REDSTONE ARSENAL – Though warrant officers make up only 2.5 percent of the total U.S. Army force, their expertise plays a vital role in Army missions, including the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s missions in air and missile defense, according to one warrant officer.Warrant Officer Caroline Domenech, battalion master gunner, 49th Missile Defense Battalion, said warrant officers offer needed expertise in the fields in which they specialize at USASMDC and all its subordinate components.“Warrant officers are the silent warriors in every unit; they are always observing and learning their craft,” Domenech said. “If there are any questions or doubts, warrants know the answers or where to get them. They are the unit's subject matter experts in their fields.”Domenech did not always know she would become a warrant officer, but she said she always planned to serve.“The military is a family tradition, one I was happy to follow,” Domenech said, “My father, uncles, grandfathers and great-grandfathers all served. Their service ranged from the Great War to Vietnam. I joined the Army because it’s my family tradition, and to honor the legacy and sacrifice of my family members.”Domenech enlisted in the Puerto Rico National Guard in 2007 as a human intelligence collector, but transferred to the Alaska Army National Guard two years later to work at Fort Greely's Missile Defense Complex. In 2015 she recertified as an Avenger crew member - a Soldier who operates and maintains the Army Avenger surface-to-air missile system.“I specialized as a ground-based midcourse defense operator,” Domenech said. “I discovered this field in the military and fell in love with it right away. I worked as a communications and weapons operator at the Fire Direction Center, then as the C2 systems evaluator and GMD master gunner at the battalion level. Then, I served as the battalion operations readiness evaluation noncommissioned officer in charge for eight months before becoming a warrant officer candidate.”Domenech was commissioned as a warrant officer on March 11. Warrant officers are the technical foundation of the Army. They specialize in a particular field, and use their expertise to advise senior leaders and commanders and train Soldiers in their fields.“I became a warrant officer to lead, mentor and educate Soldiers in and out of my field,” Domenech said. “For me, this is the foundation of being a good leader, and I will continue to cultivate this throughout my career by motivating, inspiring and influencing my Soldiers.”In the 100th Missile Defense Brigade, in which the 49th Missile Defense Battalion is subordinate, there are currently 10 warrant officers serving and providing expert work, knowledge and advice in their various fields. Domenech's work focuses on ground-based midcourse defense, an element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System, which provides the capability to detect, track and destroy ballistic missile threats to protect the United States and its citizens.“What we do is a vital to USASMDC’s mission to protect the homeland,” Domenech said. “The GMD is an important component of missile defense, which provides security to the nation 24/7/365. We are the ‘300 protecting 300 million.’”Col. Chris Williams, commander of the 100th Missile Defense Brigade, said that warrant officers in the air and missile defense community tend to develop a natural curiosity for a system or platform they work with, which leads them to becoming subject matter experts.“Warrant officers in GMD are truly a special breed,” Williams said. “Natural curiosity is a must have for them. Over time they develop a tremendous depth of knowledge about the ground-based midcourse defense Fire Control System, architecture, maintenance of systems and ground-base interceptors, tactics, techniques and procedures, gunnery qualifications and most importantly, leadership. This is accomplished through years of crew duty, and working with GMD partners and stakeholders, such as the Missile Defense Agency and industry leaders.”While an incredibly important job, Domenech said working in GMD can also be an exciting and challenging experience.“Working in GMD is dynamic and complex, always changing,” Domenech said. “That is what I love about this field; new technological developments always tend to surprise you, and the learning curve never drops.”Domenech will attend the 140A Command and Control Systems Integrator Warrant Officer Basic Course in 2021 to continue her training to become an expert in her field and provide the knowledge and leadership needed to keep the United States safe from adversaries.