Ellis returns to Europe as commander of 2nd Cavalry Regiment
By MICHAEL S. DARNELL | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 15, 2016
VILSECK, Germany — Col. Patrick Ellis assumed command of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment during a ceremony Friday that also saw leadership of five of the regiment’s squadrons change hands.
Ellis, an infantry officer with 22 years of experience, took over from Col. John Meyer III, who led the regiment these past two years. This marks Ellis’ second time stationed in Europe, nearly 15 years after his tour of duty in Vicenza, Italy.
“We thought we were busy back then,” he said. “We’re really busy now. Although a lot of things have changed, what I found is that a lot of things that are still the same.”
As its commander, Meyer oversaw some of the largest training events in the regiment’s history, which kept the unit in a steady cycle of deployments across Europe and the Middle East.
The largest of those was Operation Atlantic Resolve, an American-led show of support for Europe’s eastern nations after Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014. The regiment was the backbone of that operation’s land component.
The regiment’s highest-profile operations were its Dragoon Ride convoys. These twin events brought American troops and vehicles across the whole of Europe’s eastern flank in 2015 and again this year.
The first of those convoys brought Americans to some areas in eastern Europe that hadn’t seen an American military presence in decades.
“Just seeing how the population in all the countries viewed the United States and our soldiers was a feeling I’ll never forget,” he said.
Meyer now leaves for Washington, where he’ll serve as the deputy director of the Transregional Threat Coordination Cell with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He said it’ll be a slight change of pace from the constant deployment cycle he’s been in for the past couple of years.
“Has it been a high-op tempo? Absolutely. Has it been worth it? It absolutely has,” he said. “I think for this regiment, to continue our history of 180 years, I think it has absolutely been worth it.”
He’s not leaving alone. Much of the regiment’s top leadership changed hands on Friday. The 3rd Squadron’s Lt. Col. Timothy Payment was replaced by Lt. Col. Scott Cheney. 4th Squadron is now commanded by Lt. Col. Gregory Campion, who took over for Lt. Col. Jonathan Due.
The field artillery commander is now Lt. Col. Thurman McKenzie, and the Engineer Squadron’s command switched from Lt. Col. Alexander Deraney to Lt. Col. Mark Himes.
The Support Squadron’s new commander is Lt. Col. Angel Estrada.
Col. Patrick Ellis, left, receives the guidon from U.S. Army Europe?s deputy commander, Maj. Gen. Timothy McGuire, during a change-of-command ceremony for the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Vilseck, Germany, Friday, July 15, 2016. Ellis assumed command of the unit from Col. John Meyer.
Michael S. Darnell/Stars and Stripes