US Army Reserve chief of staff honored in military/civilian retirement ceremony

By Maj. Angela Wallace | Office of the Chief, Army Reserve | Jan. 20, 2016

January 16, 2016 — TAMPA, Fla. – In a retirement ceremony held Jan. 16, 2016, co-hosted by the U.S. Army Reserve and the University of South Florida, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Talley, Chief of the Army Reserve and commander of U.S. Army Reserve Command, recognized Maj. Gen. Luis Visot for his more than 37 years of service to the U.S. Army and the nation.

“I can think of no other individual in the Army Reserve who has held such a wide variety of command and staff positions, performed so exceptionally in each of them, and done as much to advance the efficiency, readiness and mission of the Army Reserve as Major General Visot,” said Talley.

Visot, born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in May of 1978. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee and a Masters in Education from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. Visot received a Masters in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.

He has commanded at every level from platoon to his final assignment as the Chief of Staff, United States Army Reserve, where he maintained responsibility for the synchronization and integration of the Army Reserve staff and leading its strategic and operational planning, activities and execution.

It is understood throughout the military that behind the success of every Soldier and leader is an indispensable family that supports them, and Maj. Gen. Visot’s wife, Dr. Cindy Visot, was recognized with flowers by her husband and presented with the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal by the Department of the Army for her extensive contributions to Army Reserve Soldiers and their families.

During Talley’s remarks, he shared a conversation he’d had the night before with another key family member in Maj. Gen. Visot’s life, his father, Dr. Luis Visot. Dr. Visot was scheduled to give the invocation and benediction for his son’s retirement ceremony the next day and Talley asked him what he thought of his son’s pending retirement and Dr. Visot replied, “My car is full.” Dr. Visot went on to explain that the car was a metaphor for his heart which was overflowing with thankfulness and pride at his sons accomplishments and the joy of being able to be a part of such an important occasion.

Dr. Judy Genshaft, president of the University of South Florida System, presided over the civilian portion of Visot’s retirement ceremony, recognizing him for his 35 years of dedication to the university and its students. Genshaft affectionately referred to Maj. Gen. Visot as "her general" when she discussed the extensive accomplishments during Visot’s tenure with the university which began in 1981 when he served as a resident instructor with the Department of Housing and Auxiliary Services and culminated with his final assignment as executive director for the Joint Military Leadership Center at USF.

“You cannot recognize Major General Visot for one aspect of his career here at USF without recognizing his other very considerable professional achievements as a leader in the United States Army Reserve.  

“What’s remarkable about Major General Visot is that either of these two endeavors would’ve been a complete life’s work, but only someone of his energy and drive could’ve carried out both simultaneously,” said Genshaft.  

She went on to share tales of Visot’s unconventional techniques to reach his students and how one particular initiative involving soap, water and a hallway in Residence Hall earned him their immediate trust and the title at the university as the "Dean of Fun."

Among the many awards and presentations dedicated to Maj. Gen. and Dr. Visot, retired U.S. Navy Cdr. Paul Matthews, representing Congressman David Jolly, paid tribute to Visot’s career by sharing a portion of the congressman’s entry into the congressional record on Dec. 16, 2015, in honor of Visot’s exceptionally distinguished service culminating in his assignment as chief of staff of the U.S. Army Reserve.

“I am grateful for his and his family’s life of service to the United States Army Reserve … as with all our citizen Soldiers, it is important we acknowledge the University of South Florida for their outstanding support as General Visot’s civilian employer. It is because of their cooperation and understanding during his many tours on active duty that he was able to make a positive impact in the Army Reserve,” read Matthews.

When it was time for Maj. Gen. Visot to address the audience, he thanked his wife and those in attendance for the many wonderful memories experienced together, and closed with a rule he tries to live by.

“Never miss the opportunity to connect with others.  Nothing in life is guaranteed,” he said.  

Finally, Dr. Luis Visot returned to the podium to give the benediction which would complete the ceremony, but before he began the prayer, he looked back to his son and said, “My car isn’t big enough.”

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