FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Warrant Officer Candidate Chakia Jackson said she enjoyed the role she played in helping shape some of the Army’s newest Soldiers, when she was a staff sergeant, serving as a senior drill sergeant with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment. Before that, as an Army Petroleum Supply Specialist — the 92F military occupational specialty — Jackson said she loved her job ensuring units received the fuel and water they needed.
Now, as she gets ready to attend the five-week Warrant Officer Candidate School at Fort Novosel, Alabama — and after that, the Warrant Officer Basic Course to become a 923A Petroleum Systems Technician — Jackson said she looks forward to taking on a new role in the Army, that of a technical expert, combat leader, trainer and advisor.
“I believe my experiences will help me make a great warrant officer because I take care of people,” Jackson said. “When you take care of people, they take care of you. Then, they respect you and want to be loyal to you. After that, all other Army Values fall into place.”
Jackson, originally from Rockford, Illinois, joined the Army seven years ago. Like many people, she said she originally joined “to pay for college,” but she ended up enjoying her experience so much, she decided to stick with it and see where her Army career would take her.
“When I was out in the field learning my job — because that’s really how we learn our job as a 92 Fox — supporting different battalions just made me feel like I was a valued asset to the team,” she said. “And then, one of my platoon sergeants told us to take pride in everything we did. From then on, I just grew to love my job because of the camaraderie I had with my platoon and the way we made a difference across the whole brigade. Everybody needs fuel, and we were a fuel and water platoon, so we supported the whole brigade.”
While learning the ins and outs of her MOS early in her career, Jackson said she also had her first experience working with a warrant officer — it was eye-opening to see someone of a higher rank working alongside the junior enlisted counterparts in the unit.
“There was this warrant officer gauging a fuel truck,” she said. “I then thought to myself that even though he was a warrant officer, he was still engaged with his Soldiers. He was taking care of his Soldiers and completing the mission. Since then, I was inspired.”
Jackson said she saw the warrant officer role as the right fit for her, personally. She said she likes the idea of being an amplifier, of sorts, for good ideas as she becomes that technical expert and advisor for a unit.
“Situations I’ve been in, I realized that sometimes rank matters,” she said. “It gives more weight to your words because people do look at rank and experience when it comes to listening to new ideas. For me, I can learn from a private just as well as I can learn from an NCO or an officer, because those privates — nowadays, you have people coming into the Army with different degrees, and you just never know what that person might have. Their ideas might be better than mine. I want to continue making changes by showing them that their words and ideas matter.”
Warrant officer candidates are assigned a mentor, Jackson said, who provides “guidance, advice and support” throughout the training preparation period, while also helping the candidates build a more comprehensive understanding of future requirements.
Jackson’s mentor, U.S. Army Engineer School Regimental Chief Warrant Officer 5 Willie Gadsden Jr., called her leadership and technical abilities “truly exceptional.”
“Her inspiring leadership style and deep technical expertise make her a valuable asset to the U.S. Army,” Gadsden said. “I have no doubt she will excel in her future role.”
Jackson, Gadsden added, has an “innate ability to motivate and inspire those around her, instilling a sense of unity and purpose within her team.”
“Her leadership style is rooted in respect, integrity and a genuine concern for the welfare of her fellow Soldiers,” he said. “Furthermore, WOC Jackson’s technical acumen is truly commendable. Throughout her training, she has displayed a profound understanding of the intricate systems and procedures crucial to her role. Her dedication to continuous learning and adaptability has enabled her to swiftly acquire new skills, making her an invaluable resource in tackling complex challenges.”
Jackson, who one day wants to be a regimental chief warrant officer — like her mentor — said she’s thankful to everyone who has helped shape her into a future Army leader, including teaching her the skill of adaptability — she highlighted, once again, “you learn from everybody.”
“If somebody doesn’t know something, I should be (there as) the technical expert in that field,” she said. “I can help solve problems, but no one should ever be afraid to take on new ideas.”
More information on career opportunities as an Army Warrant Officer is available here.