Warrant Officers Heritage Foundation
Preserving Army Warrant Officer Heritage and History
An Independent 501 (c) (3) Non-Profit Public Charity
Founded May 29, 2003
'Warrant Officer History Net''
ARMY WARRANT OFFICER HISTORY
"The Legacy of Leadership as a Warrant Officer"
Part I - 1918 to 1996
| Dedication | Introduction | 1918 - The Birth of the Army Warrant Officer Corps |
| 1936-1949 | 1950-1974 | 1975-1983 | 1984-1988 | 1989-1991 | 1992-1996]
Please be patient while the pictures load
This History is dedicated to Chief Warrant Officer Four Donald E. Hess, United States Army Retired, to commemorate his twenty-five years of continuous and selfless service to the U. S. Army Warrant Officers Association (USAWOA) during his tenure as Founder, first President, and later Executive Vice President. In October 1997 he was designated as USAWOA President Emeritus and in July 2007 he was designated as Historian Emeritus of the Warrant Officers Heritage Foundation and appointed as Advisor to the Board of Directors .
The rank of Warrant Officer has a long history. There is some evidence to suggest that Napoleon used Warrant Officers as communications links between his commissioned officers and the rank-and-file soldiers.
The military grade of Warrant Officer is one of the oldest in Western military systems dating back two centuries prior to Columbus, during the fledgling years of the British Navy. At that time, Nobles assumed command of the new Navy adopting the Army ranks of Lieutenant and Captain. These royal blood officers often times had no knowledge of life on board a ship, let alone how to navigate such a vessel or operate the guns. They would often rely on the technical expertise and cooperation of a senior sailor who tended to the technical aspects of running the ship and operating the cannons. These sailors, some times referred to as ‘Boat Mates’ or ‘Bosun's Mates’ became indispensable to less experienced officers and were subsequently rewarded with a Royal Warrant. This Royal Warrant was a special designation, designed to set them apart from other sailors, but not violate the strict class system that was so prevalent during the time.
Birth of the Army Warrant Officer Corps
July 9, 1918
1936 - 1949
In 1936, the Army was uncertain about what an Army Warrant Officer was and whether there was a place for Warrant Officers in the Army's personnel structure. although it had give the rank to such specialties as band leaders, marine engineers, field clerks, and pay clerks, it had also used the rank and the Corps as a reward for former commissioned officers who no longer met the officer educational requirements, and as a reward for outstanding enlisted personnel who were too old to be commissioned and who otherwise could look to no further advancement.
Also, in 1936, the Army held competitive examinations to replenish lists of eligible's for Regular Army appointment. The Army appointed Warrant Officers against vacancies from this 1936 list until the beginning of World War II.
In 1939, Warrant Officers who were qualified pilots were declared eligible for direct appointment to lieutenants in the Army Air Corps. This action caused a serious decline in the Warrant Officer corps. As of 30 June 1939 there were 775 Warrant Officers serving on active duty. Also in 1939 a memorandum from the Army G-1 to the Chief of Staff stated "The Warrant Officer grade continued to be used as a reward to enlisted men of long service and special qualifications rather than to fill essential military requirements."
[During World War II, prior to becoming an independent service in 1947, the US Army Air Force created the rank of Flight Officer, equivalent in rank and in the pay grade of "Warrant Officer Junior Grade" (today's WO1). Some of the first men who held this rank were Americans serving as Sergeant Pilots in the British Royal Air Force and were transferred to the US Army Air Force after the US entered the war. Most were later graduates of various US Army Air Force flight training programs, including pilot, navigator and bombardier ratings. A portion of each graduating class were appointed as Flight Officers while others were commissioned as 2nd Lieutenants. Once reaching operational units and after gaining flying experience, many Flight Officers were later offered direct commissions as officers. With the end of WW 2 in 1945, creation of Flight Officers ceased.] (Source: Wikipedia)