Richards was commissioned in the Air Force following his graduation from The Ohio State University with a degree in Political Science in 1968. He subsequently earned a Master’s in International Relations from St. Mary's University. He is a graduate of the National War College and the Advanced Management Program at the Duke University School of Business.
During his 27-year career, he served in a variety of personnel staff positions at the installation, major command and Air Staff levels. Following a joint assignment as the J1 at U.S. Pacific Command, Richards commanded the Air Force Officer Training School, the Air Force District of Washington, and the 11th Wing. He served as Air Force Director of MWR and Services in his final assignment.
Following his retirement from the Air Force, he completed two successful private sector careers in hospitality management and in real estate development focused on new concepts in retirement living. Since his retirement, Richards has served as Executive Director and Board President of a number of national and community based nonprofit organizations.