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  • WO options for civilian

    I just turned 32. I have over 10+ years of information technology experience. I do not have a college degree (but perhaps three semesters credit), though it has not impeded senior promotions in my professional career. I am an exception I suppose. Justified or not (and if not, please help assauge), a major obstacle in joining is my aversion to the enlisted rank. Indeed it prevents me from talking to a recruiter for fear of insulting someone.

    I want to serve. The Warrant Officer corps greatly appeals to me. Is this a realistic option for me? Is it an option at all? Are my objections to enlisting and being a private with my age and professional experience misplaced?

    Also, I live in Oklahoma and though I can find unit listings here, it's been difficult to determine what jobs are needed - enlisted or warrant officer. I'd be willing to explore a variety of MOS options and I'm not opposed to combat service. Field artillery, for example is of great interest to me. MLRS here maybe?

  • #2
    I'm not too far off from your situation. I'm 30, with about 9 years IT experience.

    I actually talked to an Officer Strength management recruiter today.

    To enlist into a WO program, you have to do aviation... and we're both too old for that. BUT.

    If the WO corps interests you, you can enlist for Officer Candidate School. (OCS). (09S Option.) (I'm not sure if you meant that you have three semester credits, or you are shy three semester credits from a degree. So, I'm going to assume you have 3 semester credits shy from a degree, which should put you over the 90 you need for my suggestion...)

    Once you complete OCS, you can either accept a commission as a regular officer, (FA is available if your state has arty) or, you can submit a Warrant Officer packet.

    Depending on what your area in IT is, you can become a Signal Warrant Officer if there is a slot available.

    I'm thinking about going that route, and either accepting a commission, or trying to get a 251A Warrant Officer Slot. (That's one of their IT related Warrant Officers.)

    That's what I was told today, and what I got from reading up on going WO.

    To go the traditional Warrant Officer route in the Signal Corps, you would have to be enlisted anyway, which would mean coming in as a private.

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    • #3
      Speak to your state's Officer Strength Manager. Both of you sound like strong applicants for Warrant Officer in the high tech fields. Civilian education and experience is particularly useful in this case.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the reply TankerT and the encouragement Major.

        I'm having difficulty finding contact information for Oklahoma's Officer Strength Manager. Should I just contact a recruiting office or are you advising me to contact the OSM directly for other reasons?

        Comment


        • #5
          May I ask what your aversion is to the enlisted rank? I can understand your aversion to starting out as an E-1 at your age, but the enlisted ranks and NCOs are the backbone of the Army. Personally I have an aversion to the Officer ranks. That is not to say that I have an aversion to officers, I just have an lot more respect for officers that have previously served as enlisted members. They know what it is like to start from the bottom and work their way up. The best officers I have ever had the privlidge of working under were NCOs before getting their commission. That is what I like about Warrant Officers. They are a happy medium between NCOs and Officers. I am not trying to convince you to be enlisted, just to reconsider your contempt for the "low man on the totem pole." Respecting all soldiers regardless of their rank will make you a better leader.

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          • #6
            Service as an officer isn't "better" than enlisted service. Each side has its good points and bad points. Don't just look at the pay scale, because it's more complicated than that -- for example, enlisted Soldiers don't pay for Army-issue food or uniforms, but officers do.

            I've known many strong sergeants who certainly met the criteria for OCS but decided to remain enlisted because they found the work more fulfilling. I completely respect that, because they probably had a bigger and better impact on the unit's readiness as a strong Sergeant or Staff Sergeant than they would have as a lieutenant.

            Service as an officer isn't better or worse than service as an enlisted Soldier -- it's just different.

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            • #7
              What are the age and MOS criteria for a civilian to WO appointment? Is it just in aviation?

              I'm in the software field (QA/test) with 13 years and a DOE clearance. I've done Intel analysis with requsite clearances in the recent past. I've not been in the service (but did JROTC in high school a loooong time ago :-).

              RG

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              • #8
                OCS or WOCS?

                I have a similar situation. I served in the active army from 1992-1994, but didn't attain the grade of E-5, which is required to move from enlisted to WO, I believe. Now, I am wanting to join the National Guard as a Warrant Officer in the signal corps. I have 13 years of I.T. experience, including network administration, network security, technology management, and technical instruction.

                It looks like the only way for me to get to WO is to sign for the next OCS class, get my O-1 rank, and then apply for WOCS. Does that sound about right?

                Roger

                Comment


                • #9
                  In the reserve component, the WO predetermination process also evaluates civilian acquired skills. Thus, it is reasonable for someone who may be (or have been) an E4 with 10+ years of civilian IT experience as a lead programmer or netadmin or project manager to be prequalified for WO.

                  Age of initial appointment as a WO is age 46 or younger. Flight school has its own age maximum, of course, which could preclude someone from initial entry rotary wing (IERW) training.

                  While it is certainly legal to complete commissioned OCS and then apply to serve as a WO, it's like going around your elbow to get to your thumb. WOCS is much shorter than commissioned OCS.

                  Becoming a WO is as much art as it is science. That's why you really need to speak with your state's Officer Strength Manager.

