Col. (retired) Vernon F. Lightner has been named CMCSS’ Director of Army Instruction, replacing Col. (retired) Michael J. Taliento, Jr. who is retiring. Previously, he served as the Senior Army Instructor at Montgomery Central High School. Before teaching JROTC, he served in the U.S. Army for 27 years, retiring as a Colonel.
Col. (retired) Lightner has served in a variety of leadership positions from Platoon Leader to Battalion Commander. He has participated in several operational deployments including Operation Intrinsic Action, Kuwait; Operation Restore Hope, Somalia; and two tours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan. His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Combat Action Badge, Parachutist Badge, the Air Assault Badge, the Joint Staff and Army Staff Badge, and various other campaign medals.
He earned his M.S. in National Security and Resource Strategy from the Dwight D. Eisenhower School at National Defense University in Washington, D.C., an M.S. in Public Administration from Central Michigan University, and a B.S. in Business Administration from Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C. Additionally, he completed the Military Police Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, the Combined Arms Services Staff School, and the Command and General Staff College.
Colonel (retired) Lightner is married to Colonel (retired) Cynthia Lightner, and they have three adult children.