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New Program to Create Home-Grown Warrant Officers
By Sgt. Shawn Morris, 444MPAD

National Guard Soldiers are an indispensable part of today’s fighting force, but one undeniable difference between these Citizen-Soldiers and their active-duty counterparts is a relative lack of training time.

Reserve-Component service members typically serve one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer, often while holding a full-time civilian job; Soldiers on active duty have the entire year to train and work in their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS).

With that discrepancy in mind, the Army has created the Warrant Officer Candidate School – Reserve Component (WOCS – RC). Open to National Guard and Reserve service members, this nine-month course offers an alternative to the traditional 36-day warrant officer course at Fort Rucker, Ala.

“It’s designed for that part-time Soldier who really can’t afford to get away from his full-time job,” explained Chief Warrant Officer 5 Al Curving, Command Chief Warrant Officer for the New Jersey Army National Guard. Curving also noted that only technical-service warrant officer candidates can attend the WOCS – RC. Aviation warrant officer candidates are still required to complete the full-time course at Fort Rucker.

WOCS – RC is separated into three phases. Phase One consists of distance learning and usually takes about three months to complete. Students can access the coursework on their home computers or from local distance- learning centers.

Phase Two is held during five drill weekends at one of 13 regional training institutes where students learn about topics such as operations, military history and leadership. Soldiers from New Jersey can attend Phase-Two training at Camp Rell, Conn., or Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa.

Finally, students spend Phase Three at Camp Atterbury, Ind., for a two-week Field Training Exercise to test their physical and mental abilities, as well as their warrior and leadership skills and ends with a six-mile tactical road march. The first WOCS – RC class (06-500) began in January, and consists of approximately 150 National Guard and 20 Reserve students – including two New Jersey National Guard Soldiers. They are scheduled to graduate Sept. 30. “We’re now recruiting for class 07-500, which will start Oct. 1,” said Curving.

Recruiting is a key element of this new course, as the National Guard is only slightly above 50-percent strength in technical-service warrant officers. And out of that group, two-thirds are retirement-eligible, according to Curving. This new course, plus incentives such as a $10,000 bonus and a possible 8 to 11-percent pay raise in April 2007, is raising hopes that a new, young crop of warrant officers will take the reigns from their aging predecessors. Of course, not everyone can sign up for WOCS – RC.

Candidates must have at least six to eight years time-inservice, with 18- to 24-months supervisory experience preferable. They must also hold an MOS that falls under one of the 17 warrant officer-eligible branches. Other requirements include being between the ages of 18 and 46, scoring a 110 or higher on the General Aptitude Area Test, being a U.S. citizen, and passing the Army Physical Fitness Test. Also, not every Soldier will want to become a warrant officer. “If you want to lead troops, you shouldn’t become a warrant officer,” warned Curving, who explained that the warrant officer’s role is that of a subject-matter expert who supports his or her commander. Being a warrant officer is also very hands-on, which isn’t true for officers and higherranking noncommissioned officers (NCOs).

“The Soldiers need to identify where they can do the greatest good for themselves and the Army,” said Curving. Anyone interested in more information about the next WOCS – RC class should call Chief Warrant Officer 2 Glenn Eckenrode at 562-0721 or send e-mail to
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Volume 32 Number 4
Staff / Information
(c) 2006 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs