FORT CARSON, Colo. –
The 11th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade’s leaders uncased the unit’s colors at Founders Field Sept. 17, 2022, officially signaling the Army Reserve brigade’s return home from a long deployment.
Not long after, brigade aviators bid farewell to the officer who commanded the 11th ECAB during its deployment to the U.S. Central Command area of operations and welcomed a new leader.
With the passing of the 11th ECAB’s guidon, Col. Patrick L. Pollak assumed command of the brigade from Col. Matthew B. Hill, who was unable to attend the ceremony.
Nevertheless, Col. Lindsey E. Halter, commanding officer, Army Reserve Aviation Command, presided over the ceremony, where she congratulated Hill for his leadership, especially during the brigade’s most recent deployment.
“To say Col. Hill has led this brigade through some challenging events is an understatement,” she said. “Army aviation command is never easy, especially during a deployment. In this case, it meant a year away from home and Family. He volunteered to take command only two months before the 11th ECAB was scheduled to mobilize. He was able to bring the headquarters, plus units from three battalions from all over the country to Fort Hood, and successfully complete pre-mobilization training before deploying the brigade.”
Halter explained that the unit’s deployment — of nearly 1,200 Soldiers — represented the largest deployment of a Reserve unit since World War II and that its air crews and support personnel successfully completed their mission, flying hundreds of hours in support of operations Spartan Shield and Inherent Resolve.
“The next few years will bring new challenges to the Eagles (11th ECAB),” she said. “We must continue to execute challenging training and maintain our readiness. I have no doubt that Col. Pollak will be able to lead these Eagles (11th ECAB) in overcoming the challenges that lay ahead.”
Pollak comes to Fort Carson from the Pentagon, where he was the division chief of Army Collective Training, Headquarters, Department of the Army, G3/5/7. In previous assignments he has commanded a fixed wing battalion and various field and company grade units. He has deployed twice to Afghanistan, including a stint as an Apache pilot in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and has earned the Bronze, Meritorious Service, and Air medals along with Combat Action and Expert Infantryman badges.
“I want to thank Army leadership for giving me this opportunity to command and trust me with doing so,” Pollak said. “And I want to express my appreciation for the superb citizen Soldiers that stand before us today. Not only have (they) just returned from deployment, but there are Soldiers just like (them) serving on the plains of Eastern Europe right now, in the IndoPacific, the Middle East and at dozens of locations around the world. I want to thank you for protecting me, my Family and our nation. You do what no one else is willing to do. You sacrifice your time and your Family time and our nation appreciates you.”