Jocks to GIs: Ricky Rudd


From: Ricky Rudd
Sent: Saturday, April 5, 2003 5:16 PM
To: Eck, David AFOSI FOL 10
Subject: RE: Hello from the war


I just saw your second e-mail. You were right. We are at Talladega. We qualified yesterday and that didn't go too well for us. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but for some reason the oil didn't come up to the temperature it should have and we couldn't get the car to go as fast as it had in practice. We've got a good car though and we'll be all right for the race.

I don't know when ESPN will put up our first e-mails, but I wanted to tell you about the photo they have of me. We sent them a shot that was taken a few months ago at Nellis Air Force base. I got into the cockpit of one of the Thunderbirds while I was there for a photo shoot and the Air Force photographer took some pictures and we sent one of those. What a neat plane your F-16 is. That same day I also got to see the new F/A-22. Eddie and Len Wood and I were able to walk around it and go up to the cockpit. It sure was impressive. We met the pilot and several of the maintainers for the plane.

Our association with the Air Force is great. I've been able to meet a lot of Air Force men and women all over the country. And we've had a chance to go to several bases and the Pentagon. I've had my pilot's license for about 20 years so I'm really interested in the planes and how they are prepared.

How are things where you are? Looks like its getting hot in more ways than one. The news says that you guys are now in Baghdad. You must be busy. Like I said in my first note, we are all watching the war news and thinking about all of you all the time.


From: Ricky Rudd
Sent: Friday, April 4, 2003 9:03 PM
To: Eck, David AFOSI FOL 10
Subject: RE: Hello from David Eck


It was good hearing from you by e-mail. This has been a strange circumstance that got us together. A contact from ESPN ran the concept by me the other day and it didn't take me but a few seconds to decide that this would be pretty cool.

The first thing we need to do is get you back to the States so we can get you to another Winston Cup race. July 2001 is way too long a wait between races.

I'm sure the main thing on your mind is to clean up the immediate business at hand and get back to your family safely.

When we are at the races the televisions in the garage area are all tuned in to the war. You have all of the racing community's support and utmost respect for the brave job all of the men and women of our Armed Services are performing.

Good luck and I look forward to hearing from you again soon.


From: Eck, David AFOSI FOL 10
Sent: Friday, April 4, 2003 2:30 PM
To: Ricky Rudd
Subject: Hello from the war

Ricky Rudd,

How are things at the track? Things are going smoothly here. It seems Baghdad will soon fall.

I guess you are at Talladega getting ready for Sunday. I used to live 7 miles from the track when I was going to college, and I never missed a race. It is by far my favorite track. There is nothing like seeing 43 cars bumper to bumper at nearly 200 mph. I can only imagine the excitement from behind the wheel. I will be rooting for you (Tape delayed of course) and wishing you luck in avoiding the "Big one". How did you do at Texas Motor Speedway?

Thank you and all the rest of the men and women for your support. We need it, and without America's patriotism, there isn't much to fight for. So again thank you for being there for us.

SA David Eck

From: Eck, David AFOSI FOL 10
Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2003 2:46 PM
To: Ricky Rudd
Subject: Hello from David Eck

Mr. Rudd,

I must say it is a privilege to meet you this way. I was very surprised to hear back from ESPN telling me I would be corresponding with one of the all time greatest drivers. I have been following the sport since the first race I attended (1978 Diehard 500, Talladega) when I was 8 years old, and you have always been one of my favorites.

I am SA David Eck with the USAF out of Hurlburt Field, FL (just east of Pensacola). Hurlburt Field is home to the Air Force Special Operations Command. I work with the Air Force Office Of Special Investigations. I left behind my wife of 6 years and my 3 year old daughter Emily. It is really tough on them but they support what I'm doing 100%, and my wife Jennifer knows why we are doing this now. It's going to be hard knowing I will miss my daughter's 4th birthday, and our 7th wedding anniversary, but my family understands that freedom from terror is worth 6 months of sacrifice. You can understand where I'm coming from (missing out on family stuff) with your grueling schedule.

I am presently deployed to a classified area which I cannot reveal at this time, I'll just say it's pretty close to you know where. I have been in this area just over one months (this time) and I am having Winston Cup withdrawals. My Brother is supposed to be taping the races and sending them, but I have not received them yet. He is spending the week at Texas Motor Speedway.

How did you do this weekend? Congrats on your 4th place at Bristol. Sounds like you got a great team this year. If I'm back in the US late this summer, I hope I can get to a race and cheer you on from the stands. I have not been to a race since the July 2001 Pepsi 400. This Job has really cut into my race attendance.

Let me know if you want to know about things that are going on over here. I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to write me. It will make this deployment that much more exciting. Thank you for supporting the troops!

David Eck, Special Agent, USAF Operation Iraqi Freedom