The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets will conduct a Pylon Dedication Ceremony at 3 p.m. April 1 at the War Memorial. 

The engraving of one additional veterans’ name, Lt. j.g. Zachary R. Eckhart, U.S. Navy, on the Ut Prosim pylon will be dedicated. Eckhart’s family will be guests and all university employees, students, alumni, friends, and veterans are encouraged and welcome to attend.

Eckhart, a 2007 graduate of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets and a 2008 graduate of Virginia Tech, was killed April 12, 2010, in the crash of his T-39 training aircraft in Georgia. He was 25 years old.

Eckhart was from Orefield, Pa., and graduated from Northwestern Lehigh High School in 2003. During his time in the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, Eckhart was a member of the regimental band, the Highty-Tighties, and served as the Third Battalion Academics Officer for the spring semester of his senior year.

Eckhart earned a degree in aerospace engineering from the College of Engineering and the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Rice Center for Leader Development's minor in leadership studies. Eckhart is survived by his wife, the former Sarah LaMotte, who earned a degree in history and a minor in Russian from Virginia Tech's College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences in 2007.

The regiment will form up on Drillfield Road and on the Alumni Mall facing the War Memorial. As part of the ceremony, the Gregory Guard, the corps precision rifle drill team, will perform a rifle salute firing three volleys. The Color Guard will present the colors, the Highty-Tighties will play, and a bugler will perform Echo Taps.

In addition, the Commandant of Cadets Maj. Gen. Jerrold P. Allen, U.S. Air Force retired; University President Charles W. Steger; and the Vice President for Alumni Relations Tom Tillar will speak and make presentations to the Eckhart family.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the corps will march back to the Upper Quad and will hold a formal retreat ceremony at the flag pole. The regiment will be formed between Lane, Brodie, and Rasche Halls. The Color Guard will lower the flag, Skipper, the corps cannon, will fire, and the Highty-Tighties will play.

The Pylons are a representation of Virginia Tech’s values. The values engraved on the eight pylons are, from left to right: Brotherhood, Honor, Leadership, Sacrifice, Service, Loyalty, Duty, and Ut Prosim. The Pylons are etched with the names of every Virginia Tech student and graduate who has died defending our nation’s freedom beginning with those lost during World War I.  Eckhart will be the 426th name added to the Pylons. At the War Memorial’s center, the cenotaph displays the names of Virginia Tech’s seven Congressional Medal of Honor recipients.

Including Eckhart, Virginia Tech has now lost nine former students who were killed during operations after the Sept. 11 attack on the American homeland. Our fallen and the dates of their deaths are

  • Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Class of 2001 alumnus 2nd Lt. Jeffrey J. Kaylor, U.S. Army, April 2003;
  • Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Class of 2001 alumnus 1st Lt. Timothy E. Price, U.S. Army, September 2004;
  • Virginia Tech Class of 2006 member Spc. Nicholas C. Mason, U.S. Army, December 2004 while on a military leave of absence from the university;
  • Virginia Tech Class of 1995 member Staff Sgt. Nathaniel J. Nyren, U.S. Army, December 2004;
  • Virginia Tech Class of 2002 alumnus Cpl. Christopher L. Weaver, U.S. Marine Corps, January 2005;
  • Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Class of 2001 alumnus Lt. Nick Brantley, U.S. Navy, September 2005;
  • Virginia Tech Class of 2003 alumnus Staff Sgt. Jesse Clowers, U.S. Army, August 2007;
  • Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Class of 2001 alumnus Capt. David Seth Mitchell, U.S. Marine Corps, October 2009; and
  • Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets Class of 2007 alumnus Lt. j.g. Zachary R. Eckhart, U.S. Navy, April 2010.

Free parking is available in Perry Street Lot 1, 3, 4, and 6 near Prices Fork Road, around the Drillfield, and on the Alumni Mall with a visitor’s pass. Parking is also available in the Squires Lot, located at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Street with a visitor’s pass. Parking meters within the Squires Lot will need to be paid. A visitor’s pass may be obtained Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Visitor Information Center, located on Southgate Drive. Find more parking information online or call (540) 231-3200.

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