U.S. Army Sergeant Gary Andrew Eckert Jr (“Andy”) was assigned to the 983rd Engineer Battalion U.S/ Army Reserve in Monclova, Ohio, where he served as a carpentry and masonry specialist.
In 2003, SGT Eckert was deployed to Iraq as an Individual Augmentee for a Regular Army Engineer Battalion, serving in OIF I. He was wounded by shrapnel from an EID during his deployment. He was awarded the Purple Heart.
When Eckert recovered from his injuries, he voluntarily returned to Iraq, serving his country in OIF III.
“Andy didn’t have to go back to war. He came back a Purple Heart recipient,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Beasley.
During his time in Iraq, he asked his fellow female soldiers to show him how to braid hair so he would be able to handle his daughter when he returned home. “We’re never going to let his children forget who their daddy was,” said a family friend. “That’s the goal from now on; to keep his spirit alive.”
On May 8th, 2005, which was also Mother’s Day, Andy lost his life in Iraq after sustaining injuries from an EID. He was posthumously awarded several awards, including a second Purple Heart and a Bronze Star with a V for Valor.
He is survived by his wife Tiffany, daughter Marlee and son Myles.