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Master Sergeant Dave Eckert Does Half-Ironman
in Iraq for Re-enlistment

Story & Photos by Spc. Matthew Wright
40th Combat Aviation Brigade
September 19 , 2011

“While at Lt. Col. Lyda’s memorial, I was reminded that we only have so much time to accomplish our goals in life, so I got busy,” Eckert said.

CAMP 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.

Eckert, the 640th Aviation Support Battalion’s 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.

Eckert Swims 29 Laps - 1.18 milesEckert Stationary Bike 55.92 milesEckert Treadmill 13.11 miles
Eckert’s 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.

He was inspired to accomplish this event, which requires peak physical fitness, after a fellow warrior passed away.

“This 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.”

Lt. Col. Chuck Lyda, who worked at Joint Forces Headquarters, his previous unit, had died of cancer and it made a big impact on Eckert’s personal life.

“While at Lt. Col. Lyda’s 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 wasn’t finished there, though.

“I 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.

Master Sgt. Dave Eckert gets sworn in for a six year re-enlistment by the 640th Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Lou Carmona at Camp Taji, Iraq, on Aug. 8Eckert not only has been working to achieve his physical goals, but also has been working on his bachelor’s degree. His accomplishments on his physical fitness and his work ethic in the operations shop have been noticed by leaders in his command.

“He 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.”

Eckert 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.

Eckert said he is inspired by words from his late role model: “There are talkers and there are doers.” Eckert intends to be a doer.

Source: dvidshub.net/news

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