Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Army Sgt. Gary A. Eckert, Jr.

24, of Toledo, Ohio.
Eckert died in Balad, Iraq, from injuries sustained earlier that day in Samarra, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV. He was assigned to the Army Reserve's 983rd Engineer Battalion, Monclova, Ohio. Died on May 8, 2005.

Myles Eckert, Sgt. Eckert's son, pays it forward

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Sgt. Gary A. Eckert, Jr..


Contributions to the Families of the Fallen


Leave a message in memory of this servicemember, and/or to the loved ones left behind.

Please report inappropriate messages

"You are not forgotten thank you for my freedom"
Jade Brown of loveland Colorado

"Sierra Alpha Lima Uniform Tango Echo

"Tread lightly, 'tis a soldier's grave,
A lonely, mossy mound;

And yet to hearts like mine and thine
It should be holy ground.

Speak softly, let no careless laugh,
No idle, thoughtless jest,

Escape your lips where sweetly sleeps
The hero in his rest.

For him no reveille will beat
When morning beams shall come;

For him, at night, no tattoo rolls
Its thunders from the drum.

Tread lightly! for a man bequeathed,
Ere laid beneath this sod,

His ashes to his native land,
His gallant soul to God."


RIP, SGT Gary "Andy" Eckert,"
Christopher of Salem Or

"Pay It Forward

Lessons I would teach you
It seems that you have learned
Respect that I would give you
It seems that you have earned

It is sad that I can’t be there
To watch you learn and grow
But I don’t think I could be prouder
And I wanted you to know

Take some time to be a kid
And don’t grow up too fast
Cherish every moment
And make memories that last

So much I would have given
To get you through the storm
But there are role models all around you
Brothers all in uniform

Sgt Gary “Andy” Eckert Jr
May 8, 2005 US Army"
Robert Longley of North Granby, CT

"Dear andy, i was thinking of you today and came to this message board. To a great friend, soldier, and father. Miles looks exactly like you when we were in school.just wanted to let you know that we have not and will never forget you. Love forever sent to you and your family."
sarah echler of ocala fl

"Dear Myles,

I was brought to tears on Sunday when I saw your story on TV. I'm 44 now but I am just like you. My Dad died in Vietnam when I was only 6 months old...I never got a chance to meet him. I just wanted to write you and let you know that you are not alone and what you did with that $20 dollars was pretty cool :) To this day, I still tear up about my Dad but that's OK...our Dads and their families have made the ultimate sacrifice.

God bless you and your family and stay strong.


Rich Pipkin of East Wenatchee, WA

"Andy, Your son is amazing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjB3eVPWN1A"
Dave of South Florida

"To the family of:Gary A. Eckert
I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. My heart cries out for you in your grief and you have my thoughts and prayers. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please call or write my pastor: Rev. John Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015.
Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga""

I still think about you every single day. I can't listen to some songs without crying. I often think about how different some things would be if you got the chance to move here like you wanted to. Having my big brother around to protect me would be great, but I know you are doing that from heaven. I found that it helps wearing a necklace with your picture on it...when I get in tough situations I look down at it and know I'm never alone. I love you. Thanks for watching over me. As long as I am alive, you will never be forgotten. I know everyone else here thinks of you everyday too.
Ally Eckert of Leavenworth, KS

"Remembering you on Father's Day ,Andy,I will always remember you.My family will always remember you.
Nona Raby"
Barbara Raby of Reno,Nevada

"Love is but a moment that lasts unto Eternity."
Nona Raby of Reno,Nevada

"We all still think about you and the way you touched our lives, even if for a brief moment."
Kermit of Ohio

"I never want to forget the sacrifices of so many young men and women. I am so proud it makes me cry. I understand in theory only that war is a part of human nature but so is love and caring. I wish I could take the families pain away but I can't. I am committed to loving ALL people, myself and our environment. I am committed to working on my happiness everyday because so many have died for my freedom to live my life. Thank you is not enough but it is all I have. All my love and respect. ogersteiner@yahoo.com"
Scott Steiner of Gahanna, OH

"“Honor and Remember” - “Project Compassion” We love our Soldiers! We love our country and we cannot express enough love and compassion to the families of our fallen heroes. War does not discriminate - It breaks our hearts to see the faces of the fallen. We want to give this gift to you. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization! Over 1,600 portraits have been completed and shipped to the parents and or spouse - at no cost as this is a gift from one American to another!
Contact us directly at Projectcompassion@manti.com or go to www.heropaintings.com . If you have already had a portrait completed, we pray that you are enjoying the portrait and God Bless You.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Project Compassion of Manti, Utah USA

