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Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21 “Blackjacks”

Commander David “Houston” Eckardt

Executive Officer, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21

Photo By: 230609-N-XO554-1001
VIRIN: 230609-N-XO554-1001

A native of Los Angeles, California, Commander David “Houston” Eckardt graduated with distinction from the United States Naval Academy in 2007, earning a Bachelor of Science in Quantitative Economics. He earned an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management in 2009 and received his Wings of Gold when designated a Naval Aviator in February 2011. 

CDR Eckardt began his operational flying with the HSC-12 “World Famous Golden Falcons” in December 2011, completing an around the world deployment with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) TWO onboard USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72) in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. Upon return, he led the administrative effort to relocate the squadron to Atsugi, Japan to join CVW-5, where he completed four patrols onboard USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73). While underway in Seventh Fleet, he provided humanitarian assistance in the Philippines in support of OPERATION DAMAYAN following super typhoon Haiyan. 

For his first shore assignment, CDR Eckardt was assigned to the HSC-2 “Fleet Angels” from 2014-2016 as a Fleet Replacement Squadron Instructor Pilot serving in the Operations Department. CDR Eckardt then reported to CVW-1 staff in the Spring of 2016 where he served as Assistant Operations Officer, Helicopter Operations Officer, and Personnel Recovery Officer. While on staff, he completed pre-deployment workups with the USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN 75) Carrier Strike Group serving as CVW-1 lead planning officer for TRUMAN’s 2017 Tailored Ship’s Training Availability (TSTA). 

CDR Eckardt reported to the HSC-11 “Dragonslayers” as a Department Head in March 2018. He was named Officer in Charge (OIC) of the squadron’s inaugural vertical replenishment detachment onboard USNS ARCTIC (T-AOE 8) and deployed to the Sixth Fleet in support of TRUMAN’s historic 2018 Dynamic Force Employment. Later that year while serving as the squadron’s Administrative Department Head, he was also named OIC of HSC-11’s innovative overland search and rescue detachment to Andøya, Norway during NATO Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE 2018 providing strategic placement of two MH-60S alert helicopters north of the Arctic Circle.  In 2019, he completed a second set of pre-deployment workups with CVW-1 as HSC-11’s Maintenance Officer and redeployed onboard TRUMAN as the squadron’s Operations Officer supporting Central Command lines of effort from 2019-2020. 

Following his department head tour, CDR Eckardt served on the Joint Staff, J-5 Directorate where he supported the Chairman’s Global Campaign Plans and served on the Special Immigrant Visa Team during the Afghanistan retrograde efforts in 2021. During this tour, he completed JPME I through Air University’s Air Command and Staff College. 

CDR Eckardt has accumulated over 2,100 flight hours in rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft. His personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (individual action), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards), and various other campaign and unit awards. CDR Eckardt was the recipient of the 2013 Navy Marine Corps Association Peer Leadership Award as a Junior Officer, and he was named the CVW-1 Department Head of the Year in 2020.  


Commander Philip “Lurch” Pretzinger

Commanding Officer, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21

Commander David “Houston” Eckardt

Executive Officer, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21

Command Master Chief Drew Worth

Command Master Chief, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21

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