FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- With more than 33 years of service to the nation, one veteran who continues to serve his country through various military organizations joined the ranks of one of Aviation's most prestigious organizations.

Retired CW5 Jerry L. Dillard became the 19th member of Order of the Eagle Rising Society as he was inducted into the organization during a ceremony at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum July 12.

Dillard's years of service, along with the other members, combine for a total of nearly 650 years of dedicated service, according to Col. Garry L. Thompson, U.S. Army Warrant Officer Career College commandant, who presided over the ceremony.

"Today, we add Mr. Dillard's 33 years of dedicated service, including his continued loyalty and contributions to the warrant officer cohort," said the commandant during the ceremony. "It is now your time to take your place as one of what only 19 Americans have done.

"You are a sterling example of what all of us should strive to be, and an expressive reminder of the selfless service that should live within us all," he continued. "We are grateful for you, what you've done and what you continue to do for your community."

Dillard said he was humbled to be counted among such honorable men and women, and that throughout his career his goal was to serve his Soldiers and their families.

"I'm extremely proud to have been able to serve as a warrant officer and humbled to be recognized by my peers," he said. "My philosophy was very simple. I strove to care for Soldiers and their families, take care of my subordinates, give them full credit for their accomplishments while underwriting their mistakes.

"I wanted to earn their trust, respect and loyalty, as well as that of my superiors, and to be a valuable member of the team and to empower those around me," he continued. "My hope was to have been a positive effect on our Army, our Soldiers and our warrant officer corps."

Dillard entered military service in 1973, and, after attending basic training and advanced individual training, was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Throughout his military career, he's served across multiple continents in various leadership positions, culminating his more than 33-year career as the assistant executive officer and second warrant officer adviser to the chief of staff of the Army.

To become an inductee into the Eagle Rising Society, Dillard had to demonstrate the highest standards of integrity and moral character throughout his career, as well as display outstanding professional competence while serving within the U.S. Army warrant officer community, and retired CW5 Ronald B. Kaita, Military Officers Association of America ambassador, believes the selectee did just that.

"Your selection for this year's induction comes as no surprise," said Kaita. "Your support to our Soldiers, and especially the warrant officer cohort, is well known throughout the United States Army.

"Without question, you make things happen," he continued. "To the warrant officer cohort, you've moved mountains. The Military Officer's Association of America has its own motto: 'Never stop serving.' You definitely exemplify this commitment to service to our Army and those who proudly serve."