Chief warrant officer 4 army

Chief warrant officer 4 army DEFAULT

Warrant officer (United States)

For other uses of warrant officer, see warrant officer.

In the United States Armed Forces, the ranks of warrant officer (grades W‑1 to W‑5; see NATO: WO1–WO5) are rated as officers above all non-commissioned officers, candidates, cadets, and midshipmen, but subordinate to the lowest officer grade of O‑1 (NATO: OF‑1).[1][2][3] This application differs from the Commonwealth of Nations and other militaries, where warrant officers are the most senior of the other ranks (NATO: OR‑8 and OR‑9), equivalent to the U.S. Armed Forces grades of E‑8 and E‑9.

Warrant officers are highly skilled, single-track specialty officers. While the ranks are authorized by Congress, each branch of the uniformed services selects, manages, and uses warrant officers in slightly different ways. For appointment to the rank of warrant officer one (W‑1), normally a warrant is approved by the secretary of the respective service.[4] However, appointment to this rank can come via commission by the service secretary, the department secretary, or by the president,[4] but this is less common. For the chief warrant officer ranks (CW‑2 to CW‑5), these warrant officers are commissioned by the president. Both warrant officers and chief warrant officers take the same oath as other commissioned officers (O‑1 to O‑10).

Warrant officers can and do command detachments, units, vessels, aircraft, and armored vehicles, as well as lead, coach, train, and counsel subordinates. However, the warrant officer's primary task as a leader is to serve as a technical expert, providing valuable skills, guidance, and expertise to commanders and organizations in their particular field.

Rank insignia[edit]



Former U.S. Army warrant officer branch insignia, called the "Eagle Rising"—used from 1920 to 2004—[5]and is still used informally to represent the warrant officer cohort

The Army warrant officer traces lineage to 1896 with the War Department's creation of civilian Headquarters Clerks and Pay Clerks. In 1916, an Army Judge Advocate General review determined that field clerks should be members of the military. Legislation in 1916 authorized those positions as military rather than civilian and created the ranks of Army Field Clerk (the former rank of Headquarters Clerk) and Quarter Master Corps Field Clerk (the former rank of Pay Clerk). In July, 1917, all Field Clerks were considered enlisted and were assigned an enlisted uniform. Their branch insignia was two crossed quill pens (worn on a disk pin on the left side of the standing collar and a freework insignia on the visored cap).

On 19 December 1917, Special Regulation 41 stated that the Army Field Clerk and Quarter Master Corps Field Clerk ranks were authorized the same uniform as an officer. Their rank insignia was now a freework pin of crossed quill pens on either side of the freework "U.S." pins worn on the standing collar of the M1909 tunic. They were not permitted the brown mohair cuff braid band of an Army officer, but were authorized a silver-and-black braid hatcord for wear with the M1911 Campaign Hat and the officer's "G.I. Eagle" on the M1902 peaked cap.

On 9 July 1918, Congress established the rank and grade of warrant officer concurrent with establishing the Army Mine Planter Service (AMPS)[6] within the Coast Artillery Corps. Creation of the Mine Planter Service replaced an informal service crewed by civilians, replacing them with military personnel, of whom the vessel's master, mates, chief engineer, and assistant engineers were Army warrant officers. Warrant officer rank was indicated by rings of brown cord worn on the lower sleeve of the uniform jacket: two for 2nd Mate and 2nd Assistant Engineer, three for 1st Mate and Assistant Engineer, and four for Ship's Master and Chief Engineer.

Since that time, the position of warrant officer in the Army has been refined. On 21 August 1941, under Pub.L. 77–230, Congress authorized two grades: warrant officer (junior grade) and chief warrant officer. In 1942, temporary appointments in about 40 occupational areas were made. The insignia for warrant officer (junior grade) was a gold bar 3⁄8 inch (0.95 cm) wide and 1 inch (2.5 cm) long, rounded at the ends with brown enamel on top and a latitudinal center of gold 1/8 (0.32 cm) inch wide. The insignia for chief warrant officer was a gold bar 3⁄8 inch (0.95 cm) in width and 1 inch (2.5 cm) in length with rounded ends, brown enamel on top with a longitudinal center stripe of gold 1⁄8 inch (0.32 cm) wide. The brown enamel backing of the warrant officer insignia was based on the color of the sleeve insignia of rank for ship's officers of the AMPS.[7][8][9]

