Robert Eckmann

Story and photos by James Riggs

Robert Eckmann first came to St. Ignatius Montana in 2007, during the time between his first and second tour with the U.S Marine Corps in Iraq. He came to St. Ignatius following his friend Jessie Courville, whom he had med while serving in Iraq. There he met his future girlfriend Kim Wilkinson and joined the Mission Valley Honor Guard headed by Courville’s father, J.C. Eckmann fell in love with the mountains and couldn’t wait to get back.

After his break in Montana Eckmann returned to Hawaii where he was stationed. He soon there after started a relationship with Wilkinson eventually having her come to Hawaii to spend time with him before he re-deployed. Robert deployed in August of 2008 and shortly thereafter found out Wilkinson was pregnant.

Following the end of his second Iraqi tour Eckmann moved to nearby Missoula to study at the University of Montana and started studying history and creative writing, but his thoughts were in St. Ignatius. So in the spring of 2010 Eckmann moved his mom and himself to St. Ignatius, where he could be a father and a friend.

In St. Ignatius Eckmann’s life is multifaceted being a veteran serving in the Honor Guard in one moment and a father the next to his 3-year-old son Wyatt. In another moment a student and later that night a devoted war aficionado, a boyfriend by day and a Dungeons and Dragons player by night. There is no simple way to describe Robert Eckmann.