Are you looking for a way to give your military career a boost?
Then perhaps becoming a U.S. Army Reserve warrant officer might be the answer you are seeking.
Warrant officers are highly-specialized experts and trainers in their respective career fields.
As such, they provide expert guidance and leadership to commanders and units in their given specialty, said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Darrell Peak, the U.S. Army Reserve Command lead for Warrant Officer Management and Policy.
Peak said 50 percent of Army Reserve warrant officers are in aviation, including aviation maintenance. The balance of warrant officers are technical warrants including military occupation specialities, such as administration, military intelligence, logistics and signal.
Peak added that there are shortages in all three Army components — active, Army Reserve, and National Guard.
“We definitely have some MOSs that we need help with in the Army Reserve,” Peak said. “We would like to see those positions in combat service support (units) filled, but we do have a few combat-related MOSs (to fill).”
But what qualities must an individual possess to become a successful warrant officer?
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Phyllis J. Wilson, the U.S. Army Reserve command chief warrant officer, shared her top five qualities that a warrant officer must have: technical savvy, strong leadership skills, be a counselor, adviser and mentor, across the board competency, and strong character.
“We want some of the best noncommissoned officers to come into the Army Warrant Officer Corps,” Wilson said. “You’ve got to be extremely good at your skill set: being a strong leader and knowing your technical skills so you can advise. The same things that the rest of the Army leadership talks about.”
She said the competence a warrant officer must have is not only the technical aspect of their MOS, but also tactical competence.
“Character, that’s not exchangeable for anything else,” Wilson said.
The path to becoming a warrant officer is not unlike that of the enlisted or officer career track. Once recruited, warrant officer candidates attend the five-week, Warrant Officer Candidate School at Fort Rucker, Ala.
“It’s a very vigorous course of training,” Peak said. “The course is designed for the cadre to evaluate the candidates’ skills, qualities, and traits to ensure they are commensurate to what the Army expects of a warrant officer one.”
He said that individual skills and leadership capabilities are tested, along with transition training from being enlisted to officer.
Upon successful completion, the newly-pinned warrant officers, or WO1s, will progress to their respective Warrant Officer Basic Course, Peak said.
“You have to want it,” Peak said.
For Warrant Officer 1 Andria Simmons, attending WOCS met her expectations. Simmons, a human resources warrant officer with the 2nd Battalion, 323rd Regiment, 98th Training Division in Lumberton, N.C., said the biggest adjustment was making the transition from enlisted to warrant officer.’
“Being a senior enlisted, or almost a senior enlisted, and then going back to being treated like a private, it’s not easy,” Simmons said. “You have to distinguish when to lead and when to follow. They treat you like a private, but expect you to perform like an officer. It’s difficult to find that balance but that’s what that course is all about.”
Simmons said that just like the enlisted or the officer initial training, simply attending WOCS doesn’t necessarily guarantee success.
“It’s not a sure thing,” she said. “It’s mentally and physically exhausting. Once you’re done, you’re done, and it’s an awesome sense of pride.”
Simmons has served in the Army for 11 years as a Soldier and was selected for master sergeant before making the switch to warrant officer. She is also an Army civilian, working as the executive assistant to Addison “Tad” Davis IV, USARC’s chief executive officer.
Simmons cited the many warrant officers who have mentored her during her career as one of the reasons for becoming a warrant officer.
“I’ve always looked up to warrant officers. They are the subject matter experts,” Simmons said.
“As an enlisted and a civilian for the Army Reserve, people have always come to me as a subject matter expert. I just wanted to take that even further.
“Warrant officers are perfect liaisons between enlisted and officers,” she said. “I wanted to be that person that everyone comes to when they need solutions.”