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NEWS | Sept. 15, 2023

Pre-Warrant Officer Candidate Course prepares Soldiers to become VAARNG’s technical experts

By Staff Sgt. Jeff Clements | Maneuver Training Center Public Affairs

The 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute Warrant Officer Candidate School hosted a Pre-Warrant Officer Candidate Course Sept. 8-10, 2023, at Fort Barfoot, Virginia. Completion of Pre-WOC is a pre-requisite for any Virginia Army National Guard Soldier to attend Warrant Officer Candidate School.
Pre-WOC gives Soldiers an idea of what WOCS will be like at Fort Barfoot or Fort Rucker, Alabama. Soldiers must be physically fit and mentally prepared to take on the course.
“This is the entryway into our program,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kristen Powers, course manager for the RTI Warrant Officer Candidate School at Fort Barfoot. “It gives the Soldiers a snippet of our entire course.”
A Warrant Officer is an officer in the armed forces holding rank by virtue of a warrant and ranking above a noncommissioned officer and below a commissioned officer. They are technical experts who provide experience and guidance to commanders about their specific career field.
Leadership is one of the many things that is being looked for in a potential candidate.
“It’s definitely one of the first things that we look at,” Powers said. “Someone who is going to be able to take charge. A Soldier who is dedicated and has been in their respected career field as a non-commissioned officer for at least five years.”
The Virginia National Guard offers many different military occupations that feed directly into the warrant officer career path. From engineering, field artillery, food service technicians, all the way to cyber security.
Sgt. John Gatling, a human resource specialist with the Virginia Beach-based 329th Regional Support Group, received a recognition coin for his leadership aptitude while attending the course.
“I came here to see if this was the right choice for me,” Gatling said. “It really opened my eyes. I believe that I can do this.”
Gatling believes that this course is great training to any NCO who may be thinking about becoming a warrant officer or just wants more information about the program.
“Our NCOs have a lot of knowledge and attributes that they can contribute to the warrant officer corps,” he said. “It is a great way for many National Guard Soldiers to progress their career.”
The Warrant Officer Candidate School at Fort Barfoot holds two Pre-WOC courses every year.
“The program is here,” Powers said. “For a master sergeant who feels like they have been in too long and are looking for a different career change to a new specialist that we can help train to be an NCO and then bring them over into the warrant program.”
Soldiers may enroll in the course through ATRRS using School Code 1020 and course name PWOCC or by contacting the WOCS Course Manager Warrant Officer 2 Kristen Powers at email at or by phone at 434-480-0130 or 434-292-2025.
All course correspondence will be sent to the Soldier’s .mil address.
Any Soldier interested in becoming a Warrant Officer should contact Chief Warrant Officer 4 Kelvie Fore, Warrant Officer Strength Manager, by email at or by phone at 434-582-4971 or 540-810-4044.
More Warrant Officer MOS requirements can be found here:

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