By Lisa Rhodes
The Army’s Warrant Officer Cohort celebrated its 100th anniversary July 2 at Fort George G. Meade, having been established by an act of Congress in 1918.
That legislation established the Army Mine Planter Service in the Coast Artillery Cohort and directed warrant officers serve as masters, mates, chief engineers and assistant engineers of each vessel.
“Our Warrant Officer Cohort is a critical component of our total force,” Garrison Commander Col. Tom Rickard said. “They are the experts among experts, and their technical expertise, experience and leadership is incredibly valuable to the Army.”
In 1920, Congress expanded the use of warrant officers, authorizing the appointment of warrant officers in clerical, administrative and band-leading activities.
In 2004, the Army changed the official designation of the Warrant Officer Corps to Warrant Officer Cohort.
Perhaps the most significant motive for the expansion was the combination of military operations knowledge and the technical expertise of weapons systems the Warrant Officer Cohort provides for Army units.
“What I think is value-added is that we encompass boots on the ground and Army leadership,” said CW4 Michael Theroux, support operations officer for the Asymmetric Warfare Group. “We are the link between the ranks of the Army, and the camaraderie of the Warrant Officer Cohort works for the greater good of the Army and its organizations.
“We’re able to stay focused on moving the Army forward as technical experts.”
Warrant officers must be technically and tactically focused and able to perform the primary duties of technical leader, adviser and commander.
Through progressive levels of expertise in assignments, training and education, warrant officers perform these duties during all operations and at all levels of command. While their primary duties are those of technical and tactical leader, warrant officers also provide training and leader-development guidance, assistance and supervision.
Today, the warrant officer is the technical expert in a number of professional fields and provides military commanders and leaders with that “specially equipped” counselor-soldier who is a value-added asset in building combat-ready Army units.
“We are technical leaders,” said CW5 Michael Dye, command chief warrant officer for the 902nd Military Intelligence Group. “We have knowledge an inch wide and a mile deep in whatever our craft is. (This is) different from regular (commissioned) officers, whose training is more general in nature in their specific field and (who) have to know a little about everything.
“We train, mentor and coach and are always looking for those NCOs who would make great warrant officers.”
CW5 Glenn Jones, 704th MI Brigade command chief warrant officer, said command chief warrant officers enhance their organizations.
“It’s a very fortunate organization that has a command chief warrant officer because they’re the go-to experts for their craft and because we served as NCOs and have a history of Army experience,” Jones said. “We’re also the go-to for counsel.”
The Army Warrant Officer Cohort consists of more than 25,000 men and women of the active Army and Reserve components.
Warrrant officers provide leadership development, mentorship and counsel to other warrant officers, officers, NCOs and Army civilians. Warrant officers lead and train functional sections, teams or crews.
Finally, they serve as critical advisors to commanders in conducting organizational training.
In 2005, the Department of the Army developed a new definition to include all warrant officer specialties and grades, according to DA Pamphlet 600-3 (Pages 3-9).
“The Army warrant officer is a self–aware and adaptive technical expert, combat leader, trainer and adviser. Through progressive levels of expertise in assignments, training and education, the WO administers, manages, maintains, operates and integrates Army systems and equipment across the full spectrum of Army operations.
“Warrant officers are competent and confident warriors, innovative integrators of emerging technologies, dynamic teachers and developers of specialized teams of soldiers.”
The Army has further recognized the value-added capabilities of its Warrant Officer Cohort by creating the top warrant officer position at Department of the Army headquarters.
The top warrant officer serves as a member of the senior Army leadership team with the secretary of the Army, Army chief of staff, Army vice chief of staff and the sergeant major of the Army, among others.
Jones attended the June 22 signing of the proclamation, in the garrison commander’s office, which recognizes and honors the 100 years of service by the Army Warrant Officer Cohort.
“I love everything about being an Army warrant officer,” he said. “I love my profession and I love serving the Army.”