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Eagle Rising: Veteran inducted into prestigious society

Cooper (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Cooper (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: August 29, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August 29, 2014) -- Many feel that veterans aren’t shown the respect and recognition they deserve, but the service of one Vietnam-era veteran was acknowledged Aug. 26 as he was inducted into a prestigious society.

Retired CW4 Robert N. Cooper was inducted into the Order of the Eagle Rising Society, an organization that recognizes people who have contributed significantly to the promotion of the warrant officer community throughout their careers.

“(Individuals inducted into the society) must have demonstrated the highest standards of integrity and moral character, displayed an outstanding display of professional competence and have served the United States Army warrant officer community with distinction over a lifetime,” said the narrator during the ceremony. “Be it known and declared that Robert N. Cooper was tested and found worthy of distinguished recognition for his outstanding contributions to the Army community and the community of the warrant officers, and is hereby inducted as the 17th member of the Order of the Eagle Rising Society.”

The society was established in 2004 as a joint venture between the U.S. Army Warrant Officer Career College and Military Officers Association of America, and is intended to recognize the continued dedication to the warrant officer community throughout a career, as well as after retiring from the profession.

Cooper was presented a pewter medallion and certificate of induction, as well as presented with a check and lifetime membership to MOAA.

Col. Garry L. Thompson, U.S. Army Warrant Officer Career College commandant, presided over the ceremony and said no one was more deserving of such a distinguished honor.

“Today Bob joins the ranks of a very young, yet extremely prestigious society … and joins a list of legendary names,” he said.

Some of those names are well known around Fort Rucker, and include Novosel, Ruf, Startworth, along with many other distinguished service members, he added.

Retired Navy Vice Adm. Norbert R. Ryan Jr., MOAA president, was also in attendance to induct Cooper into the society and recognized the warrant officer, as well as all veterans who have served with distinction.

“It’s a real honor for me to be here to see Bob inducted today into such a tremendous society,” said Ryan. “To all of you that are serving or have served, thank you for your example. Serving a cause greater than self is something we’re really counting on.”

Fellow Eagle Rising Society members William R. Walton and Robert L. Huffman were among those in attendance to see Cooper join their ranks.

Cooper said he was honored to be inducted into the society and join the list of prestigious names, and never thought his career would turn out the way it did when he joined the Army in 1957 during the draft.

“I was a high school dropout when I came into the Army, but it was a good fit for me,” he said. “It gave me the opportunity that I needed, and gave me the ability to get my college degree and (travel the world).”

After joining the Army, Cooper’s first assignment took him to Germany in 1958 with the 10th Engineer Battalion. Throughout his career he has served in multiple countries across many different continents, and has been awarded a multitude of awards, including the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster and the Air Medal, just to name a few.

Cooper completed flight school in 1969 at Fort Wolters, Texas, and is a master Army Aviator with more than 4,000 flight hours, 1,000 of which were combat flight hours over Vietnam.

He retired from the Army in 1987 with more than 30 years of active federal service, 18 of which he served as a warrant officer, and continued to serve the Army after retirement through a flight training contract at Fort Rucker as assistant director of safety for 15 years.

As the ceremony came to a close, Cooper thanked his Family members, past and present, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post and wife of 51 years, Ditte, for all the support they gave him throughout the years that “allowed him to become the man he is today.

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/132865/

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