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Sergeant Dave Eckert Does Half-Ironman
in Iraq for Re-enlistment
& Photos by Spc. Matthew Wright
Combat Aviation Brigade
19 , 2011
at Lt. Col. Lydas memorial, I was reminded that we only have so much time
to accomplish our goals in life, so I got busy, Eckert said.
TAJI, Iraq After swimming 29 laps in the pool in here, Master Sergeant
David A. Eckert, went to dry himself off and smiled as he walked to the gym
across the street.
the 640th Aviation Support Battalions operations section noncommissioned
officer in charge from Chester, Calif., was smiling because he was going to be
sworn in for a six-year enlistment by his commander, Lt. Col. Lou Carmona. As
a precursor to the ceremony, he had gotten up early to complete a half-Ironman
triathlon. Eckert is deployed to Iraq with the 640th ASB, a California Army
National Guard battalion from Los Alamitos, Calif.
half-Ironman consisted of a 29-lap swim in the base pool, equaling the distance
of 1.18 miles; followed by riding a stationary bike for 55.92 miles; and finally,
running on a treadmill for 13.11 miles. These three events equaled half the distance
of the full Ironman event. It took Eckert six hours and 56 minutes to finish.
was inspired to accomplish this event, which requires peak physical fitness, after
a fellow warrior passed away.
has to do with a soldier I knew from my last deployment, Eckert said. When
he passed away I promised myself I was going to improve my physical readiness.
Col. Chuck Lyda, who worked at Joint Forces Headquarters, his previous unit,
had died of cancer and it made a big impact on Eckerts personal life.
at Lt. Col. Lydas memorial,
I was reminded that we only have so much time to accomplish our goals in life,
so I got busy, Eckert said. He
accomplished his first goal by getting a perfect score on his Army Physical Fitness
Test when he went to start his training for the Iraq mobilization at Fort Hood,
Texas. He wasnt finished there, though.
achieved that goal and set a new goal for this deployment, Eckert said referring
to the half-Ironman that he just finished. Eckert plans to raise the bar even
further by running the full Ironman when he returns to California after the deployment.
He may attempt that next summer, but has not chosen an event as of yet, he said.
not only has been working to achieve his physical goals, but also has been working
on his bachelors degree. His
accomplishments on his physical fitness and his work ethic in the operations shop
have been noticed by leaders in his command.
works a 12-hour shift; he works out two to three hours a day, 640th ASB
Command Sgt. Maj. Bryon Robinson, a Phelan, Calif., native said. Plus he
has homework, trying to achieve his B.A. He exemplifies what an NCO should be.
has almost two decades in the military, both active duty and National Guard, and
he is trying to achieve all the goals he has set for himself, especially completing
another six-year contract with the National Guard. Completing a degree, continuing
to raise the bar for physical fitness, and hopefully continuing his rise in the
ranks where he can eventually reach the command sergeant major position, and lead
his Soldiers the same way he was led through his career.
said he is inspired by words from his late role model: There are talkers
and there are doers. Eckert intends to be a doer.