On 18 July 1942 Pub.L. 77–658, the Flight Officer Act, was enacted, creating the rank of flight officer, equivalent to warrant officer (junior grade) and assigned to the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF). Insignia was the same as for a warrant officer (junior grade), except the backing was in blue enamel rather than brown. Most flight officers were graduates of various USAAF flight-training programs, including power and glider pilots, and navigator and bombardier ratings. Graduates were appointed to the rating of flight officer, but some of each graduating class were commissioned as second lieutenants. Once reaching operational units and after gaining flying experience, flight officers were later offered direct commissions as lieutenants.

Flight sergeants, who were assigned as transport and glider pilots, were appointed as flight officers when the new rank was created. Some of the first eligible flight officers were Americans who had served as sergeant pilots in the Royal Air Force and who transferred to the USAAF after the U.S. entered the war.

In November 1942, the War Department defined the rank order as having warrant officers above all enlisted grades and below all commissioned grades. In March 1944, the first six women were appointed to the warrant officer grades as Band Leaders and administrative specialists.

In 1947, legislation was sought to introduce four grades of warrant officers. Proposed rank titles were: chief warrant officer, senior warrant officer, warrant officer first class, and warrant officer.

In 1949, Pub.L. 81–351, the Career Compensation Act, created four pay grades, W-1 through W-4, for all the armed services. The two warrant ranks were unchanged, but warrant officer (junior grade) was pay grade W-1, while chief warrant officer started at W-2 and could advance to W-3 and -4.

In late 1949, the Warrant Officer Flight Program was created, which trained thousands of warrant officer pilots. The personnel were to be trained by the US Air Force, but controlled by the US Army Transportation Corps. The first helicopter pilot class was 51A (April 1951 to December 1951), which was trained to fly H-19 Chickasaws. The program was temporarily cancelled in 1959 due to military budget cuts, but was reinstated in 1963 to meet the increased demand.

In 1954, the Warrant Officer Act, Pub.L. 83–379, created separate ranks for each pay grade, W-1 through W-4. On 10 September 1956, AR 670-5 authorized the approved insignia for the new ranks that consisted of a metal frame around a brown enamel bar. The insignia for warrant officer 1 (Grade W-1) and chief warrant officer 2 (Grade W-2) was a gold metal frame with one or two horizontal metal bands across it. Chief warrant officer 3 and chief warrant officer 4 had a silver frame with one or two horizontal bands across it.

Due to the demand for helicopter pilots in Vietnam, the number of warrant officer pilots grew from about 2,960 in 1966 to more than 12,000 by 1970. In 1973, a reduction in force began and chief warrant officer helicopter pilots were offered promotion to the rank of first lieutenant to retain combat veterans.

On 10 June 1970, the Army adopted a redesigned warrant officer insignia that was easier to identify. It was a silver bar with one to four black enamel squares on it (one per level of rank). "In July 1972, Army Warrant Officers began wearing the newly designed silver rank insignia, with black squares..."[10] (Although wear of the new grade of rank insignia was not mandatory until August, 1973.)

Beginning in 1977 the Army began commissioning "chief warrant officers" (CWOs) upon appointment/promotion to the grade of "chief warrant officer two" (W-2) and above. This brought Army CWOs in-line with those of the "Sea Services" (i.e., Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard) whom had always been "commissioned warrant officers."

In 8 April 1988, the rank of master warrant officer (MW4) was created in the grade of W-4. Candidates were drawn from chief warrant officer 4s (CW4) who had attended a special course at the warrant officer school at Fort Rucker. The first class graduated in 8 December 1988. The Warrant Officer Management Act Pub.L. 102–190 of 5 December 1991, created the paygrade of W5 and the separate rank of master warrant officer (CW5), since renamed as chief warrant officer five.

On 9 July 2004 the warrant officer branch insignia (also known as the "Eagle Rising" or "Squashed Bug") was discontinued.[11] The warrant officer's branch of assignment will now be worn instead.

