Col. Eckstein hangs up combat boots

Published 10:47 am Wednesday, March 4, 2015

RETIRING: Col. Jeffrey R. Eckstein speaks of the importance of family and mentors during his retirement ceremony Monday at ERDC.

RETIRING: Col. Jeffrey R. Eckstein speaks of the importance of family and mentors during his retirement ceremony Monday at ERDC.

After 30 years in the U.S. Army Col. Jeffrey R. Eckstein decided it was time to put away the combat boots and put on a pair of golf cleats.
The retirement ceremony for the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center commander was full of personal anecdotes and a recap of Eckstein’s military career. Commander for the Mississippi Valley Division Brig. Gen. Michael C. Wehr officiated Eckstein’s retirement ceremony Monday. Ironically Eckstein became the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg District, during a change-of-command ceremony Dec. 15, 2009 replacing then Col. Michael C. Wehr.
Adrienne Eckstein, a former Lt. Col., was presented with the Department of the Army Certificate of Appreciation for Patriotic Service and the Department of the Army Certificate of Appreciation.
After Eckstein was presented with the Silver de Fluery medal and the Legion of Merit, in addition to his official retirement items he took the podium to address the approximately 100 people in attendance. Eckstein’s wife, three children and other family members were also present.
“I want to begin by thanking everyone for what we’ve accomplished in our lives and family. In a 30 year career there a lot of people who help guide you,” Eckstein said. “I did this once before at a change of command thanking everyone and got all the way to the end and forgot my wife.”
“So first up thank you very much for our 25 years of marriage and it was truly a team effort,” he said. “At one point they were going to send me to Korea and her to Japan and that would be close enough. I said no way, but we always ended up together.”
Eckstein and his wife Adrienne managed to raise a family while both serving on active duty. Over the years the Ecksteins have traveled with their three children to all seven continents.
Entering active duty in May 1985 following his graduation from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Eckstein’s career took him all over the world with the final two assignments in Vicksburg — first at the Vicksburg District, and then at ERDC.
Eckstein plans to remain in Vicksburg and be an advocate for ERDC and its core mission. He also pledged to help his father-in-law with whatever projects need to be done and to find time to let the game of golf torment him.

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