By Jim Hughes, Command Information OfficerJuly 17, 2018
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The U.S. Army Warrant Officer Career College celebrated the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Army Warrant Officer Cohort with several events, including a tree planting and time capsule burying ceremony July 9 on Howze Field.
Other events included a cake cutting ceremony, a golf tournament and a 5k run, according to CW3 Gina Spivey, quality assurance with the WOCC, and narrator for the tree planting and time capsule burying ceremony.
"It's a big deal today -- 100 years to the day since the warrant officer corps, now cohort, was established," said Col. Kelly E. Hines, U.S. Army Warrant Officer Career College commandant and speaker at the event. "I've worked around a lot of warrant officers in my 25 years as an Aviator and 33 years in the Army, and I have to tell you the Army would not be successful were it not for the efforts of the warrant officers that have come before you, the warrant officers sitting under this pavilion and then all the people you've touched..."
The commandant added that he feels honored and privileged to not only head up the WOCC, but to participate in the 100th anniversary celebration.
"I can't believe how lucky I am to be able to work with the finest people in the Army, and that's the people sitting here who make my job so much easier -- and that's the job of the warrant officer," he added. "You make the job of the commander easier by taking the load off of them and providing all of technical expertise, and really the mentorship, if you will.
"I've been mentored by I don't know how many warrant officers. Technically, your mentors are supposed to outrank you. Well, even when I was Lieutenant Hines, I technically outranked the warrant officers, but they were mentoring me, and I'm still getting mentored to this day by people like Mr. Roland (CW5 Joseph Roland, chief warrant officer of the Aviation Branch), Mr. Howze (CW5 John Howze, deputy commandant of the WOCC), Mr. Ryan (CW5 John Ryan, deputy commandant of the Army Reserve WOCC) and Ms. Sharpe (CW5 Debbie Sharpe, deputy commandant of the Army National Guard WOCC).
Warrant officers serve as technical experts, combat leaders, trainers and advisers who serve in 17 different branches spanning across the active component, the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve with a total force of over 26,000, according to Spivey.
"One hundred years have passed since the warrant officer rank was created and, in honor of this milestone, we will plant a mighty oak tree to commemorate this occasion. The oak tree is symbolic of endurance, strength and stability -- similar qualities to that of the warrant officer," she added.
"As we plant this tree, we are planting hope. The planting of a tree is always a gesture of optimism and faith in the future. And our hope is that this tree will flourish and grow as the Warrant Officer Cohort has done for the past 100 years," Spivey said during the ceremony.
After Howze gave the tree its first drink of water on Howze Field, the time capsule was put into the ground.
"We are sending a bit of the past into the future," Spivey said. "We have gathered a variety of warrant officer memorabilia: photos from the past and present, warrant officer coins and unit crests, and even our most current command and staff slides, so they'll know how we did things back in the day. We hope that when warrant officers open this time capsule 100 years from now, they will say, 'Wow! They really thought about us.'
"We celebrate all of those who have come before us and paved the way. May this tree speak to the prosperity of future warrant officers, and be deeply rooted and grow stronger and wider with each passing year," she said.