Happy Birthday to the U.S. Army Warrant Officer Corps

By Chief Warrant Officer 5 Michael Smith
Command Chief Warrant Officer

I hope everyone has had a safe and enjoyable summer thus far. I would also like to wish happy birthday to the Warrant Officer Cohort. 100 Years! We will be celebrating our centennial on July 14 at the Museum of the Kansas National Guard in Topeka. Events will include a 5K race, BBQ, Warrant Officer Olympics, and activities for the kids. Come to any of the events! Bring friends, family, and prospective warrant officers.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Michael Smith
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Michael Smith

The official birthday of the Army Warrant Officer Corps is July 9, 1918, when an act of Congress established the Army Mine Planter Service as part of the Coast Artillery Corps. The Warrant Officer Corps Insignia is the Rising Eagle, which consists of an eagle rising with wings displayed, adopted from the great seal of the United States. The eagle is standing on two arrows, which symbolize the military arts and sciences. The eagle is enclosed within a wreath. The official color of the Army Warrant Officer Corps is brown, which stems from the brown strands from burlap bags that the Mine Planter Service personnel wore as their insignia of rank.

Since 1918, the Warrant Officer Cohort has gone through many changes from ranks, definitions, education, pay, commissioning, duties and positions, and continues to change as the Army evolves. The warrant officer plays a vital role in the Army and will continue to play a vital role for years to come.

I had the privilege to visit several units recently during annual training. For many of the Soldiers, this was their first time to participate in training out in the field where Mother Nature can be less than pleasurable. However, one thing that I found consistently throughout the trips was that everyone I spoke with enjoyed getting back to training in the field. The morale and atmosphere was outstanding and I want to thank all of the Soldiers and leaders for their support and questions concerning becoming a warrant officer and I hope to visit other units in the near future.

Warrant Officer Candidate School at the Kansas Regional Training Institute has been up and running since March. The candidates have already had two exams, physical readiness training, leadership, and military briefings. The candidates will be participating in our centennial celebration in Topeka so that is another reason to come out and celebrate.

The final step for the WO candidates is to complete Phase III of WOCS which is the annual training field phase. This phase will be conducted at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, and consists of warrior tasks and battle drill related activities that provide leadership opportunities while emphasizing lessons relevant to the operational environment.

These activities culminate in a field leadership exercise that draws heavily on recent lessons learned. The candidates will be evaluated on capstone events which provide for expanded opportunities to apply flexible, adaptive leadership principles in stressful, sometimes ambiguous, situations to reinforce and build upon previous classroom theory studies and discussion. Upon successful completion of Phase III, candidates will graduate in September in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The next step for the graduating candidates will be to attend their Warrant Officer Basic Course, where they will receive Warrant Officer training specific to their military occupation skill. I wish them the best of luck in completing Phase III and the continuation of their basic course.

For those of you interested in pursuing becoming a warrant officer, now is the time to start working on your packet. It takes several months to obtain all the required documents to construct a packet, so don’t wait for the last minute or you might miss out on the next available class. We have vacant positions in various WO MOSs so please contact me at (785) 646-1903 if you have further questions or would like more information concerning vacancies and the completion of the warrant officer packet.

Finally, I would also like to thank the men and women in the National Guard and all retirees for their service. Less than one percent of the United States population serves out country today and without you and the support of your families we would not have the freedom that we do.