Seven Soldiers, who previously served as Non-commissioned Officers, are now defined as officers appointed by warrant by the Secretary of the U.S. Army, based on a sound level of technical and tactical competence.
The Soldiers of Warrant Officer Candidate School Class 21-001 graduated from the WOC course at the 168th Regional Training Institute, Fort Carson, Colorado, Sept. 26, 2021. The class, “Rusty Rams,” consisted of WOC graduates from the Colorado Army National Guard, Wyoming Army National Guard as well as the U.S. Army Reserve.
“For those of us who became Warrant Officers, the ever-repeating phrase that you will always hear from us is, ‘it was the best and most rewarding decision that I have ever made in my military career,” U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Eric Gorecki, commander, WOCS, said.
He described the candidates’ journey, which began in March 2021, as arduous.
A Warrant Officer is a highly specialized expert and trainer, who, by gaining progressive levels of expertise and leadership, operates, maintains, administers and manages the Army's equipment, support activities or technical systems for an entire career.
Retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Steve Imeraj served as the guest speaker during the ceremony. With his 36 years of experience, he gave the new graduates many words of wisdom as they prepare for their new roles.
Imeraj encouraged the Soldiers to seek a good mentor as well as to become one.
“Be a counselor, be an educator, be a friend,” Imeraj said. “Counseling is important, formal or informal.”
Based on his own experience, Imeraj encouraged them to take care of their Soldiers and their own careers. Going from an NCO to a WO, he urged them to celebrate their weaknesses and learn from their failures to be better officers and Soldiers.
Warrant Officers are sometimes referred to as the “quiet professionals.”
“(There is) nothing quiet about a Warrant,” Imeraj said. “That refers to being humble, going about your duty without any fanfare or bluster, but your actions must speak louder than words — they must not be quiet. You must be dynamic and think above your (military occupational specialty). You are in something now greater than yourselves.”
Gorecki echoed Imeraj’s sentiments and said a Warrant Officers’ advice, guidance and mentorship is routinely sought after from superiors, peers and subordinates, as they are the subject matter experts in their field.
“Because of this, the Warrant Officer cohort maintains high expectations of all who choose to join our ranks,” Gorecki said. “After being with these newly appointed Warrant Officers, through every step of their journey, I will tell you without hesitation that they have earned their way into the cohort. They possess the drive, character, professionalism and competence to maintain the steadfast reputation the cohort expects.”
Gorecki said the Soldiers did not have an easy time through the class. With COVID-19, Class 021-001 had to learn to navigate social distancing while still completing all the requirements to become a Warrant Officer.
“Through all this chaos and all the confusion, these seven graduates thrived and routinely were recognized for their exceptional performance,” Gorecki said.
While their careers as Warrant Officers are only just beginning, they were left with one question about what they will leave behind when their career has come to an end: “What is your legacy?” Imeraj said.
In thinking about the question, Imeraj stressed the importance of making an impact and paving the way for future generations. Imeraj encouraged them to keep up with courses and be their own career manager and reminded them to branch out into other roles as their careers progress.