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                  • #10
                    The Major is right about this one. Becoming a Warrant Officer is an art form in itself. I'm currently going through the process here in NC. My own personal experience has taught me to contact as many people as possible and gain as much knowledge as possible. Keep your recruiter up-to-date on what you find out. You have to be proactive in this process. The recruiters and OSM are VERY helpful and knowledgeable but they are busy as well. Thanks again for your input in these forums Major.

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                    • #11
                      Looking for options/encouragement

                      Hello, Major Ritchie and all -

                      I am currently working with an ARNG recruiter here in Minnesota and hope to enlist in the ARNG some time in the next six months. Right now, I am working on getting my weight down far enough to get a doctor up at Camp Ripley to sign off on my physical so I can enlist. I have ten years active duty Marine Corps service (honorable discharge, RE-4 re-enlistment code which my recruiter tells me is no problem). I left active duty as an E-6 and my recruiter says it will not be a problem for me to come back in at that rank. However, I don't want to retire as an E-6. My MOS in the Marine Corps was musician (not the President's Own; I was a REAL Marine!); Minnesota does have a NG Band, but the promotion opportunities are extremely limited. I'd prefer to retire as an E-8 or E-9 if I have to stay enlisted, but I'd much rather be a warrant officer (preferably a State; don't have the time to go to Ft. Rucker) - and I would eventually like to go AGR if at all possible. But in order to do that, I'll have to train in another MOS - preferably one that has a Reserve Component school here in MN. Does anyone have any suggestions or resources? Thanks!!

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                      • #12
                        If they have a band, they have a [URL="http://www.usarec.army.mil/hq/warrant/prerequ/wo420C.html"]Bandmaster warrant officer (MOS 420C)[/URL]. If the position is currently filled, current ARNG Overstrength Policy (dtd 4 Sep 2003, NGB-ARH) allows a state to go to 200% in WO grades W1-2, which will carry you for about eight years or more, plenty of time for the current band leader to retire.

                        You'll never get AGR status as a Bandmaster, however. If you want AGR, stay an E6 and reclass as a supply sergeant. The vast majority of AGR jobs are at the E6 grade, in supply or personnel admin.

                        [QUOTE=evarns5534]Hello, Major Ritchie and all -

                        I am currently working with an ARNG recruiter here in Minnesota and hope to enlist in the ARNG some time in the next six months. Right now, I am working on getting my weight down far enough to get a doctor up at Camp Ripley to sign off on my physical so I can enlist. I have ten years active duty Marine Corps service (honorable discharge, RE-4 re-enlistment code which my recruiter tells me is no problem). I left active duty as an E-6 and my recruiter says it will not be a problem for me to come back in at that rank. However, I don't want to retire as an E-6. My MOS in the Marine Corps was musician (not the President's Own; I was a REAL Marine!); Minnesota does have a NG Band, but the promotion opportunities are extremely limited. I'd prefer to retire as an E-8 or E-9 if I have to stay enlisted, but I'd much rather be a warrant officer (preferably a State; don't have the time to go to Ft. Rucker) - and I would eventually like to go AGR if at all possible. But in order to do that, I'll have to train in another MOS - preferably one that has a Reserve Component school here in MN. Does anyone have any suggestions or resources? Thanks!![/QUOTE]

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          More info...

                          Actually, the current band commander is AGR (apparently, TO&E is for 2 full-time positions - one officer, one enlisted, both of which are currently filled). The bandmaster is currently trying to get a second WO position established (an XO position) to take over as commander when he retires in 12 years. I will more than likely not go for that, as there are at least half a dozen people already in the unit who would be in line for that spot before me. My best route (as you noted) will probably be in supply or admin for AGR - and that's where most of the available E-6 spots are for regular weekend Guard personnel anyway.

                          I tried finding my state Command Chief Warrant Officer, but I can't find anything on the state's NG website. Do you have any sources?

                          Thank you very much for your help, sir!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            [QUOTE=matthew.ritchie]In the reserve component, the WO predetermination process also evaluates civilian acquired skills. Thus, it is reasonable for someone who may be (or have been) an E4 with 10+ years of civilian IT experience as a lead programmer or netadmin or project manager to be prequalified for WO.
                            ow to get to your thumb. WOCS is much shorter than commissioned OCS.

                            Becoming a WO is as much art as it is science. That's why you really need to speak with your state's Officer Strength Manager.[/QUOTE]

                            I'm also in IT, going into my 11th year, and have been thinking of going into the Warrant Officer program. I do have 8 years of NG and Active Army experience under my belt as a 11b and 13f so the process should be easier. Apart from the last recruiter I talked to not being up to speed on the WOC program my holdup is that I'm trying to get some records corrected with the Army Board for Correction of Military Records. It's sad how much of a PITA it is to get records from the National Guard which only further demonstrates the need for competent IT personnel. :-)

                            Hopefully I can get this mess straightened out but it's like pulling teeth. My main issue is that the National Guard has twice screwed up my rank/grade so that instead of 2 NG 55's with my rank as E4, I have two putting me at E3

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              [QUOTE=matthew.ritchie]Speak to your state's Officer Strength Manager. Both of you sound like strong applicants for Warrant Officer in the high tech fields. Civilian education and experience is particularly useful in this case.[/QUOTE]

                              Major Ritchie,

                              Would you be able to provide me with the contact information for the Officer Strength Manager for Massachusetts?

                              Thanks in advance,

                              David Gadoury

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