By Capt. Lesley Kipling
BLACKSTONE, Va. -- Maj. James A. Zollar took command of 276th Combat Engineer Battalion, at a ceremony at Fort Pickett on June 16.
He replaced Lt. Col. Michael J. Higgins who completed his second battalion command and is preparing to retire.
“There is no better way that I could have ended my career in the National Guard, in the military than serving as your commander,” Higgins said in a speech at the ceremony.
“When I took command, I thought this would be an ideal situation for me, with most of the unit re-deployed from Iraq,” he added.
“With so much experience, I figured my job as commander would be very easy and you proved me right.
“Actually, you exceeded what my expectations were for this battalion,” he continued.
“I expected a bunch of combat veterans. I didn’t expect in peace time that you’d carry the same determination, loyalty and honor that you carried in battle.”
Zollar, who has served with the 276th in several assignments throughout his career, most recently deployed with the unit to Iraq as the battalion executive officer.
“I’m proud to come back and serve with them again,” he said.