Calling all Army Reserve noncommissioned officers: Warrant officer program offers challenges, technical skills

By Staff Sgt. Christina Dion | 81st Readiness Division | Feb. 27, 2020

FORT JACKSON, S.C. —

Many people talk about the Army Corps of Noncommissioned Officers and the Commissioned Officer Corps, but there’s also a group of officers in between – the Warrant Officer Cohort.

Army warrant officers are subject matter experts in areas such as human resources, allied trades and automotive maintenance, said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Paul Brown, a TAC officer or Training, Advising, and Counseling officer for the South Carolina National Guard Regional Training Institute (RTI) on McCrady Military Training Center, Eastover, South Carolina. “We bring expertise in a specialized field to the fight.”

The South Carolina Guard invited about a dozen Army Reserve command chief warrant officers (CCWO) to tour their RTI and share lessons learned across the cohort, Feb. 8, 2020.

Field Manual 6-22 states: “Warrant officers possess a high degree of specialization in a particular field in contrast to the more general assignment pattern of other commissioned officers. Warrant officers command aircraft, maritime vessels, special units, and task organized operational elements. In a wide variety of units and headquarters specialties, warrant officers provide quality advice, counsel, and solutions to support their unit or organization. They operate, maintain, administer, and manage the Army‘s equipment, support activities, and technical systems. Their extensive professional experience and technical knowledge qualifies warrant officers as invaluable role models and mentors for junior officers and NCOs.”

Those who possess those specialized skills are in need, said Brown. While a college degree is not required, “the requirements are difficult for some to achieve, especially for some to gain specific job experience,” said 81st Readiness Division CCWO, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Joseph Berdis. “The earlier the Soldiers get a mentor toward their desired career path, the better that mentor can assist with developing a long-range career plan.”

There are benefits to making the leap, such as more technical expertise that can translate to the civilian job sector, as well as a higher pay scale over the enlisted side, but it comes with dedication, he said.

Soldier needs to be able to pass a standard three-event Army physical fitness test. Waivers are generally not granted, but they will be reviewed, said Berdis. Another challenge is the time for schooling.

The active component Warrant Officer Candidate School is at Fort Rucker, Alabama, but there are also WOCS courses at National Guard RTIs across the country. While the U.S. Army Reserve does not have these institutes, Army Reserve Soldiers can attend Warrant Officer Candidate School at an RTI if they choose, Berdis said.

For those who can meet both requirements and training time, they can submit a packet for consideration. There is a U.S. Army Reserve Warrant Officer board every other month, said Berdis.

“Any Soldiers interested can contact me,” said Berdis. “I can answer all preliminary questions and assist with determining if they meet the prerequisites. If they do not meet those requirements, I will assist with mentoring to get them there, or with getting the appropriate mentor. Following that initial conversation, I will do an introduction with the correct Army Reserve Careers Division representative.”

For more information, email joseph.b.berdis.mil@mail.mil or call him at 803-751-9262. Additional information can be found at https://recruiting.army.mil/ISO/AWOR/Active-Guard-Reserve/.

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