News: Hard work and dedication turns sergent first class to warrant officer
Story by Spc. Sophia Klevemann
PITTSBURGH – The warrant officer is a unique breed: a leader much like an officer, yet a technical expert and focused on mission execution like the enlisted soldier. These subject-matter experts and leaders are the silent professionals sprinkled throughout the Army Reserve and the 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) that ensure the job gets done; but what does it take to get become one?
According to recently appointed Warrant Officer Amy M. Adams, a Human Resources technician, HR Operations Branch with the 316th ESC, it took a lot of hard work and dedication to lead her to the position she desired.
After 16 years as an enlisted soldier, advancing to the rank of sergeant first class, Adams felt like she needed a change and new challenge.
"I love being in the Army, especially the Army Reserve, and I love what I do which is Human Resources, so staying in the HR field and being able to specialize in that and not be such a generalized soldier was very attractive to me," said Adams.
"The warrant officer is the critical core expert that bridges the gap between the officers and enlisted," said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Raymond A. Wolf, Jr., Senior Ordnance Officer/Command Chief Warrant Officer, 316th ESC. The officers are there to lead the troops and provide the strategic aspect. Officers are in a leadership position with general knowledge of a variety of aspects of their branch.
The warrant officers are there to execute, they have specific knowledge of their career and can lead and execute the tasks to obtain the end result that the commander or officers want, said Wolf, of Beaver, Pa.
“Being able to stay in my field and focus on Intelligence was a primary reason I became a warrant,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Sandra Tadda adding, “I was able to focus and dedicate my time on one field and become an expert.”
While the Army is filled with leaders at every rank and position, the warrant officer brings a different aspect of leadership to these organizations, and one in high demand.
"The Army Reserve is in definite need of warrant officers," said Wolf. “The Army Reserve set the goal for (this fiscal year) of recruiting 600 warrant officers. In the 316th ESC, there are about 56 slots available for warrant officers, especially for Petroleum System Technicians and Maintenance Technicians.”
The first steps toward her warrant officer goal were submitting a packet, being accepted and attending the five-week warrant officer candidate school.
"Candidate school was definitely the hardest military school I've ever done," said Adams, of Toronto, Ohio. "It's one of those courses that you hear a lot of horror stories about. Everybody has their own little spin on what happens there and how hard it's going to be. I don't think there's anything you can really prepare for other than the physical aspect of it. You really have to make sure you are in shape before you go. I did underestimate how physically demanding it would be."
Candidate school is conducted at Fort Rucker, Ala., that includes Army Reserve, National Guard and active duty aoldiers and much like basic training, the candidates are not allowed to use Internet or cell phones and are detached from outside influences. They are also placed under a lot of stress to see how they react to and handle situations.
Despite the challenge of candidate school, Adams thinks it was well worth it.
"It's very fun and also rewarding while being challenging," said Adams. "It's good for developing team mentality and building Esprit de Corps."
During this course, candidates focus on military history, history of the Warrant Officer Corps, customs and courtesies, protocol and Officer Evaluation Reports. The academics of the course are integrated with physically demanding aspects as well.
"If I had advice for anybody going, it would be to really make sure that you are physically prepared for the demands that they have for you and that mentally you are able to devote yourself to the academics, to the stress and to the back-to-basic mentality," said Adams.
Now that this course is complete, Adams' next step is to attend the eight week warrant officer basic course, which is designed to certify warrant officers as technically and tactically competent to serve as warrant officers in their designated specialty.
Adams has had time to reflect on what this new position means, “I realize there is a whole new level of responsibility. People look up to me as a role model; I represent a small but critical segment of the Army.”
"I intend to take on many varieties of assignments to become a well-rounded warrant officer so I can call myself a subject-matter expert, which is what they expect of us as warrant officers," said Adams.