CLEVELAND — An Ohio native and a local reverend, who is also a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy, Chaplain Corps and currently serving as the reserve chaplain for the 9th Coast Guard District, is deploying to Afghanistan for one year.
Chaplain Eckert is being recalled to active duty for an operational mobilization as leader, Mobile Team, Navy Central Command Forward Afghanistan.
Eckert's military rank is Lt. Cmdr. and his previous military stops include Officer Indoctrination School and Naval Chaplaincy School in Newport, R.I., he reported for sea duty as staff chaplain aboard the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) homeported in San Diego, serving two deployments (Arabian Gulf in 2007 and the Western Pacific in 2008). He then reported for shore duty as command chaplain for Navy Information Operations Command—Maryland/National Security Agency/Central Security Services at Fort Meade, Md. Eckert has been awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation and Achievement medals while on active duty.
Born in Cleveland, Eckert is an ordained minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and has been serving as pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Brooklyn, Ohio. He was first ordained in 1986 and has served five other congregations in Ohio. His previous congregations were vicar, Our Savior, Dayton; pastor, Gloria Dei, Cleveland; senior pastor, Grace, Cleveland Heights; senior pastor, Parma Evangelical; interim pastor, Reformation, Eastlake. He also served as a chaplain intern at Riverside Methodist Hospital, in Columbus, Ohio, and chaplain resident at the Cleveland Clinic Hospital.
Eckert and his wife Dana have been married for 31 years and reside in Sagamore Hills, Ohio. Dana is employed with the Kichler Lighting Company in Independence. They are parents of two grown children: daughter Emily is a middle school English teacher serving public schools in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Ohio, son Evan is a U.S. Army veteran, and U.S. Navy reservist, and is enrolled at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy.