The Harford County Council sent a letter last week to the Secretary of the Army asking that the assignment of Aberdeen Proving Ground’s senior commander be extended for a year.
The letter, approved by the council’s general counsel last week, supports extending the tour of duty of Maj. Gen. Randy Taylor, who has been at APG since April 2017. It was sent to the Secretary of the Army and a copy was sent to Taylor, County Council President Richard Slutzky said.
“He is definitely one of the most sincerely interested generals that have been at Aberdeen Proving Ground that we can remember,” Councilman Patrick Vincenti said this week.
To keep him at Aberdeen would continue that relationship, he said.
“It would be extremely beneficial,” Vincenti said. “There is a great working relationship between the county, the municipalities and the proving ground. He just seems to be willing to work together for the benefit of everyone.”
The two-star general is the commanding general of the Army Communications-Electronics Command, which is headquartered at APG, and the senior commander of the post.
Typically, general’s assignments are for two to three years, Greg Mahall, of the APG/CECOM Public Affairs Office, said.
“Though that’s not written in stone anywhere and there have been exceptions,” Mahall said, pointing to Maj. Gen. Bruce Crawford, who preceded Taylor and was at APG for almost three years.
Taylor is 18 months into his assignment at APG and has not received word on his next assignment, Mahall said.
Taylor hasn’t discussed with Mahall whether he’s interested in extending his command at APG, but during a tour on post Monday morning, Taylor said “he would absolutely love that” if his stay were extended, according to Vincenti.
A waterfowl decoy carver, Vincenti is interested in parts of APG where for years people traveled to to hunt ducks, he said. The government controls most of that property, and Vincenti said he asked Taylor for a tour.
“We took that tour today. It was absolutely excellent,” Vincenti, a Republican who’s running for county council president, said.
Taylor has also been to Vincenti’s house, where he helped carve decoys in Vincenti’s shop, he said.
Three council members are Army and Marine Corps veterans and appreciate the efforts Taylor has made in creating a “symbiotic and inclusive relationship between APG and the civilian environment,” the council’s letter states.
“MG Taylor has been an outstanding partner to Harford and Cecil counties as well as the several towns and cities within these jurisdictions. those of us with long time experience in local government and community organizations recognize the extraordinary participation of MG Taylor in these local communities,” the council states. “He is the model example of how to build solid relationships and esprit de corps between a large military facility and the surrounding communities.”
The council asked that Taylor’s tour be extended “for him to complete the many innovate tasks he has undertaken to benefit our war fighters.”
“With his energy and a lot of the initiatives he’s involved with, we would like to see those things come to fruition, so they don’t get handed off to someone else,” Slutzky said Monday.
Anything a warfighter wears, shoots or communicates with, goes through APG, he said. New materiel is developed there — combat shoes, helmets, armor on Humvees.
“There are initiatives he brought forward that would benefit the warfighters through what APG does,” Slutzky said.
The former Aberdeen High teacher and coach has known many of the previous commanders of APG and said Taylor has been one of the most engaged commanders since Gen. Johnnie Wilson was Chief of Ordnance as a brigadier general at APG from 1990 to 1992.
“There’s interest in seeing if there’s a possibility of extending the senior commanding officer’s term,” Slutzky said. “We don’t know how it will work, we just took the initiative.”
Besides attending the usual Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies, Taylor has attended numerous community meetings in Harford and Cecil, as well as municipalities in those counties. He holds regular meetings with local government officials to keep communication open. Taylor has also authored commentaries published in The Aegis and on www.theaegis.com.
“It just creates an atmosphere of where we have the largest employer in the county, it’s just a comfort to know that the person in charge of the base itself seems to have the best interest of the county at heart as well. He’s not just doing the job the Army sent him here to do,” Vincenti said. “He appears to truly want to see what’s best for the county. And obviously the government as well.”