Mission and use[edit]

Army warrant officers are technical experts, combat leaders, trainers, and advisors. They serve in 17 branches and 67 warrant officer specialties,[12] spanning the Active Component (i.e., Regular Army), the Army National Guard, and the U.S. Army Reserve. Warrant officers command the Army's waterborne and seagoing vessels, most Army bands, and as aircraft commanders of most Army Aviation aircraft. In addition, they may be found in command of various small units and detached teams.[13]

The Army uses warrant officers to serve in specific positions which require greater longevity than the billet duration of commanders and other staff officers. The duration of these assignments results in increased technical expertise, as well as increased leadership and management skills.

Army warrant officers are officially addressed as Mister or Miss/Misses and warrant officers of grades CW2-CW5 can also be referred to as "Chief."[14]


The body of warrant officers in the Army is composed of two communities: technicians and aviators. Technicians typically must be sergeants (E-5, 'NATO: OR-5) or above in a related specialty to qualify to become a warrant officer. A waiver may be granted on a case-by-case basis if the applicant has comparable experience in the government service or the civilian sector. The aviation field is open to all applicants, military or civilian, who meet the stringent medical and aptitude requirements.[15]

After selection to the warrant officer program, candidates attend Warrant Officer Candidate School (WOCS), which is developed and administered by the Warrant Officer Career College (USAWOCC) at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Army candidates on active duty must attend the course at Fort Rucker. Candidates in the United States National Guard attend the course either at Fort Rucker, or one of the National Guard's Regional Training Institutes. After graduation, all candidates are promoted to warrant officers (WO1). Technicians attend training at their respective branch's warrant officer basic course (WOBC), where they study advanced subjects in their technical area before moving on to their assignments in the Army. Aviation-branched warrant officers remain at Fort Rucker to complete flight training and the aviation WOBC.

Special Forces warrant officer candidates from both the active and national guard components attend the Special Forces Warrant Officer Technical and Tactical Certification Course (SFWOTTC) at the Special Forces Warrant Officer Institute, John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The course includes both WOCS and WOBC, tailored to the unique training and experience of the Special Forces Sergeant. Candidates must be a staff sergeant (E-6, NATO: OR-6) and above, and have served three years on an operational detachment.

In 2008, the Army tested limited training of warrant officers at the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, a course normally reserved exclusively for majors.[16] The CGSC Class of 2009 included five warrant officers, and the Class of 2010 included nine warrant officers. Three 2010 graduates continued on to higher-level training at the School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) in 2011.[17]


The Army warrant officer[Note 1] is a self-aware and adaptive technical expert, combat leader, trainer, and advisor. Through progressive levels of expertise in assignments, training, and education, the warrant officer administers, manages, maintains, operates, and integrates Army systems and equipment across the full spectrum of Army operations. Warrant officers are innovative integrators of emerging technologies, dynamic teachers, confident warfighters, and developers of specialized teams of soldiers. They support a wide range of Army missions throughout their careers. Warrant officers in the Army are accessed with specific levels of technical ability. They refine their technical expertise and develop their leadership and management skills through tiered progressive assignment and education. The following are specific characteristics and responsibilities of the separate, successive warrant officer grades:

A. Warrant officer one (WO1) / chief warrant officer two (CW2): A WO1 is an officer appointed by warrant with the requisite authority pursuant to assignment level and position given by the Secretary of the Army. CW2s and above are commissioned officers with the requisite authority pursuant to assignment level and position as given by the President of the United States. WO1's and CW2's primary focus is becoming proficient and working on those systems linked directly to their AOC/MOS, that is, their area of concentration (officer AOC), or an enlisted rank's military occupational specialty (MOS). Warrant officers are classified by warrant officer military occupational specialty, or WOMOS. As they become experts on the systems they operate and maintain, their focus migrates to integrating their systems with other branch systems.

B. Chief warrant officer three (CW3): The CW3s are advanced level technical and tactical experts who perform the primary duties of technical leader, trainer, operator, manager, maintainer, sustainer, integrator, and advisor. They also perform any other branch-related duties assigned to them. As they become more senior, their focus becomes integrating branch systems into larger Army systems.

C. Chief warrant officer four (CW4): The CW4s are senior-level technical and tactical experts who perform the duties of technical leader, manager, maintainer, sustainer, integrator, and advisor and serve in a wide variety of branch level positions. As they become more senior, they focus on integrating branch and Army systems into joint and national-level systems.

