Rear Adm. Eccles was born on Johnson Air Force base in Japan and raised in Wallingford, Conn. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981.
Eccles served at sea aboard USS Richard B. Russell (SSN 687) and USS Gurnard (SSN 662). As an engineering duty officer, he held positions at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, in the Navy’s Deep Submergence Systems Program, and he had two tours in the Virginia Class Submarine Program, directing design and construction. He was executive assistant to the Commander, Naval Sea Systems (NAVSEA) Command.
Eccles was Seawolf program manager through the delivery of USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23), where his team was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation, then program manager for Advanced Undersea Systems, responsible for research and development submarines, submarine escape and rescue systems, and atmospheric diving systems. As a commander, he was program manager for the design and construction of the unmanned autonomous submarine, Cutthroat (LSV 2).
Eccles’ previous flag officer assignments included deputy commander for Undersea Warfare and Undersea Technology in NAVSEA, and commander of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, before becoming NAVSEA’s Chief Engineer in September 2008.
In 2010, Eccles led the US technical team supporting the Republic of Korea joint international investigation into the loss of the warship Cheonan. Also in 2010, he was appointed to the National Academy of Engineering committee examining the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Eccles’ education includes four degrees from MIT including a bachelor's in Electrical Engineering, a master's in Mechanical Engineering, the professional degree of Naval Engineer, and a master’s in Management of Technology from MIT’s Sloan School. He serves on the Visiting Committee in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. He is a graduate of the Naval War College, the Defense Systems Management College, and the foreign policy program Seminar XXI, and was elected to the Society of Sigma Xi. He is qualified in submarines, and as a deep sea diver and salvage officer. His decorations include the Legion of Merit (3), National Intelligence Exceptional Achievement Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (4), and other individual and unit awards.