Eckhardt, Suzanne (Sue), SFC

Military Intelligence (Enlisted)
 
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Current Service Status
USA Retired
Current/Last Rank
Sergeant First Class
Current/Last Service Branch
Military Intelligence
Current/Last Primary MOS
98G40-Cryptological Communications Interceptor/Locator
Current/Last MOS Group
Military Intelligence (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1992-1993, 98G10, 303rd Military Intelligence Battalion
Previously Held MOS
98G10-Voice Interceptor
98G10-Cryptological Communications Interceptor/Locator
Service Years
1971 - 1993
Foreign Language(s)
German
Russian

Sergeant First Class


Seven Service Stripes



 Ribbon Bar


Driver-W
Rifle

 

 Official Badges 

US Army Retired (Pre-2007)


 Unofficial Badges 




 Military Association Memberships
Post 42Chapter 74
  1980, American Legion, Post 42 (Member) (Gatesville, Texas) [Verified]3 - Chap. Page
  2013, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Chapter 74 (Member) (Gatesville, Texas) - Chap. Page


 Additional Information
What are you doing now:
Semi-retired. 
   
Other Comments:
I know my units and dates are not right. I'll fix them eventually. Just not right this minute! If anyone can help me remember what patches and insignia I wore while at any of the units I've listed, I would greatly appreciate it!
   
 Countries Deployed To or Visited

 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1972, Basic Training (Fort McClellan, AL), D/41
  1972, WAC Basic Training (Fort McClellan, AL), D/41
 Unit Assignments
Army Language School (Staff) Presidio of Monterey, CA/Defense Language Institute West (Staff)330th Army Security Agency CompanyNational Security Agency (NSA)103rd Military Intelligence Battalion
303rd Military Intelligence Battalion
  1972-1972, Army Language School (Staff) Presidio of Monterey, CA/Defense Language Institute West (Staff)
  1973-1973, 98G10, USAF Security Service Course
  1973-1973, 98G10, Army Security Agency Field Station Augsburg (ASAFS)
  1973-1975, 98G10, Army Security Agency Field Station Augsburg (ASAFS)
  1975-1976, 98G10, Army Language School (Staff) Presidio of Monterey, CA/Defense Language Institute West (Staff)
  1976-1978, 98G10, 330th Army Security Agency Company
  1980-1981, 98G10, Army Language School (Staff) Presidio of Monterey, CA/Defense Language Institute West (Staff)
  1981-1984, 98G10, 330th Army Security Agency Company
  1984-1989, 98G10, National Security Agency (NSA)
  1984-1989, 98G10, 704th Military Intelligence Brigade/HHC
  1989-1992, 98G10, 103rd Military Intelligence Battalion/HHC
  1992-1993, 98G10, 303rd Military Intelligence Battalion
 Military Association Memberships
Post 42Chapter 74
  1980, American Legion, Post 42 (Member) (Gatesville, Texas) [Verified]3 - Chap. Page
  2013, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Chapter 74 (Member) (Gatesville, Texas) - Chap. Page

 Photo Album   (More...


Reflections on SFC Eckhardt's US Army Service
 
 Reflections On My Service
 
PLEASE DESCRIBE WHO OR WHAT INFLUENCED YOUR DECISION TO JOIN THE ARMY?
For years as I was growing up I always thought and talked about joining the Navy. When the time came, I joined the Army. I'm not sure exactly why, but the Vietnam War was big in the news and so was the Army.
WHETHER YOU WERE IN THE SERVICE FOR SEVERAL YEARS OR AS A CAREER, PLEASE DESCRIBE THE DIRECTION OR PATH YOU TOOK. WHAT WAS YOUR REASON FOR LEAVING?
When I enlisted I was interested in law enforcement, but Army Military Police wasn't accepting women at that time. The Army Security Agency had just opened its ranks to women, and I guess the recruiters were sort of pushing that. I and several of my fellow female enlistees were offered positions as Analysts or Linguists. Since I already had some experience learning German, and since that was one of the options, I enlisted to be a German translator. This sort of morphed into becoming an "intercept operator."

My first reenlistment was due to being offered a large bonus. At that time I decided to switch to Russian.

I spent the remainder of my career as a Russian linguist. I had several assignments in both tactical and non-tactical units. My most interesting was the four years I spent at the National Security Agency.
IF YOU PARTICIPATED IN ANY MILITARY OPERATIONS, INCLUDING COMBAT, HUMANITARIAN AND PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH WERE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TO YOU AND, IF LIFE-CHANGING, IN WHAT WAY.
I was in the Army, stationed in Germany with the 103d Military Intelligence Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, during the first Gulf War. While several 3ID units were sent to Kuwait, ours was not one of them.

