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NEWS | Aug. 3, 2022

New commander takes charge of 88th Readiness Division

By Cheryl Phillips 88th Readiness Division

Maj. Gen. Matthew V. Baker became the new commander of the 88th Readiness Division during a time-honored change of command ceremony on July 30, 2022, at Veterans Memorial Plaza here.

As keeper of the division colors, 88th Readiness Division Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory Betty passed the colors to Maj. Gen. Darrell J. Guthrie, who passed them to Maj. Gen. Gregory Mosser, deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve Command, as a symbol of relinquishment of command. Moser passed the colors to Baker, symbolizing assumption of command. Finally, Baker passed the colors to back to Betty.

Baker replaces Guthrie who became the 88th RD commander in July 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic in a virtual change of command ceremony.

In his remarks, Mosser offered his “official congratulations and thanks to Maj. Gen. Guthrie” for his 37 years of service. “That’s a lot of experience,” he said.

Mosser noted that Guthrie couldn’t have tallied accomplishments over his career without the “love and support of his family” who joined him at the ceremony.

He went on to laud Guthrie as “one of the Army Reserve’s top generals.” Mosser outlined the outgoing commander’s background which prepared him for the challenges of commanding the 88th Readiness Division, including command of U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command and other formative positions.

Mosser then pivoted to the new commander, calling Baker “a superstar taking the reins of an organization that models Army Reserve readiness at its finest.”

Guthrie said he was “humbled by the outpouring of well wishes from the Soldiers, Civilians and contractors of the 88th Readiness Division and Fort McCoy Garrison on this occasion. He noted that when he took command two years ago, it was a virtual high-five event with outgoing commander then Maj. Gen. Jody Daniels, now commanding general of USARC.

“My time with the 88th RD was among the most rewarding of my military career,” Guthrie said. Of his successor he said, “Maj. Gen. Baker arrives totally prepared to lead the division into the future.”

Baker comes to the 88th RD from command of the 416th Theater Engineer Command, Darien, Ill. “I can’t believe I’m here,” he said.

He plans to look to the 88th RD Soldiers, Civilians and contractors for their continued superior performance as he takes the helm. “Without you, the work of the 88th Readiness Division doesn’t happen. RDs make it happen so units are ready to deploy.”

Although Baker believes he has big shoes to fill in taking over from Guthrie, “I’m ready to take command. I look forward to being your leader and working with you to move to the next level.”