FORT RUCKER, Ala. (February 26, 2019) - The U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center hosted a retirement ceremony for the Army's top enlisted adviser on safety and occupational health issues on Feb. 26 at the United States Army Aviation Museum.

Command Sgt. Maj. Ernest D. Bowen Jr. is set to retire after nearly 33 years of service in the U.S. Army. An Ohio native, Bowen began his career in July 1986 as an infantryman and graduated Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning, Georgia. Since then, he has served in every key leadership position in the Infantry, from team leader to command sergeant major.

"Over the past 30 years, I've spent a lot of time with NCOs and leadership across the Army. These men and women are truly the backbone of our force, but none in my career have surpassed the dedication, the humility and professionalism of Command Sgt. Maj. Bowen. He has been a source of continuity for me since I first got here, he's a traveling companion, a sounding board, a confidant, and most of all, I consider him a friend," said Brig. Gen. Timothy J. Daugherty, commanding general, USACRC and director of Army Safety. "I say without exaggeration that he epitomizes every trait I personally admire most in those around me."

Bowen has served in his current position since April 2017 and has played a critical role in Army safety during his tenure at the USACRC.

"You don't do this (Army career) alone, you never will and if you're trying, or you do, or you're not passing that message on to those junior to you or those peers who just don't get it then you're really missing the boat," Bowen said. "This is a team. Our uniform says U.S. Army, and you know, you've got to really live that. That's what really has inspired me to stay in and just take care of people."

Daugherty also thanked Bowen and his wife, Donna, for their effort and support during Bowen's time in the Army.

"You will be missed, but it is with immense joy that we look to you and Donna's future," he said. "True to the Infantry's motto of 'Follow Me!' you have led the way for countless Soldiers and future leaders in the Army for the last 33 years and I offer you a heartfelt thanks."