FORT PICKETT, Va. –
The Virginia National Guard's Warrant Officer Candidate School welcomed five new graduates from class 21-001 during a recognition ceremony hosted by the Fort Pickett-based 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute June 5, 2021, at Fort Pickett, Virginia. Three additional graduates were unable to attend the event.
Col. Charles B. Martin, 183rd RTI commander, provided opening remarks during the ceremony and mentioned to the graduates that as junior warrants they should look forward to the opportunity to assist their units and staff at the battalion and brigade level.
"They're going to look to you for technical expertise in your field and to provide guidance in areas that they may not be as technologically proficient as you are," said Martin. "Take pride in the fact that you're going to be joining less than 2% of the Army that are already technical experts in their fields."
Following Martin, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Joseph W. Puckett, Command Chief Warrant Officer for the Virginia Army National Guard introduced the guest speaker, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jorge L. Roman, Senior Signal Warrant Officer with Cyber Center of Excellence.
During his remarks, Roman discussed five critical points for being a warrant, emphasizing the importance of knowledge, making decisions, reporting information, perception and always compete with the standard, not each other.
"A person's perception is their reality," he said. "Regardless of what other people think, be proficient in your job and take the time to learn from others."
During his speech, Roman mentioned he chuckles when he hears the question, "Is the juice worth the squeeze?"
"This is a question people ask when they wonder if all the hard work is worth it?" He said. "Sometimes you have to ask yourself that very question. Is it worth it? Is it worth being a warrant officer?"
Roman stated that the junior warrants are going to have to sacrifice their time, but in the end, it's always worth it. He concluded by saying congratulations for making it through the course.
"I think if I was to be born again, I would become a warrant officer," he said. "I would do things a little better, but I respect you for all that you have done and accomplished."
After Roman's speech, Chief Warrant Officer 4 James Ford was asked to approach the stage to receive an award for being nominated four times as “TAC of the cycle.”
The Training Advising and Counseling officer helps contribute to the influencing and guidance of the candidate’s developmental experience during the course. Roman then congratulated Ford for going the extra mile.
The graduates then awarded Roman a plaque for his support and thanked him for his participation as a guest speaker.
Following the awards, family members and guests were invited to participate in the pinning ceremony.
Afterward, Lt. Col. James C. Shaver, commander of 3rd Battalion, 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute, which includes the WOCS, presided over the ceremony and gave the oath of office to the new pinned candidates.
The graduating class consisted of five Virginia National Guard Soldiers, one Maryland National Guard Soldier and two Army Reserve Soldiers. The graduating VNG Soldiers were Christopher Burroughs, Zane Chapman, Adam Crews, Sara Kaczor and Shanna Holland. The graduating Maryland National Guard Soldier was Marcus Vendittuoli. The two reserve graduates were Felix Beltran and Daniel Moore.
The graduates completed phase 1 of their course over six drill weekends in 2020 and early 2021. Phase 2 was completed during two weeks of classroom training. Significant events the candidates were required to pass included written exams, foot marches, Army Combat Fitness Tests, community projects, land navigation, leadership reaction and a victory run.