J. Arlen Ecker
West Point, 1989
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by Luke Lozier, C-2 '89 on January 27, 2010:
Though I knew Arlen casually, and only in path-crossing during most of our time at West Point, he meant the world to me when I was a scared, 17 y/o New Cadet on the M16 rifle qualifying range during Beast Barracks. Being paired up with Arlen truly helped me through the struggle to get sighted in and earn the basic marksman qual amidst the usual dosage of hazing that us smacks had to endure.
I actually don't recall whether or not Arlen was prior service or not, but I absolutely remember thinking that he was definitely squared away for the M16 stuff. My recollection is that he easily cruised toward Expert and kindly gave of himself at the same time to help me work through the 8 steps for getting a good shot off and then repeating enough of them to get the basic qualification required to not get recycled - or worse! Leaving that range as a Marksman - barely - was a relief and lifelong debt to New Cadet Ecker.
While I was convinced that this day would be the beginning of the end for my nascent West Point opportunity, Arlen breathed enough confidence and can-do into me that I somehow scraped by. Whenever I crossed paths with Arlen during the subsequent four years of our time together along the Hudson, I gave my silent thanks for all that he gave to me during my time of rifle-range need.
As a father of three young daughters (13, 10 & 6), I now offer my prayers, consolation and hope for those who Arlen leaves behind. May you all have, hold and relive many fond memories of your time with this soldier, friend and family man. May he rest in peace and be honored for time immemorial.
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