A Security Assistance Training Management Organization Soldier has been selected to represent the U.S Army Security Assistance Command in the 2023 Army Materiel Command Best Warrior competition.
And if his passion for the U.S. Army has anything to do with it, Sgt. 1st Class Ean T. Eicher has a pretty good chance of winning.
Eicher joined the Army in 2003 from the Beaumont Recruiting Station in Beaumont (Texas), a coastal city bordering southwest Louisiana. He spent 11 years as an infantry, kicking off his service at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, followed by a drill sergeant assignment at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and a stint at Fort Hood, Texas.
But where he served isn’t as noteworthy as why he decided to join.
“The first reason is clear cut and dry. I was a junior in high school when 9/11 happened, and seeing that just put a lot of things into perspective for me as a human being,” said Eicher, who would join two years later. “I had never seen anything like that, and I had this surge of anger and confusion, trying to understand why we were attacked in such a vicious and unprovoked way.”
Fast forward four months, and arguably one of the best war films ever made is released to an American public brimming with a post 9/11 patriotism and a burning desire to see terrorists brought to justice.
“That was what really hit the nail on the head for me. I remember watching ‘Black Hawk Down’ in the movie theatre with my father, and I was hooked,” said Eicher. “I saw that story and knew that the Army is what I was called to do.”
He joined months later and spent the next decade serving before taking a four-year break in service. Eicher said he had been successful in the Army and wanted to see if he could achieve success in the civilian sector. From 2014 to 2018, he worked for Google, serving as team lead on a project to improve location accuracy on Google Maps. Oddly enough, he said 85 percent of his Google team were military veterans.
Eicher described his employment at Google, considered one of the most powerful companies in the world, extraordinary and eye-opening. But it didn’t satisfy his gut urge to serve. He said there’s nothing that compares to the strong bonds and shared experiences, discipline and camaraderie of a military unit.
“Working for Google really made me miss something. I missed the Army as a whole and I had this sense of wanting to finish what I started when I joined,” explained Eicher. “Everything great that has ever happened to me has happened in the Army, and I really wanted to finish my time out to give back as much as I could to an organization that had treated me so well.”
He rejoined as a14E, a PATRIOT fire control enhanced operator, responsible for operating and maintaining the PATRIOT missile system. His air defense expertise, critical to a military’s aerial dominance, segued into his current position at SATMO, where he supports security assistance teams deployed to partner nations all over the globe.
Eicher said he’s learned a lot about himself and other’s during his military service, but nothing more important than outlook. “Life, and everything in it, is what you make of it. Every day you are literally given a fresh start so steer it in the direction you want it to go. You will be amazed at the end, how well you were able to live your life.”
This outlook is not just Army inspired. It comes from a loving and supportive upbringing.
“My father has influenced not only my Army career but my life,” said Eicher. “He has been my biggest supporter and my biggest fan since birth. He is paramount in the decisions I make to this day, and he seems to have an answer to any question I have, which is mind blowing to me.”
And although Eicher said his pro-military dad never served, he settled into the Army lingo and lifestyle just as easily as his son. Eicher said they talk as easily as two seasoned battle buddies.
“I know I was blessed to have two parents that gave myself and my sister every chance to achieve success,” he said. “My whole family support system is amazing and has always been that way. Being raised in a southern household, we were taught the importance of manners and morals and treating everyone with common courtesy and decency.
“Basically, just being a decent human to anyone and everyone you come into contact with is what I have carried over to my life as an adult and my life in the Army,” said Eicher.
Now he hopes that solid foundation and his passion for all things Army will give him what he needs to excel during AMC’s Best Warrior Competition, set for late July at Fort Rucker, Alabama.
SATMO Soldiers have won the last two years, but Eicher said he’s not feeling the pressure. “I’m not worried. I’m going up against myself, and I’ll give it all I’ve got.”
Since 1974, SATMO teams have delivered continuous 24/7/365 embedded presence worldwide with allies and partners in support of Geographic Combatant Command theater strategies. A subordinate organization of the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command (USASAC), SATMO provides advanced and specialized training, professional military education, and tactical level expertise. SATMO and USASAC missions are vital to achieving U.S. national security objectives and stability in key locations throughout the world.