***image1***The U.S. Army recently took a positive step in recognizing the important contributions of a small but invaluable member of its ranks – the warrant officer. As of July 9, all warrant officers replaced the “Eagle Rising” insignia on their left collar with their appropriate branch insignia.
Locally, the 21st Theater Support Command marked the change in a ceremony led by Col. Rebecca Halstead, 21st TSC deputy commanding general.
This uniform change is a step toward full integration into the branch-based systems of the larger officer corps. Yet, as with any change in Army policy, there are as many different reactions as there are Soldiers.
Chief Warrant Officer 5 Eric Smith, 200th Materiel Manage-ment Center Readiness and Analysis Branch chief said, “It’s not what you wear on your collar (that is important) … it’s what’s in your heart.”
According to Chief Warrant Officer 3 Michael Lucento, 21st TSC, Support Operations Electronic Systems Mainte-nance, “It’s a change in the right direction. This move will align us with the officers more than we are now so we can take advantage of military schooling.”
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Gerson Hernandez, 2-502nd Aviation Logistical Technician, voiced another opinion. “I would like to stick with the ‘Rising Eagle.’ Some people are looking forward to it … some are not.”
More than 25,000 men and women of the active Army and reserve components comprise the Army Warrant Officer Corps. They constitute less than two percent of the total Army and less than 14 percent of the officer corps.
However, these technical experts manage and maintain increasingly complex battlefield systems and enhance the Army’s ability to defend national interests and to fight and win the nation’s wars.
The change in uniform is not the first step the warrant officer component has taken in its journey for recognition in the officer corps.
Additionally, the Army has approved a pay table reform for warrant officers that will counter targeted raises NCOs received several years ago. The larger pay differential will serve as an incentive for NCOs to become warrant officers.