"June 2, 2008
To the family of Sgt. Gary A. Eckert, Jr.:
Gary gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"As I face another May 8th, I am reminded yet again of the sacrifices that are being made daily by our members of the armed forces. It has been two years ago today that Andy left us and I feel a greater sense of loss now than I ever have. At the time of Andy’s death, I could only feel the loss and gratitude a soldier feels at the loss of another soldier. As time has passed, I have learned more and more about Andy the Man and SGT Eckert the soldier.
I was privileged this past year meet a dear friend and leader who loved and admired Andy tremendously. It was by happenstance that I attended a leadership development class conducted at the National Simulation Center at Ft Leavenworth KS. The focus of the training was “Experiences in Operation Iraqi Freedom 2003-2006”. An Army Major was giving a briefing on his unit’s roles, responsibilities, and experiences while in Iraq. He was the Battalion Executive Officer of a Heavy Engineer Battalion and I was nearly knocked over when I realized that his unit was the one Andy was assigned to. I approached him afterwards and asked him if he knew the name on my hero bracelet. A look of shock overcame his face as he stated, "Andy and I were close friends". I immediately felt a bond with him and had a strong desire to learn more of Andy, the unit, and the environment they worked.
In the subsequent weeks we had a number of long discussions and as a result, I feel closer to Andy today than I ever have. I will continue to honor Andy daily with the wearing of my Hero Bracelet and preserving any and all tributes to Andy so that they will never be lost to the world and stand as a reminder of the great man that Andy was to so many people.

SFC Tony R. Stephens
US Army (Retired)
Lansing KS"


It has been over a year since we laid you to rest
God always seems to take the best of the best.
I try to find comfort in knowing how you had died
for pride and protection of those worldwide.

It still don’t seem real that you are not here
Especially to those who hold you most dear
A wife and two children, your parents and friends
They can’t understand why your life had to end.

A young man taken in his prime
I still can’t believe that it was your time.
I know you believed in the purpose you served
A military funeral is what you deserved.

The firetruck took you to your final resting place
Your wife received a flag in a nice little case.
You received metals and honors and there were many a teared face
The funeral and service were done with such grace.

A hero remembered, a legacy too
There are so many people that have these thoughts of you
It still don’t seem real that you are not here
As my face becomes streaked by that lone little tear

The tear I keep shedding each time that I think
Your life was taken away in just one little blink
But I do have your memory still etched in my mind
Our wonderful Andy that was so generous and kind.

I know life goes on and your memory will too
Your kids and your wife will wonder what they will do
Without their dear father, husband and friend
They must realize that it isn’t really the end.

They may not know it but you are still here
An angel to watch over all you held dear
A guardian angel to help keep them safe
To make sure their world is a much better place.

Written for a great man that gave his life for the freedom of others.
Sgt Gary Eckert – Army Reserve – 05/08/05"
Tena Schad (Aunt of Andy Eckert) of Swanton, OH

""SGT Eckert was a great soldier, and friend. He always put his fellow soldiers first, and always talked of his family, his wife and daughter. I remember long days, driving in a dump truck for hours each day, with him in the passenger seat, and we would talk for hours about our children, how things were going at home, and just about anything else. He was a great friend to us all, and to this day I think about him almost daily, and cannot help but become saddened when I think of the loss that we, both his family and fellow soldiers, have endured, the loss of a great soldier, and a fellow man."
SPC Timothy A. Champagne of Detroit, MI

"Andy, it's Ally, I just wanted to let you know how much Jessie, Stephanie, Mom, Dad, and I miss you. You will NEVER be forgotten. I had so many unsent letters to you that I wish I got a chance to send. I am so proud of you, you had a lot of courage. You and all of the other soldiers that have fought in the war should be proud. I love you so much.

