KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – A new commander took the reins of the 598th Transportation Brigade during a change of command ceremony here July 16. Col. Joshua D. Hirsch assumed command of the brigade from Col. Jin H. Pak during a virtual ceremony, with the commanding general of the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, Brig. Gen. Heidi J. Hoyle, presiding from her headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.
During her remarks, Hoyle highlighted the tremendous job done by the outgoing commander along with his success in enhancing partnerships with the brigade’s many stakeholders.
“You have built lasting, effective relationships with our extended teammates, with our host-nations, with our commercial carriers, with our industry partners and, of course, with our reserve component.”
As she bid a final farewell to Pak, who is on his way to U.S. Army Forces Command, Hoyle added, “You’ve led from the front … the bottom line is, your actions as commander have created a very strong legacy of success”
Pak expressed his deep appreciation for the skill, dedication and commitment of the 598th team and for their many achievements. “What a two-years it has been,” said Pak. “Your hard work and professionalism made it such an honor to serve as your commander. I could not have asked for a better experience.”
The former commander said the brigade’s motto was well deserved. “The 598th is called the ‘In-Motion’ Brigade for a reason. A quick overview of its current operations illustrates this; how we are always in motion supporting both EUCOM and AFRICOM.” Pak highlighted how the brigade had supported operations such as Atlantic Resolve, exercises like Defender-Europe 20, and had successfully executed strategic seaport operations in countries all across Europe and Africa.
Along with those from SDDC and the 598th, senior leaders from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command also participated in the ceremony. The 21st TSC’s deputy commanding officer, Col. Douglas A. Levien, passed the brigade colors on Hoyle’s behalf, and Maj. Gen. Christopher O. Mohan, 21st TSC commanding general, and Command Sgt. Major. Sean M. Howard, were among the attendees, reinforcing the important partnership that exists between the 598th and the theater’s senior sustainment organization.
After accepting the brigade’s colors and assuming his new command, Hirsch thanked Pak for his exceptional leadership and expressed his admiration for the 598th team.
“To the Soldiers, civilians, local national workforce, industry partners and families of the 598th, I look forward to inspiring excellence, promoting trust and serving you and your families,” said Hirsch. “As I stand here today as the newest member of the team, I can’t help but be overwhelmed with excitement and motivation. Excited to be a part of such an incredible organization with a storied history and motivated to be surrounded by men and women of such unlimited potential and drive to serve.”
Hoyle expressed her strong confidence in the incoming commander, stating he is absolutely the right leader to take command of the 598th.
“With more than a few assignments in Germany, Col. Hirsch is no stranger to the AOR,” Hoyle added. “You come with an impeccable reputation and an outstanding record of performance. I know you will continue to help us operationalize the command to address the challenges we face as we move, deploy and sustain readiness.”
The Surface Warriors of the 598th integrate and synchronize strategic surface deployment and distribution capabilities to move, deploy and sustain the armed forces in support of two combatant commands, U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command. The brigade’s key terrain is at seaports throughout the European and African theaters, where they execute mission command of port operations and perform a vital role in bringing combat power to a combined area of operations of more than 15-million square miles.