WASHINGTON — If one were to spend nine years training and conducting arduous missions all over the world, that would only cover half of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Sarah Stone's career. An 18-year veteran in the watercraft field, she is currently assigned as an instructor for the Warrant Officer Advanced Course for marine deck warrant officers at the Maritime and Intermodal Training Department, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. She is one of only four female marine deck warrant officers currently serving "the Army's navy."
Growing up, Stone’s parents both served in the Marine Corps, with her father retiring after 29 years of service. The middle child of five children, she loved sports, especially soccer and cross country, which she still runs whenever she can today. This active lifestyle and military background helped influence her decision to join the Army.
“My oldest sister joined the Army first, and then my next older sister joined the Marine Corps,” she said. “And it was really my dad who was more favorable toward us joining the Army, and just from talking to my sisters, I felt like the Army had more to offer for what I was looking for.”
Upon joining the Army, Stone was not sure about what her actual job would be.
“I didn’t know this job existed,” she said. “I was trying to be [military police] like my sister, but it didn’t work out. This was the next job that really grabbed my attention, so I went with it.”
Stone joined the Army in 2004 as an 88K watercraft operator. Watercraft operators are responsible for navigating, piloting and maintaining Army watercraft.
A career as a watercraft operator presented unique opportunities to see the world and experience many different cultures. However, juggling home life and the high mission demand of the field proved to be difficult as her career developed.
But Stone still enjoyed it and the opportunities the Army was bringing her, including working with different branches during multiple joint-operations missions.
“A lot of times our missions and what we do take us away from the Army side of things,” she said. “We get to work a lot with different services. We do a ton of joint operations and get to do really unique jobs with the Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard.”
After nearly two decades of service, her hard work and knowledge of the job field has left her with a wide range of licenses and qualifications to serve aboard all watercraft within the U.S. Army’s fleet.
Stone has served as a vessel master on the 174-foot-long Landing Craft Utility 2000; as a bosun, second mate and first mate aboard the 273-foot-long Logistic Support Vessel; a third mate aboard the 128-foot-long Large Tug 800; a seaman aboard the Small Tug 900; and in harbormaster operations.
For the last two years Stone has taught the Warrant Officer Basic Course for marine deck warrant officers, where she guides new warrant officers on the technical aspects of Army watercraft and watercraft operations, setting them up for successful careers among the top professionals in their field.
Stone now teaches the Warrant Officer Advanced Course which, she says, brings new perspectives on the positions she previously held because it allows her to see what can be improved in the field from a senior level.
For future recruits looking to enter the field, Stone offers up these words of wisdom: “I really love this job. I love being out on the water. Our crews are great. The Soldiers that I've worked with, they're amazing. I think that this is the best job I could have ever chosen. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. As long as you work hard, you’re going to be rewarded, you’re going to progress.”
For more information on careers in the Army, visit GoArmy.com.