At the time I didn't mind that a bit, but as time goes on, I regret not having that experience. Especially since the "war" only lasted a few days!
OF ALL YOUR DUTY STATIONS OR ASSIGNMENTS, WHICH ONE DO YOU HAVE FONDEST MEMORIES OF AND WHY? WHICH ONE WAS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
I was able to be assigned at the Presidio of Monterey for language school three times; once for Basic German, once for Basic Russian, and once for Intermediate Russian. I loved being in California so close to the ocean. And my mom only lived about 80 miles north of there, so I could go home just about whenever I wanted.

My least favorite unit was the 103d MI Battalion because of how I was treated there. I was told by friends that my commander and my unit resented that I was being assigned as a platoon sergeant, replacing a Staff Sergeant they admired and respected, just because I was a Sergeant First Class, and that they were "out to get me." I had to believe this was true after being treated badly and not being given a chance to adapt to my first tactical unit. This resulted in my being officially relieved of duty, which ended any chance I'd had of ever being promoted again.

(Sorry for the dirty laundry, but it's part of my history.)
FROM YOUR ENTIRE SERVICE, INCLUDING COMBAT, DESCRIBE THE PERSONAL MEMORIES WHICH HAVE IMPACTED YOU MOST?
Because I was one of the very first women in the Army Security Agency, and because I was promoted on schedule, I was often the "senior ranking" enlisted female that most people had ever seen. That was always fun.

Unfortunately, while most people were happy to have women serving, there were a lot of men of many ranks who didn't want us around.

Both of these circumstances were interesting experiences.
OF ALL THE MEDALS, AWARDS, FORMAL PRESENTATIONS AND QUALIFICATION BADGES YOU RECEIVED, OR ANY OTHER MEMORABILIA, PLEASE DESCRIBE THOSE WHICH ARE THE MOST MEANINGFUL TO YOU AND WHY?
It was well known that it was difficult to earn an end-of-tour award/medal while stationed at the National Security Agency. If you received anything it was usually only going to be a Joint Service Commendation Medal (JSCM as opposed to an Army Commendation Medal because the NSA was a multi-service agency).

When I left I was awarded the Defense Meritorious Service Medal because of some above-and-beyond things I did there. (Can't go into detail due to security.) I was, and still am, extremely proud of that award.
WHICH INDIVIDUAL(S) FROM YOUR TIME IN THE MILITARY STAND OUT AS HAVING THE MOST POSITIVE IMPACT ON YOU AND WHY?
I didn't realize it at the time, but there was one First Sergeant who was becoming a mentor to me. He was helping me to get the experience and training I would need to advance. Unfortunately, he was replaced prematurely, and his replacement didn't care about my future at all. He was the opposite of a mentor.

I often wonder how my career would have been different had that First Sergeant not been replaced.
CAN YOU RECOUNT A PARTICULAR INCIDENT FROM YOUR SERVICE WHICH MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN FUNNY AT THE TIME, BUT STILL MAKES YOU LAUGH?
After Basic Training I went to the Presidio of Monterey for German language training. Women were still "WACs" then, and that's how we were referred to. Since there were only a few of us there at that time, we were in a unit consisting of both men and women. One afternoon the Company Commander called a meeting the "day room." We all were there - men and women - when he asked for volunteers to "strip and lay wax on the second floor." You can imagine how everyone laughed!
WHAT PROFESSION DID YOU FOLLOW AFTER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW? IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY SERVING, WHAT IS YOUR PRESENT OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY?
After I retired I had the opportunity to attend a two-year college where I received an Associate's Degree in Advertising & Graphic Design.

For a short time, I was self-employed as a Website Designer.

Due to some medical problems, I am currently not working.
WHAT MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS ARE YOU A MEMBER OF, IF ANY? WHAT SPECIFIC BENEFITS DO YOU DERIVE FROM YOUR MEMBERSHIPS?
I am a Paid Up For Life member of the American Legion and I'm in the process of becoming a life member of the Disabled American Veterans.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS SERVING IN THE MILITARY INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU HAVE APPROACHED YOUR LIFE AND YOUR CAREER? WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT YOUR TIME IN THE SERVICE?
I don't have an answer for this at this time. Maybe I'll think about it and come back to post an answer later.
BASED ON YOUR OWN EXPERIENCES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE WHO HAVE RECENTLY JOINED THE ARMY?
This is another question I need to think about a little bit and answer later.
IN WHAT WAYS HAS TOGETHERWESERVED.COM HELPED YOU REMEMBER YOUR MILITARY SERVICE AND THE FRIENDS YOU SERVED WITH.
SFC Suzanne (Sue) Eckhardt - In what ways has TogetherWeServed.com helped you remember your military service and the friends you served with.
Joining has sort of forced me to remember my units, awards, etc. This isn't a bad thing!! It's just that, if not for TWS, I would probably procrastinate this task, possibly putting it off altogether.

It's also nice to connect with old friends. I only wish more of them would sign up.

DS 3/27/18

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