Love your sister,
Ally Eckert of Leavenworth, Kansas

"As I awoke this morning, the first thing that was on my mind was today was 8 May and what a day of remembering it would be. I can not believe it has been a year since Andy was taken from us. There is not a day that goes by when Andy does not come to mind. I cherish the moments I get to spend with people explaining the meaning behind my Hero Bracelet memorializing the life of Andy. I proudly wear Andy's bracelet each and every day as a constant reminder to myself and everyone around me of the sacrifices made by Andy and his family, as well as those like him that stand in harms way so that each of us may enjoy freedom and liberties we have. I will always keep Tiphany, Myles, Marlee and all of Andy's family in my thoughts and prayers and pray that time will help to heal the feeling of loss you have all endured. Andy is still a hero and always will be."
Tony Stephens of Lansing, Kansas

"As a fellow classmate of Andy's from Anthony Wayne H.S. I just want to say that he will truley be missed. I was friends with Andy only a short time but he really touched my life. He was thoughtful, caring and just a great person all around. I pray that his family will be able to remember Andy through their memories and that his precious babies are taught what a special daddy they had for the short amount of time he was on this earth. I would like to thank him for serving and protecting our country above and beyond what was expected of him. I am so proud to have known him. I will be praying for his family."
Jen Stone of Bowling Green, Ohio

"I just wanted to take this oppurtunity to thank all of the people that have posted messages to myself and my family. My husband was truly the greatest man that I have ever known. I have lost my best friend. And our children 2 yr old Marlee Freedom and our 3 month old son Myles have lost their father. My husband believed so much in what he was doing that even though he almost died in OIF 1 he chose to return for his tour in OIF 3. Thank you for all of your support and prayers for all of our troops everywhere. God Bless!"
Tiphany Eckert of Sylvania, OH

"Andy will forever be remembered. He was a friend and he is now a hero. He is now shining down on his wife and children. God Bless!"
Maya and Dan Denton of Toledo, OH / USA

"My extreme condolences to the family of Gary Eckert Jr. Me and my husband knew and worked with him at McDonald's in Waterville. To hear of his death saddens me. I will pray for his family and friends. He was a good person and had a wonderful personality. God bless him and his loved ones"
Jacquelynn and Peter Kapeluck of Dunbar, West Virginia

"Sergeant Eckert, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"Hello, I am the medic attached 1st PLT, A Co 3/69 AR BN based at PB Uvanni, Iraq. I was the medic that was first on scene when "Andy", as I'm told he preferred to be called, was brought to me. His convoy came flying through our front gate and I happend to be the closest and only medic that responded that day. Andy and I never spoke that day, but I feel that he and I became very close in our time together. I really thought that he would make it, and was shocked to hear that Andy had died. I wish that I could change things, I wish that I could instantly heal someone at will. I'm so very sorry for Andy's family and friends. My deepest sympathies."
PFC James Allen (A 3/69 Medic) of PB Uvanni, Iraq

"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; Love leaves a memory no one can steal. We are deeply sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
From the family of LCpl Branden P. Ramey, KIA 11/8/04"
Sandy of CA

"accept our deepest condolences to your family. Our son joey and four very fine men were also killed in samarra. There are not enough words to the sadness our family feels when we hear the manes of another fallen hero."
marlyon garmback maggie11250@aol.com of brook park,ohio

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Gary will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you ALWAYS. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"We are deeply sorry for your loss. America will forever honor your Hero.
The Courage, Honor, and Valor that your Hero showed will always be remembered.
We are grateful for the sacrifice that was made and we will NEVER FORGET.
God Bless your family and please know that you are not alone.
All of our prayers are with you."
Jennifer and SSGT Larry Mays of Massillon, Ohio


"To the Family and Friends of Gary A. Eckert Jr,

I never knew Andy, but I feel a certain sense of lose that soldier feels at the lose of a comrade. To say "Thank You" just does not seem enough for the ultimate sacrifice that has not only been made by Andy, by also by each and every one of you who loves him. Andy is a true hero that you all can be so proud of. It takes a special kind of man and a true soldier to overcome injuries and return to the proud duty of defending his country and it's ideals.

I can not pretend to understand the lose you all feel, but I have had each and every one of you in my deepest thoughts and prayers since I learned of Andy’s death on Sunday. I pray that god will comfort you and give you strength during this time of emptiness.

I offer my gratitude as a proud American. Secure in my way of life because of brave soldiers like Andy, who stand tall “against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. Andy, you will never be forgotten in the heart and mind of this thankful and appreciative citizen of this great land we call the United States of America. God Bless America and the Eckert Family.

SFC Tony R. Stephens
US Army (Retired)"
Tony R. Stephens of Hanover, MD

"Thank you Gary Eckert, Jr., you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To the family and friends of Sgt. Gary Eckert, Jr.:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless Gary for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Sgt. Gary Eckert, Jr.:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of Gary, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on