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History of the Warrant Officer Corps

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Some highlights:


The official birthday of the Army Warrant Officer Corps is July 9, 1918 when an act of congress established the Army Mine Planter Service as part of the Coast Artillery Corps. Implementation of the Act by the Army was published in War Department Bulletin 43, dated 22 July 1918


In November of 1942, the position of Warrant Officer was defined by the War Department in the rank order as being above all enlisted personnel and immediately below all commissioned officers. January 1944 saw the authorization of appointment of women as Warrant Officers and by the end of WW II, forty-two female Warrant Officers were serving on active duty. Warrant Officers were filling 40 different occupational specialties by early 1946 and approximately 60 specialties by 1951.


From 1942 to 1945, Flight officer was a United States Army Air Forces rank used by the Army Air Forces during World War II. The rank is equivalent to warrant officer junior grade which is today's Warrant Officer (NATO grade: W-1). Enlisted and aviation cadet trainees who successfully passed air qualification training were appointed as flight officers and served as rated pilots, navigators, flight engineers, bombardiers and glider pilots. At the end of World War II, the Army Air Forces discontinued the use of the rank of flight officer. All of the service's flight officers had either been promoted to commissioned officer ranks during the course of the war or discharged. Pictured right, U.S. Army Air Force Flight officer rank insignia as used during World War II. Source of this


In 1954, The Warrant Officer Personnel Act of that year established Warrant Officer grades W1 through W4, and officially eliminated the Mine Planter Service.

In April 1955, the 1st Aviation Class at then Camp Rucker, Alabama graduated.


Between January 1968 and May 1970, three Warrant Officers received the Congressional Medal of Honor (MOH) for their heroic actions in combat in the Republic of Vietnam (RVN).


In July 1972, Army Warrant Officers began wearing newly designed silver rank insignia with black squares, where one black square signified WO1 and two through four black squares signified CW2 through CW4. Also in 1972, a tri-level education system had been established and provided formal training at the basic or entry level for Warrant Officers in fifty nine occupational specialties. The educational system further provided intermediate level formal training in fifty-three specialties and formal training for twenty-seven specialties at the advanced level.


From November 24 to December 1, 1991 Then CW3 Thomas J. Hennen made history as the first and only Warrant Officer Astronaut. He flew aboard NASA's Orbiter Atlantis, STS-44, as a Payload Specialist, completing 109 orbits of the Earth and traveling 2.9 million miles. He served over 24 years in the imagery intelligence field. From 1988 to 1990 he underwent Terra Scout payload operations training at Fort Huachuca, AZ . In 1990 he began his Astronaut and Space Shuttle Crewmember Training at NASA. He retired as a CW4 in December 1995.


On October 1, 1992, the appointment of Army Warrant Officer Candidates (WOC) to WO1 was established as the graduation date from Warrant Officer Candidate School (WOCS). Prior to that date, WOC were not appointed until completion of the then Warrant Officer Technical and Tactical Certification Course (WOTTCC) for their military occupation specialty (MOS). Since WOTTCC for various MOS were of various lengths, the length of time spent as a WOC varied greatly. Also Army policy was changed effective October 1, 1992 to require all warrant officers be appointed in the grade of WO1 upon completion of WOCS.



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