What Do Warrant Officers Do?
Warrant officers are the technical experts of the army. They provide guidance and valuable skills to the commanders in their field. More specifically, Warrant Officers train officers, advise on the best course of action during a mission; and command detachments, units, activities, vessels, aircraft, and armored vehicles.
There are two types of Warrant Officers: Flight and Technical Warrant Officers. Flight Warrant Officers, as you may have guessed, are pilots. Flight Warrant officers begin their careers at the Warrant Officer Candidate School. Upon graduating they are sent to flight school where they’ll learn to, well, fly helicopters. And after successfully navigating flight school, they’ll receive intensive flight training. From then onwards they’ll continue to fly, all the while receiving promotions, until they obtain the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 3. At this point, they’ll need to choose between one of two career paths: The path that leads to the position of Safety Warrant Officer or the path that leads to the position of Maintenance Test Pilot.
Safety Warrant officers do exactly what their name implies. They’re all about reducing the risk and loss of life associated with a mission. So what do they do? When informed by the commanding officer what the intent of a mission is, they’ll perform what’s called composite risk management. The purpose of this is to determine the best strategy that will minimize losses. While performing composite risk management they’ll identify hazards, assess those hazards, and make decisions based on the hazards involved. So that’s basically what a safety officer does.
And then there are Maintenance Test Pilots. They’re the guys who test out a plane after the crew has finished doing major maintenance work on it. After giving it a test run, they’ll learn about its readiness for flight: Does it fly and feel as it ought to? Then they’ll give their seal of approval or a thumbs-down.
Next, we have Technical Warrant Officers. They’re the army’s mechanical experts. There are 43 technical Warrant Officer specialties with each type of Technical Warrant Officer demonstrating mastery over a specific military occupational specialty (MOS). Some Technical Warrant Officers include Cyber Operations Technicians, Electronic Warfare Technicians, Food Safety Officers, and Ammunition Technicians. They often fill the role of Executive Officer (XO), Safety Officer, or Platoon Leader in a Company.
All Warrant Officers begin at Warrant Officer Candidate School, but then they go their separate ways after graduation. Those who graduate from Warrant Officer Candidate School are given the rank of Warrant Officer one. As their career moves along and their technical ability improves, they’ll move up the ranks from Warrant Officer one to Chief Warrant Officer 2 to Chief Warrant Officer 3 until they reach the highest attainable rank, Chief Warrant Officer 5. The salary a Warrant Officer receives depends on his rank. Warrant Officers at grade W-1 and serving for two years receive $2,764 per month. At their second year, they get $3,061 per month and at their third, they earn $3,141 per month. Pay for the W-5 grade, which is only available after 20 years, starts and stays at $4,776 per month for the remaining years of service