FORT MEADE, Md. — Attaining the rank of warrant officer — the highly skilled, single-track specialty officer — in today’s Army is a goal for some who seek more challenges in life and work. For one talented NETCOM warrant officer, it was more than a challenge. It was also a family matter as he followed in his father’s footsteps.
Warrant Office 4 Marvin F. De Ocampo, born and raised in the Philippines, said “I was drawn to electronics and maintenance at a young age due to my father’s trade as an electronic technician in the Philippines. I tinkered with circuit designs before I joined the Army.”
De Ocampo immigrated to the United States when he was 18 and from there, he worked on getting a college degree. “I have an associate degree from Central Texas College; bachelor’s degree from Troy University; and a master’s degree from American Military/Public University,” said De Ocampo.
“I joined the Army to gain new skills and opportunity in January 2001. My enlisted MOS was 94D, air traffic control equipment repairer,” said De Ocampo. “Signal and cyber MOSes were my first choices but was not able to get into any of those so I asked the Army Career Counseling for the first open MOS that will allow me to work on electronics equipment.”
Joining the Army and getting a job where he worked on electronics equipment was the first step, so naturally the next would be to up the ante and focus on becoming an Army Warrant Officer.
“Transitioning to the warrant officer cohort was a tough decision but I knew I wanted to continue serving in a technical capacity,” said De Ocampo. “In addition, I had great warrant officer mentors that encouraged me to take the next step and become a warrant officer. I graduated the Warrant Officer Candidate School in October 2008.”
Having great mentors was a factor that made the transition easier. “(Retired) Chief Warrant Officer’s 4 Jeffrey Murray and David Luplow were my mentors as a young warrant officer, ensuring I transitioned well,” said De Ocampo. “(Retired) Chief Warrant Officer 5 John Howze made an impact on my career and professional development as a senior CW2. Currently, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Jeffery Heil is my primary mentor and pushing to unlock more of my potential.”
The challenging assignments and positions De Ocampo held were also an integral in shaping the professional he would become. “All my assignments were special,” said De Ocampo. “I made a point of learning and thriving in the positions and opportunities my supervisors gave me.”
“Serving as a training, advising and counseling Officer for the 1st Warrant Officer Company, Warrant Officer Career College, was an honor and privilege. Being part of the mentorship of future warrant officers during their initial leadership training is rewarding because you learn as much from them as they learn from you,” De Ocampo explained.
Of course, some assignments were more memorable than others. “As a unit commander of the only air traffic control support maintenance company in the Army for nearly three years was probably one of the top highlights of my career as a Soldier and a warrant officer,” said De Ocampo. “Ensuring the unit is ready to support multi-theater and large-scale combat operation is challenging. In addition, steering the organization to meet the current and future need of the Army through force design update and operational changes required 100% support and confidence from every individual in the organization and command teams and staffs of the Air Traffic Services Command and Forces Command.”
Some of the challenges serving in maintenance and logistics field were related to knowledge. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions,” said De Ocampo. “There are lots of areas that impact maintenance and logistics. Funding, supply and transportation impacts maintenance operations. Understanding funding streams; supply activities; and all facets of transportation and shipping makes it easier to execute maintenance operations regardless of unit type.”
Continuous learning is a good way to describe De Ocampo’s current efforts. “I want to learn and contribute as best I can during my time here. Maintenance and readiness visibility are huge part of what I can bring to the table as a warrant officer,” said De Ocampo. “So, being part of a group of experts that discusses and develops ways to improve and maintain our readiness to be able to fight tonight is a good goal to accomplish.”
De Ocampo’s current position at 7th Signal Command is both challenging and rewarding.
“I am Responsible for the Commanding General's maintenance program,” said De Ocampo. “I advise the G4 on the readiness, sustainment and system integration of the strategic Communication Network fleet and infrastructure. I also provide operational endurance to three Brigade Commanders overseeing 44 Network Enterprise Centers and nine strategic units by identifying and filling sustainment gaps; provide assistance on securing transportation requirements of subordinate units; leverages the subject matter experts and strategic and sustainment partners to provide resources and support to the Brigades and NECs.”
When asked what he enjoyed most about his career, his answer was straightforward and simple. “Continuous development as a logistician and mentoring others,” De Ocampo said.
“The United States Army provides plenty of opportunity for anyone that is looking for it,” said De Ocampo as he closed out the interview with some words of inspiration for others. “The workload varies between MOS’ and type of units. For those Soldiers thinking of becoming a warrant officer, the road begins with a self-assessment. Warrant Officers are expected to be subject matter experts, problem solvers, advisers, leaders, and mentors.”