Story and Photos by Beverly Denny
Army Reserve Chief Warrant Officer Phyllis Wilson addressed the 79V Special Missions NCOICs at Gillem Enclave in Atlanta, March 18 during the Army Reserve Careers Division training. The primary point she wanted to impart is to focus on the goal of increasing warrant officer numbers in the Army Reserve to 3,500 by June 30, 2015. She stated, “We have held chronically around 3,200 for the past several years”.
Increasing the total to 3,500 in about 15 months doesn’t mean growing by just 300 because you have to take into account the 250-300 that will leave in that time frame.
CCWO Wilson asked the group to tell her how she and other command chiefs can help. We’ve heard what 79Vs want are leads, and that’s what we owe you, she said.
When grooming Soldiers to become warrant officers, having them dig in deep into their specialties is ideal. CCWO Wilson was able to stay immersed in intelligence when she served as a senior intelligence analyst. It was her job to brief a four-star general about the biggest dogs in Al Qaeda. Stating, and that’s what a warrant officer should be. They should have “a fire in their gut to do what they love,” NCO’s are the backbone of the Army and the connective tissue of the warrant officer cohort.
A quandary we’re facing with increasing the number of warrant officers is there are solid Soldiers who are good enough to be a 2LT or CSM but somehow can’t be accepted as a WO1. We’re missing out on a huge pocket pool there, she said.
Master Sgt. Jeremy Kasten of Birmingham made a suggestion for dealing with dwindling numbers of NCO’s: instead of asking for waivers, let’s look more realistically at prerequisites, saying it could help open up more applicants.
When asked about the problem of receiving requests for a warrant letter of recommendation for a Soldier you don’t know personally, CCWO Wilson said there are work-arounds. One way is to reach out to a senior warrant officer geographically close to the Soldier in question and ask if they can meet and send the assessment so you can feel confident signing off on the candidate. “Those kinds of networks encourage warrant officers to communicate with each other.”
Collaboration between the National Guard and Army Reserve is also a factor to consider. In June there will be a get together for the Guard and Reserve command chiefs in Little Rock. Reaching out to collaborate will help the Reserve with the goal of increasing warrant officer numbers to the 3,500 mark by next June.