By Laura Levering
Special to GUIDON
Service members who are transitioning from the military to civilian life have a multitude of decisions to make. One includes whether or not to continue serving in uniform on a part-time basis or completely ending one’s service. If you find yourself contemplating the former, you might want to explore the possibility of becoming a warrant officer.
According to Chief Warrant Officer 3 James Pawlik, there is a critical shortage of warrant officers in the U.S. Army Reserves and Army National Guard.
“The Army is going through a phase right now,” Pawlik said. “It’s all about readiness and numbers, and there is a critical shortage in the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve of warrant officers.”
Pawlik, 09W Warrant Officer Accessions, Army Reserve Careers Division, is on a mission to reach out to service members who are within six months of their expiration of term of service, but he prefers to talk to them sooner when possible.
“My goal is to tell them the advantages of becoming a warrant officer in the Army Reserve or Army National Guard,” Pawlik said.
About 95 percent of warrant officers were previously enlisted; the remaining commissioned officers.
Pawlik said the ideal candidate under the 09W/09S program for which he is recruiting are E-5 through E-7 personnel who are in good standing with the military. Candidates need to have a General Technician score of 110 or higher, a high school diploma or GED certificate, and secret security clearance upon entrance to Warrant Officer Candidate School. Additional eligibility requirements will be discussed upon meeting.
All enlisted military occupational specialties are eligible for WOCS. The service member’s MOS largely determines what the Soldier will do as a warrant officer.
“For example, if you’re doing IT on the enlisted side, you might have two or three choices to go into, but you’re not going to be able to go tanks,” Pawlik said.
Eligible Soldiers must create a packet and await approval. Once approved, the candidate will go before a board. If selected, the Soldier will attend WOCS in Fort Rucker, Alabama, then go on to learn their chosen specialty. Soldiers receive their warrant officer rank upon successful completion of WOCS.
Some benefits of becoming a warrant officer are the pay and promotion trends. An estimated 97 percent of warrant officers get promoted to chief warrant officer 2. And about six years later, two-thirds of them get promoted to chief warrant officer 3. Another five to six years later, 63 percent make chief warrant officer 4. Additionally, they can stay serve until age 62 if they choose; longer than their enlisted and commissioned counterparts.
“There is a lot of camaraderie and you get to specialize in one area … and not have to do a lot of the miscellaneous tasks that Soldiers in the enlisted and officer ranks get tasked to do,” Pawlik said. “If you are an E-5, E-6, or E-7 that’s going to be transitioning out of the Army in the near future — or if you know someone — please have them call.”
Pawlik oversees Fort Gordon; Fort Jackson, South Carolina; and Fort Leonard Wood. For more information, call 706. 791.4978.
(Editor’s note: Levering works for the Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office.)