FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Fort Leonard Wood senior leaders and Army warrant officers from across the installation came together Wednesday, in celebration of the 105th anniversary of the Army’s Warrant Officer Corps.
The events started at 6 a.m., with a fun run on the Engineer Trail.
Warrant Officer Pierce Fryga, a student at the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School’s Warrant Officer Basic Course, said the run was his favorite event of the day.
“I enjoyed the run this morning. It was great to see all of the warrant officers get together to celebrate the birthday,” Fryga said.
Warrant officers attended a professional development event in Lincoln Hall Auditorium, where the regimental chief warrant officers led a discussion on Army modernization and the role of the warrant officer in the future — the Army of 2030.
The celebration continued with a lunch held at the 84th Chemical Battalion and 58th Transportation Battalion’s dining facility and ended with a cake-cutting ceremony in Hoge Hall.
Guest speaker, Maj. Gen. Christopher Beck, U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood commanding general, said he was honored to be a part of the celebration.
“What makes the Warrant Officer Corps so incredibly important to our Army is the technical, tactical and scientific skill sets that you all bring to the fight,” Beck said. “They got it right 105 years ago. When you look at the warrant officers of today — you are all incredible professionals.”
The most senior and most junior warrant officers assisted Beck with the ceremonial cake-cutting. Chief Warrant Officer 5 Mark Arnold, the most senior, passed the cake to the youngest, Fryga, who just became a warrant officer last year.
Arnold, the former regimental chief warrant officer for the U.S. Army Military Police School, said he is in the process of transitioning out of the Army after serving 37 years — 26 years of that spent as a warrant officer. He said the best way to explain what a warrant officer is, is to say, “we are the subject matter experts in the field that we study.”
He said starting his career as an enlisted Soldier gave him a unique insight into, “what Soldiers need to do and to have to complete the missions. As a warrant officer I could advise commanders on giving our Soldiers the proper resources to be successful.”
For Soldiers thinking about making the leap from enlisted to warrant officer, Arnold had some advice.
“Just do it. Do it now. Do it immediately,” Arnold said. “Being a warrant officer is the best rank in the Army. I have never regretted my decision to become a warrant officer. Do not hesitate to reach out to current warrant officers to help get your package started.”
Fryga said Soldiers wanting to be warrant officers should concentrate on being, “the best non-commissioned officer you can be — all of that will translate into being the best warrant officer you can be.”
The Warrant Officer Corps traces its roots back to 1918, when Congress established the Army Mine Planter Service as part of the Coastal Artillery Corps. A total of 40 warrant officers served as masters, mates, chief engineers and assistant engineers on each mine-planting vessel. This is also when the official color of the Army warrant officer came to be brown, based on the color of the strands from the burlap bags the Mine Planter Service personnel wore as their insignia of rank.
More information about the Army Warrant Officer Corps is available here.