FORT SILL, Oklahoma (Dec. 10, 2020) -- Early in his Army service, then-Pvt. Edwin De La Cruz Jr. recalled being called into his section chief’s office. Sgt. 1st Class Addison James asked him if he planned to make the Army a career.“Absolutely, chief,” said De La Cruz.James proceeded to offer him some advice: “One, do the right thing when told to do something; two, be in the right uniform; and three, be on time,” said De La Cruz.The young Soldier followed his guidance and attributed much of it for his success in the Army.De La Cruz reached the pinnacle of the warrant officer cohort being promoted to chief warrant officer 5 on Dec. 2.Dozens of his fellow Soldiers from the Long Range Precision Fires Cross Functional Team, co-workers, family, and friends attended the ceremony at the Field Artillery Museum. It was also live streamed.“The hard work paid off; it’s been 23 years since I came in the Army,” said De La Cruz.A field artillery targeting technician (Military Occupational Specialty 131A), De La Cruz finished the story telling how he imparted those same words to James’ son, who is now a private at a fort in Alaska.There are only about 15 CW5s in the 131A MOS, said De La Cruz. His promotion means a transfer to a Forces Command unit at the Corps level, where he’ll be a senior targeting officer.Brig. Gen. John Rafferty, Long Range Precision Fires Cross Functional Team director, officiated the ceremony.He said the promotion was well earned and well deserved, and added that anyone who has worked with De La Cruz knew it was inevitable that he would attain CW5.The general said De La Cruz epitomizes the four traits that he looks for in a warrant officer.Foremost you are a leader, Rafferty said. Second, you are a technical expert.The third quality that warrants provide is candid, unbiased, unvarnished feedback, the general continued. The fourth feature is an intangible – a can-do spirit and attitude which is infectious.“Officers are responsible for the unit, noncommissioned officers are responsible to the unit, and then warrant officers are really responsible for getting it done,” Rafferty said. “Our three communities work together to accomplish missions.”At the recent Project Convergence 20 exercise, which featured Extended Range Cannon Artillery at Yuma, Arizona, De La Cruz was recognized as the MVP, said Rafferty.BioThe general proceeded to give a detailed account of De La Cruz’s career, which began at age 17, when he joined the Army after graduating from high school in 1997. He became a cannon crewmember MOS 13B.“When I started my career I wanted to see how high I could go in the ranks,” De La Cruz said.His first duty assignment was with the 1st Battalion, 10th Field Artillery, 3rd Brigade Combat Team at Fort Benning, Georgia. That was one of the first brigade combat teams, noted Rafferty.“It was one of those special units where I really think you (De La Cruz) honed your craft in being a Soldier in a ready unit that trained really hard, and put great demands on Soldiers,” Rafferty said, “and you came out of that as a leader.”After working and talking with warrant officers, De La Cruz decided that was the career track that he wanted to pursue.In 2004, after seven years of enlisted service, he was selected to attend Warrant Officer Candidate School. He completed it in 2005. He was appointed as a Warrant Officer 1 field artillery targeting technician.He would go on to serve as a leader in multiple echelons at the battalion, brigade, and division levels.According to his bio, De La Cruz’s most notable targeting positions include senior division targeting officer for the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas; and lead joint targeting officer for the 3rd Infantry Division Headquarters in Afghanistan, where he deployed for one year.De La Cruz has seven combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has been the lead targeting officer at the LRPF Cross Functional team for 2.5 years.The general noted the rarity of a CW5 promotion.“This is the first time I’ve done something like this, and it probably will be the only time,” Rafferty said. “I’m glad that it’s you (De La Cruz) that I get a chance to help out today.”During the ceremony, Rafferty replaced De La Cruz’s shoulder boards, and also administered the Oath of the Commissioned Officer.In his speech, De La Cruz thanked his family who was watching virtually, as well as many Soldiers by name.“This promotion is not for me, but for those who have supported me and who have been a part of my journey for the last 23 years,” he said. “This is definitely a blessing and a milestone in my career.”De La Cruz ended by thanking the museum staff for use of the facility; the 77th Army Band, which provided entertainment; Master Sgt. Wesley Walker, the master of ceremonies; and his four children.“I love you with all my heart. I know Dad is sometimes gone a lot for work, but I truly appreciate you guys understanding what I do,” De La Cruz said. “I will always be here for you, and I am proud of all your accomplishments.”Afterward, guests congratulated De La Cruz and were treated to Puerto Rican food in a wing of the museum.