Maj. Gen. Richard C. Staats relinquished command of the 75th Innovation Command, the senior military headquarters in the fourth-largest city in the U.S., as well as the surrounding region, July 10. Staats retires from the U.S. Army Reserve on July 15.
The ceremony was hosted by Maj. Gen. Gregory J. Mosser, Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Reserve Command, at the Hilton Houston NASA Clear Lake.
The Texas Army National Guard’s 36th Infantry Division Band also provided music and accompaniment.
Mosser oversees 26 of the Army Reserve Operational, Functional, Training, and Support Commands located in the Continental United States, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Germany.
During his speech, Mosser focused on Staats’ leadership during his more than 40-year Army career, starting with an enlistment at the age of 18 and subsequent commission from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
“He never expected to make the military a career, but after enlisting and serving with his fellow Soldiers, Rich found his own niche in the Army world, and he entered the career pipeline as an Army officer. All of us – all of us – are very fortunate that he did,” Mosser said.
“He was recognized very early on for his exceptional potential. He hit the ground running after commissioning and proved himself early on to be a trusted subordinate and visionary leader, and throughout his career, he continually sought to better himself through higher education,” Mosser said.
Staats’ service included a total of six commands at every level from company commander to two-star commanding general. He served overseas in five of these commands, including in active combat zones for three of them. In addition, Staats served in several Joint and Interagency assignments and support, including the Joint Staff, the Defense Logistics Agency, the Foreign Service Institute, and Multinational Force Iraq. Staats was the first Senior Fellow for the Chief of Staff of the Army’s Strategic Studies Group.
“It’s time to say goodbye, and that’s a bittersweet thing to do after so many years and after spending so much time with my Army family here in Houston. A lot of that, I feel, was taken away with COVID, and we did a really good job keeping in touch, but nothing beats face-to-face. I’m very proud of the command and its personnel and its amazing accomplishments in just the brief time it’s existed,” Staats said, noting he is the first commanding general to have been with the 75th since it stood up.
Staats holds a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as a Masters in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. As a Citizen-Soldier, Staats served more than 25 years as a contributor at various “think tanks” in the National Capital Region area, culminating with a position as director of a $100 million program supporting the Department of Defense.
“Ever since he enlisted, everybody has known him as the kind of person they can count on him for advice or support, or to just listen. He has a very well-justified reputation as a solutions expert. If you’ve ever run into General Staats, you know he is the answer man. If you’ve ever had a problem, what do you do? Talk to Rich. If you have a thorny issue, you talk to Rich,” Mosser said.
Staats’ speech concluded with recognizing the unique skillsets found in the 75th Innovation Command, which drives operational innovation, concepts, and capabilities to enhance the readiness and lethality of the Future Force by leveraging the unique skills, agility, and private sector connectivity of America's Army Reserve. He encouraged troops to continue to seek new opportunities and challenges throughout their Army Reserve career.
“Don’t let people stay in the same unit forever. You’ve got to get in fresh perspectives, you’ve got to get fresh ways of looking at the world, and you’ve got to get new energy and new interests. It helps you refresh your technology as well. It also means all these people who leave – because you’re asking them to leave – they’re going to go out and show the Army Reserve and the rest of the Army how to be a great organization and how to think innovatively,” Staats said.
For more information on potentially joining the 75th Innovation Command, send a one- to two-paragraph narrative summary of applicable background, with a recent resume, to email@example.com.