Greatest Inventions awards, which are selected by Soldiers.

As Phillips talked about ARDECs most recent successes he quoted President John Quincy Adams who said, " 'If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.'

"That's what Joe Lannon has done for all of us."

Phillips discussed Lannon's personal honors as well, which include a 2009 Distinguished Executive Presidential Rank Award, 2004 Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award, 2004 Association of U.S. Army Exceptional Service Civilian Awards and a 1988 Firepower Award for Exceptional Service.

"All of this is in recognition of a lifetime of dedicated service to our Army, Soldiers and Families," Phillips said.

Service members in harms way have been saved by the work of Lannon and the Picatinny team, he said.

"They will probably never hear or know the words Dr. Joe Lannon, or ever know him, but they will have survived in combat because of the hard work....that Joe has done for our nation," Phillips said.

When Lannon took the podium to say good-bye to the community, he thanked all the colleagues, community members, friends and family members for attending and for helping him throughout his years of service.

He also touched upon some of ARDECs other accomplishments such as winning a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, training the workforce on Lean Six Sigma, modernizing ARDEC facilities and laboratories, forming partnerships with industry, academia and other military entities, and increasing implementation of modeling and simulation in technology design.

"Thank you to the workforce for your support and for making me look so good during my tenure as director," Lannon concluded. "You've become my second family over the years. And finally, thank you to everyone for making my time here so enjoyable and a life-long memory."

During the ceremony, Assemblyman Anthony Bucco, Jr., also presented Lannon with a Joint New Jersey Assembly Resolution recognizing Lannon for his 44 years of service.

Lannon also received a Meritorious Civilian Service Award, signed by Gen. Ann Dunwoody, Army Materiel Command Commanding General.

His wife, Elizabeth, also received the Commander's Award for Public Service for her support.

Lannon will be succeeded by Dr. Gerardo Melendez.

Melendez is the current director of the Command, Control and Systems Integration Directorate for the U.S. Army Communication-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center at Fort Monmouth, N.J.