Following in his Father's Boots
May 29, 2012
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Following in your parents footsteps is not all that uncommon. But to step into your father's combat boots while America has been at war for more than 10 years can be a different story all together. That is exactly what Alexander Eck did. Next summer he will follow his father's career path to Fort Benning, Ga., to become an Infantryman.
"Being an Infantryman really allows me to do what I want to do. There's no other job like it out there," said the younger Eck, a junior at Bayport High School in Green Bay. Eck enlisted as an Infantryman and will report for training in July 2013 through a program that allows upcoming seniors to enlist as long as they will graduate from high school and depart for Basic Combat Training within 14 months.
While in the Future Soldier Training Program (FSTP), Eck will train on basic military skills such as the 24-hour clock, the rank structure, the phonetic alphabet and physical training. His time in the FSTP is meant to help him prepare for Basic Combat Training. Eck said he is a really hands-on type of person and didn't want to spend his life behind a desk.
"I don't know what made him decide to join all of a sudden," said Gene Eck, who enlisted in the Army as an Infantryman, and served as a recruiter in the very office Alexander completed his enlistment paperwork. Now sitting on the other side of the desk, the elder Eck has the same apprehensions as every other parent whose child said they want to join the Army.
"It makes me proud that he is joining, but I didn't want him to go Infantry," the elder Eck stated. But he admitted the decision was all up to Alexander. Dad gave him guidance but allowed his son to make the final decision.
"It's what I want to do. Infantry really allows me to do what I want to do," Alexander said. Being able to travel and see the world along with the possibility to make the Army a career are very important to him. Alexander said the fact that the Army would help pay for his future education was a big bonus. He learned from his father the importance of a college education and is happy to be able to get that education doing something he is excited about. For Alexander, the time was just right to join the Army. He will use the next 14 months to prepare for the challenge ahead.