Fallen Soldier: Gary A, Eckert, Jr.

Gary A, Eckert, Jr.
Dates: Died May 8, 2005
Hometown: Toledo, OH
Branch of Service: Army
Rank: Sergeant
Player: Cooper Hrabak

Army Sergeant Gary A. “Andy” Eckert, Jr., 24, of Toledo, Ohio, was assigned to the 983rd Engineer Battalion, U.S. Army Reserve, Monclova, Ohio, where he was serving as a carpentry and masonry specialist during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. On May 8, 2005, SGT Eckert died of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Humvee in Samarra, Iraq.

A graduate of Anthony Wayne High School, SGT Eckert enlisted in the Army Reserve in 2001. In 2003, he was deployed to Iraq. He was wounded by shrapnel from an IED, sent home to recuperate and was awarded the Purple Heart. After recovering from his injuries, SGT Eckert’s reserve unit was once again activated and deployed to Iraq.

SGT Eckert was posthumously awarded a second Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.

While in Iraq on his second deployment, SGT Eckert would ask female soldiers to show him how to braid hair, so he could braid his daughter’s hair when he returned home.

His two children are both Folds of Honor scholarship recipients.