CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait –
Virginia Army National Guard warrant officers assigned to the 29th Infantry Division, deployed in support of Operation Spartan Shield, celebrated the Warrant Officer Corps’ 103rd birthday alongside their 36th Infantry Division counterparts July 9, 2021, at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
According to U.S. Army Leader Development Field Manual 6-22, "Warrant officers serve at all echelons as the primary integrators and managers of Army systems. They bring an unequalled depth of knowledge, experience, and perspective in their primary areas of expertise. Warrant officers, at all echelons, understand and practice the mission command philosophy to execute unified land operations."
According to the U.S. Army Recruiting web site, warrant officers are the technical foundation of the U.S. Army and are highly-trained technical experts who specialize in one of 48 technical areas including intelligence, aviation, cyber operations and engineering.
“A warrant delivers the depth of knowledge required for sound and timely decision by the commanders,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Douglas Harris, the senior property accounting technician for 29th ID. “For 103 years the warrant officers have proven their value and competence, and I have no doubt future warrants will continue in this great tradition.”
Although the term “warrant officer” may conjure up certain images about a Soldier, there are also certain characteristics about warrant officers that the average observer may miss, said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Christina Gedney, 29th ID senior legal administrator.
“People call warrant officers experts and quiet professionals but that is an understatement; visionaries, game changers and multi-functional subject matter experts are a few other adjectives used to describe us,” she said.
Because Army’s total force is composed of about 26,000 warrant officers – a mere 2.5 percent – they are virtually unknown, including what their ranks indicate. Chief Warrant Officer 4 Ralph Lovett, the field artillery intelligence officer for the 29th ID, recalls a conversation he had with a foreign naval officer during a Bosnia deployment.
“The Turkish officer told me he did not know what my rank was, but he did know that when the U.S. Army actually decides to do something, someone with my rank shows up,” Lovett said.
Chief Warrant Officer 5 John Anderson, the most senior ranking warrant officer and the aviation survivability officer in the 29th Infantry Division, who flew helicopter missions in Bosnia and Iraq, said the trust and confidence placed on the warrant officers currently serving speak not only to their professionalism and competence, but also of the paths forged by warrant officers of the previous generations.
“During this celebration, we ought to also remember all the warrant officers who have gone before us – who put us into the position now as chief warrant officers 5 and command chief warrant officers,” Anderson said. “I have been blessed to have been taught by some of the best warrant officers who have ever flown. They were the epitome of selfless-service and sacrifice. We have a responsibility to live up to the standards they have set.”