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  • Enlightening WOPD

    A Senior Chief has provided his wisdom for the WO Corps and I am providing it for my WO brethren. Take it with a grain of salt. There are 22 paragraphs and I will be posting each one at staggered times. This is my homage to this Chief.

    Written by CW4 Name Removed

    Contained here are some thoughts, tips, and ideas I’ve come across the years in dealing with the bevy of BS encountered in daily work. Some of this may seem like common sense, some is gleaned from lessons I have learned from personal experience, and some from observing others’ mistakes and successes. Some of you may find it valuable, and some offensive, or counter to your perceptions, so take it for what it is; unsolicited advice. I welcome any discussion it might evoke.

    The Army is big on traditions. Many officers (RLOs that is) drone on and on about officer traditions and how they are important in maintaining a sense of identity within the corps. Well, I happen to agree with that. Such things are important; the thing is, we are not RLOs, we are Warrant Officers with a set of distinct traditions and an identity of our own. Over the years, the Army has been purposely whittling away at the official traditions we have, such as the de-authorizing the Rising Eagle as our symbol, and the adoption of Branch colors, and all we are left with is our non-traditional ones, such as the first name basis across Warrant rank structure. These traditions, the camaraderie across branches especially, are a large part of what drew me towards wanting to become a warrant, and I won’t be suborned into abandoning them because some CW5 at Huachuca tells me it’s the “right thing to do.” In my mind, as Warrants we have a responsibility to maintain our own traditions as long as possible, especially amongst ourselves. This kind of rage against the machine is also one of our finder traditions.

    The Army, in its wisdom, has decided it wants something different from Warrant Officers than what we were once led to believe. Warrants are no longer just the grumpy gray hairs who drink a lot of coffee and answer technical questions. Warrants are now, for a large part, XOs, unit commanders and staff officers, working generic, Army staff issues at all echelons. We are now more involved in training, exercises, planning, logistics, and general “officer” duties than ever before, and the push over the last decade to recruit candidates with less time in service and less solid, long-term, technical practice ensures that the depth of experience of the average Warrant is not as evident as it was in the past. This is not to disparage any of you who have less time in service than others, it is just a fact. Whether or not some of you agree with this change doesn’t mitigate the issue, and it shouldn't, if that is what Big Army wants, that is what it will get, and we will just have to put up with it or get out. However, none of this is to say that we cannot still achieve a level of personal satisfaction from conducting business in the way Warrant Officers have always conducted business: by getting done what needs to be done. There are ways to be both the staff officer they want you to be, and still be the grumpy, coffee drinking, quiet professional you entered the Corps to be. The following is a list, in no particular order, of things that have occurred to me over the years that support this particular point of view. I learned many of them from observing Warrant Officers whose work or reputation I have admired, others I learned through painful trial and error. Some of these ideas may run counter to your own, but I suspect many will ring true whether you are a WO1 with two days in grade, or a CW4 with twenty-five years in service. Again, take them for what they are.

    1. If you are reading this and have dots on the rank you wear on your uniform, you are a Warrant Officer, but you are also a staff officer, face it. There is a reason they made you take that horrible online “Action Officer Development Course” before you went to the Advanced Course. That was only the beginning. If you hate being a staff officer, but love being a warrant, there are things you can do within your skillset no matter where you are that will make it worthwhile. Seek them out and make them your calling.

    2. I you are a WO1 or CW2, and have more than 10-12 years or so in service, you are not a “junior” anything. Don’t get railroaded by RLOs who want to lump you in with the 2LTs, 1LTs and junior Captains; let your experience do the talking. If you are a WO1 with six or so years in service, then, sorry bub, you will probably be considered junior and you will take some lumps, mainly because you don’t have the experience to fully understand “the system.” You’ll get there, just roll with it. Like Louis L’Amour once wrote: “You can get information and education at any age; you only get wisdom with experience,” and wisdom is what the senior RLOs are looking for in you. When you have it, they know it. When you don’t, they marginalize you.
    Last edited by Chief Kemosabe; May 4th, 2013, 02:22 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Enlightening WOPD

    3. Don’t get too caught up in “officership”, simply being a “quiet professional” should be enough. The term “officership” itself is a trap; it at once both means doing that which embodies the ideal of an officer, and at the same time can be used as a bludgeon by officers of higher rank to castigate you for whatever it is they don’t like about whatever it is you are doing. You will get professional training on “officership” quite often in your career, but take note of how many of those PowerPoint slides are oriented towards career profession of 01-06s, and how many are oriented towards W1-W5s.

    4. If you are in it for the glory, you are in the wrong business. Leave the glory for the RLOs and the NCOs. We work in the shadows, like Batman. All he wants to do is fight crime and go home, just like us. Do your job and be satisfied with doing it well, then go home and kiss your significant-other, or walk your dog, or have a drink. That should be enough.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Enlightening WOPD

      5 May

      5. Understand that you will not always work in the job you feel you should be doing. In fact, you almost never will. Let the leadership know they are misusing you, then go do the job they want you to do. Bring it up again during counseling (don’t laugh, some raters actually do counseling; if they don’t, ask for it), and then when they ignore you, just go do the job they want. On the side, and when no one is looking, you can do the technical job you really should be doing in the first place.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Enlightening WOPD

        6 May

        6. No matter what is it you want to be, it is irrelevant; you are what the Army wants you to be in their master plan. If you are a Senior All Source Tech working in the ISR Branch for some god-awful reason, then “ALL Source” the hell out of ISR. This is not to say that when you see a problem outside of your job description that is well within your expertise to fix, but it is not technically your “job” to fix, that you can’t just go ahead and fix it anyway. Just do it and get back to your assigned duties.

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        • #5
          Re: Enlightening WOPD

          16 May

          7. Never assume a brother or sister Warrant can't do something, and do it for them before they can act. Conversely, if they are trying and failing, quietly help them without hesitation. If a fellow Warrant asks for help, do it until they are back on their feet and then step away quietly. We all benefit from respecting each other's dignity. The Army is not a competition, and we are not striving for recognition like RLOs. We are peers, all of us.

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          • #6
            Re: Enlightening WOPD

            28 May

            8. You probably won't learn anything too useful from Army professional training. WOCS, WOBC, WOAC, WOSC, and WOSSC are all purposely designed to be bland, all-encompassing, death-by-PowerPoint courses. I've heard course designers admit to stealing course material and ideas from the RLO professional courses. The schoolhouses have the misguided idea that this will make us better officers. The biggest advantage they actually offer is the opportunity to network with other Warrants for a few weeks, and, if at Rucker, to laugh at the Candidates at WOCS. Critique the hell out of these courses. Don't suffer for a month and then laugh it off as a vacation and some easy TDY cash; that is a terrible waste. You could have been at work making a difference during that time. Tell them their courses are useless and that we would be better served being given opportunities to complete our degrees (Bachelor's or Master's) at civilian schools....like RLO's do. Our WOBC should culminate with a Bachelor's degree. Our WOSC should culminate with a Master's. Let your branches know this. It may be like shouting at the wind; but if we don't say anything, we won't get anything but the dregs the RLOs don't want...forever.

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            • #7
              Re: Enlightening WOPD

              Quite a bit of arrogance and it seems a little behind the times.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Enlightening WOPD

                Originally posted by RedLeg View Post
                Quite a bit of arrogance and it seems a little behind the times.
                It is not gospel but the WOs I know (like myself) appreciate the candor and tone.

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