News: Experts share skills, knowledge through professional development
Story by Spc. Charlene Apatang Mendiola
BAGHDAD - “Willingly render loyal services to superiors, subordinates and peers in every organization of which they are members. Teach other people in a way the effectively expand and perpetuate the scope of their technical competence.”
This is just a short excerpt of the Army warrant officer creed. With pride and dedication, the “chiefs” recited this creed, by which they continually live, during their professional development on Camp Victory, April 22.
This professional development entails a two-fold purpose, said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jasper Lee, food service advisor, United States Forces – Iraq. “First, it is to bring junior and senior warrant officers together to meet and interact. Secondly, it is to build a network of skills shared by experienced chiefs.”
Professional development like this, allows warrant officers access to tools and information that are not readily available in a combat environment, said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Sonji Moss-Clyburn, asset visibility chief with USF-I J4 sustainment and intelligence section.
During this period, the warrant officers shared news on promotion board for new and promotable chiefs, the do’s and don’ts in a packet, and proper protocol when writing letters of recommendation.
Since the establishment of the warrant officer rank on July 9, 1918, chiefs, as they are often referred to, are viewed as technical experts, combat leaders, trainers, and advisors in the Army.
“Warrant officers are experts,” Lee said. “They are managers of complex systems.”
Warrant officers fall between commissioned officers and enlisted members in the military rank structure. These highly skilled, single-track specialty officers have five distinct ranks and levels from Warrant Officer 1 basic level to Chief Warrant Officer 5 master level.
As prior noncommissioned officers, chiefs have a unique perspective on mission execution and soldier’s needs. Their function as liaisons to commissioned officers allows these individuals to perform as middle managers.
“We are the middle piece that keeps the officer and the NCO corps aligned,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Ramona Campbell, human resource technician, USF-I command group. “We are the bridge that maintains the Army’s overall structure.”
Chiefs are defined as competent and confident warriors, innovative integrators of technology, dynamic teachers, and developers of specialized teams of soldiers. Where did you get this?
Considered subject-matter experts, these officers provide valuable skills, guidance, and expertise to commanders and organizations in their specific field.
Warrant officers generally get the respect because of their level of expertise, said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jacque Nixon, executive officer for USF-I J1. “We bring expertise to the fight. Because we have the ability to be self-starters, we find the answer for any complex question.”
Warrant officers are here to uphold command philosophy, execute command intent and advise command to ensure success in a mission, Lee said.
“Because of the frequent change in this environment, I am always asked for expert advice,” Moss-Clyburn said. “It helps my leaders and the people I work with everyday. They can’t get that information from anyone but a warrant officer.”
As the best corps in the military, chiefs have that ability to keep Soldiers in sync, Campbell said. “I can get things done with this position. I am able to acknowledge an issue, voice it and correct it.”
Extensive professional experience and technical knowledge qualifies warrant officers as role models and mentors for junior officers and NCOs.
Throughout their meeting, the chiefs displayed their management and leadership skills. They exhibited actions of taking charge, responding efficiently to questions and effectively engaging in in-depth discussions.
In order to grow and advance in the Army, it would behoove any Soldier to associate and interact with a warrant officer to gain that wealth of knowledge and experience, Lee said.
“We are here to help soldiers of every rank,” Nixon said.
Hosting this professional development is to ensure that every warrant officer remains effective, efficient and informed during the tenure here, he said.
“The camaraderie we have, in which we continue to build is not because of the rank but because of our distinct relationship,” he said.
As a distinct corps in the Army, it feels good to have a unique relationship with chiefs near or far, Nixon said. “I am very passionate about this bond.”