FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (April 4, 2013) -- Although warrant officers are not new to the U.S. Army, to date there have only been four classes graduate from the Interservice Training Review Organization-Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Warrant Officer Basic Course.

On March 28 the latest class of 12 CBRN warrant officers graduated from the nine-week course run by the Marine Corps in conjunction with the Army Chemical School.

"Warrant officers are highly skilled specialty officers who provide technical assistance, advice and support to Soldiers and Marines that they lead and to the commanders and units that they serve," said Marine Chief Warrant Officer 5 Domah Diggs, CBRN Warrant Officer Basic Course director.

"These officers are hand picked -- the best of the best -- and they never fail to deliver," Diggs said.

The Army Chemical Corps plans to take full advantage of these technical experts and their years of experience by placing them in slots previously filled by lieutenants.

"Right now they will be put in a lieutenants' job at battalion level and then we'll go from there," said Sgt. 1st Class Dawn Keesee, 84th Chemical Battalion, Warrant Officer Basic Course Operations non-commissioned officer.

Diggs told the graduating class that the knowledge and experience that they take with them doesn't belong to just them alone. He stressed that it belongs to the Soldiers that they will lead and the commanders and units that they will serve.

"You, along with your leadership, are vital; support of NCOs and your senior NCOs is what will constitute mission accomplishment in the end," Diggs said "Leadership first, then technical skills -- you are a United States Army Soldier before you are a chemical warrant officer."

Each of the 12 warrant officers from this class were on the Director's Honor Roll.