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Eckel honored for military service
Technical Sgt. Brandon Thomas Eckel leads the Pledge of Allegiance at the Warren County Commission meeting in December. - photo by Bethany Porter

Technical Sgt. Brandon Thomas Eckel was invited to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the Warren County Commission meeting this month and he has quite an impressive background.

Eckel joined the United States Marine Corps in September of 2001 following the events of 9/11. The attacks prompted Eckel to volunteer to ship out for Marine Corps basic training at Paris Island, S.C.

He went through the School of Infantry and Advanced War Fighting and was selected to work as a Marine Special Operation member. Eckel provided low-profile protection and transportation of High Value Intelligence Agency personnel throughout the Operation Iraqi Freedom Campaign.

When Eckel’s three-man team experienced a life-altering encounter with Iraqi insurgents in July of 2004, he realized he relied on strength and protection that went deeper than his close team knew about. He started searching for a deeper understanding of the situations that were transpiring around him.

This is where his desire to be more involved with ministry began. He also served as Marine Corps Reserve Infantryman supporting the Al Anbar Campaign specializing in security operations over many urban environments from 2002 until he transitioned from the Marine Corps to the United States Air Force in 2008.

When Eckel returned from his battles overseas, he found himself looking for help coping with his mental and emotional stress that came with the experiences he faced during war. He looked for a local church to help him cope. Eckel quickly found the love of ministry and his bride-to-be at the same local church. He became immersed in ministry and gravitated toward the youth.

Quickly after Eckel and Cassandra Paris were married, they decided to adopt a child. Shortly after the adoption was finalized, they found out they were expecting a child. In 18 months, they turned into a family of four

and at the time they did not know that three more babies and two young adults would become a part of their family in the following years.

Eckel’s military service continued with the transition to the Air National Guard where he served at a C-130 Aerospace Ground Equipment Maintainer before he went back to the Special Ops arena. He currently serves to this day as a Geospatial Targeting Analyst with the 236th Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Squadron.

Eckel also competes as one of only three Elite Airmen on the National Guard Endurance Team, as well as serving his local community as a children’s youth minister, deacon, and owner of multiple small businesses. In addition, he is a volunteer on the National Guard Health and Wellness Council, world class obstacle course racer with multiple podium wins, national level CrossFit athlete, ambassador for the Operation of Enduring Warrior Adaptive Athlete Program, and ambassador for Operation Stand Down Equipping, Engaging and Empowering Veterans.

Eckel was presented a plaque by commissioner Blaine Wilcher at the Warren County Commission meeting reading “In Appreciation of Your Service to Our Country.”