Captain John Richard Eckstein was born in Massillon, Ohio on 14 April 1928. He was graduated from Washington High School and entered the Navy in 1946. He selected for the Naval Aviation College Program in 1947. He attended John Carroll University until ordered to report for Flight Training. He was appointed a Midshipman in February 1951, received his wings in August 1950 and was commissioned an Ensign in February 1950. Captain Eckstein began his initial assignments to FASRON SEVEN in San Diego, Fighter Squadron ONE NINETY FOUR, and Composite Squadrons SEVEN and EIGHT. Shore Duty followed with assignments at the Naval Air Technical Training Centers in Memphis and Jacksonville, and Bureau of Aeronautics Representative duty at the SPARROW Missile Production Facility in Bristol, Tennessee. A tour of duty aboard USS LEYTE was followed by two years at the Naval Science Program at Monterey where Captain Eckstein received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1961. Reporting to VAW=11 in April 1961, he deployed as Assistant Officer in Charge Detachment DELTA in USS CORAL SEA and as Officer in Charge Detachment CHARLIE on USS KITTY HAWK, flying the E-1B TRACER. Following ashore duty at FAETUPAC as Avionics Maintenance Training Officer, he was reassigned to VAW-11, flying the E-2A HAWKEYE. In April 1967 he became the first Commanding Officer of VAW-113, deploying to Southeast Asia in USS CONSTELLATION. In February 1968 he reported to Commander Fleet Air San Diego as VAW Readiness Officer. He took command of RVAW-110 in January 1969 and when relieved in December of that year, he reported as Executive Officer, USS OKINAWA (LPH-3). Captain Eckstein has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal, four Air Medals, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Unit Citation, Philippine Presidential Unit Cition and various service medals. Captain Eckstein is married to the former Miss Jo Lind Benner of Memphis, Tennessee.
Lieutenant Daniel “FEY” McGourty, 35, died peacefully, after a three-year battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma, surrounded by family and friends in his Atlantic Beach home on February 12, 2019.
Daniel was born on September 5, 1983 in Nampa, Idaho. He is the beloved son to Ron and Celene Gay of Wallowa, Oregon where Dan later grew up and graduated high school. Daniel Enlisted in the United States Navy in 2003 and became an Aircrewman, Rescue Swimmer. After being accepted to an Officer Commissioning program, he graduated from Old Dominion University in 2011 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Additionally, Dan received his Wings of Gold in 2013 after completing Flight School and became an E2 Hawkeye Pilot. He married Alexandra Ulrich McGourty, the love of his life, who he met while deployed in Camp Buehring, Kuwait in 2007.
The Navy took the couple all over the world, from Guam, to the East Coast and to the West Coast, until they settled back in Atlantic Beach, Florida. Along the way, they added three beautiful children, Randall Emma McGourty (9), Molli Brown McGourty (7), and Gage Martell McGourty (1). Dan was a cherished son, hell of a friend, the greatest father, finest husband, and one damn good golfer and pilot!
A Military Memorial Service is scheduled for March 8, 2019 at 11am at Atlantic Beach Country Club, Atlantic Beach, Florida, with a Celebration of Life to follow later in the evening at Atlantic Beach Brewing Company at 6pm. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Dan’s life. In lieu of flowers, Dan has requested that people donate on his behalf to find a cure for Ewing’s Sarcoma, the devastating disease that took his life. Donations can be made at the following link: https://www.curesarcoma.org/daniel-mcgourty/.