D. Chief warrant officer five (CW5): The CW5s are master-level technical and tactical experts who perform the primary duties of technical leader, manager, integrator, and advisor. They are the senior technical experts in their branches and serve at brigade and higher levels. They also serve as Command Chief Warrant Officers (CCWO)[18] for large commands at the brigade level and higher.

Note: Chief warrant officer six was approved by the Army Chief of Staff in 1970 with the anticipation of Congress approving two new grades, W-5 and W-6. However, Congress did not authorize W-5 until 1991 and has still not approved W-6. The original W-5 insignia consisted of a single silver bar superimposed with four equally spaced silver squares with each square bordered in black. In 2004, this insignia was changed to a single silver bar surmounted by a single, narrow, vertical, black stripe, in harmony with the Navy and Marine Corps.[19] The proposed CW6 insignia had two narrow, vertical, parallel, black stripes.[20]

Marine Corps[edit]

Director CWO4 Robert Szabo of East Coast Marine Corps Composite Band speaks with his musicians during rehearsals


The Marine Corps has had warranted officers since 1916, when the Commandant of the Marine Corps made a request to the Secretary of the Navy for the creation of two warrant grades, Marine Gunner and Quartermaster Clerk. Those appointed would be selected from the noncommissioned officer ranks.

On 26 August 1916, Congress increased the Marine Corps strength, which included adding the rank of warrant officer; 43 Marine Gunners and 41 Quartermaster Clerks would be appointed. The first Marine Gunner is believed to have been Henry L. Hulbert.[21] On 22 May 1917, due to commissioned officer shortages, all but three of the appointees were commissioned as temporary second lieutenants. In 1918, the grade of pay clerk was added.

In June, 1926, Congress created the commissioned warrant grades of Chief Marine Gunner, Chief Quartermaster Clerk, and Chief Pay Clerk. Requirements for promotion to chief warrant officer were six years of service as a warrant officer and an examination to qualify.

During World War II, Congress abolished the titles of Marine Gunner, Chief Marine Gunner, Quartermaster Clerk, Chief Quartermaster Clerk, Pay Clerk, and Chief Pay Clerk. Instead, they would be designated warrant officer or commissioned warrant officer. In 1943, all Marine warrant officer ranks were aligned with the other services. They were warrant officer and commissioned warrant officer.

Then in 1949, the grade of WO (paygrade W-1) was created for warrant officers and CWO-2, CWO-3, and CWO-4 (paygrades W-2, W-3, and W-4) were created for commissioned warrant officers. In 1954, title "chief warrant officer" replaced "commissioned warrant officer" for those in grades CWO-2, CWO-3 and CWO-4.

On 1 February 1992, the grade of CWO-5 (paygrade W-5) was created and those who are appointed serve on the highest unit echelon levels. Only 5% of chief warrant officers occupy this grade.


See also: Infantry Weapons Officer

Marine Corps Infantry Weapons Officer insignia

The role and purpose of the chief warrant officer in the United States Marine Corps fulfills the responsibilities as a high-rank 'Subject Matter Expert' within their chosen military occupation specialty, and the additional authority of a commissioned officer.

The chief warrant officers commonly provide their respective Marine units and sections, valuable practical experience, and a master level of technical proficiency. Normally, an Unrestricted officer (2ndLt-General) would not have the opportunity to achieve such specialized skills due to their career progression track being more command-centric and less technical as they advance through the ranks.

Currently, there are three selection program distinctions, with each its own separate qualifications: infantry, recruiter and regular warrant officer. Both active-duty and reserve enlisted (non-commissioned officers) are accepted into the regular program, but Infantry Weapons Officers ("Gunners") and recruiters are only selected from the active-duty component.

The regular Warrant Officer Selection Program requires a minimum of eight years of enlistment upon date of appointment (not commissioned), proof and/or demonstration of their exceedingly technical proficiency within their MOS field, and achieved the rank and pay grade of Sergeant (E-5) or above.

However, the duties of an Infantry Weapons Officer are much more demanding. The Infantry Weapons Officer Program requires a minimum of sixteen years in MOS 0300 (Infantry) and achieved at least the rank and grade of Gunnery Sergeant (E-7). Given the extended time in service requirements and expertise, these Gunners are commissioned as a chief warrant officer 2 directly from enlisted and wear the Bursting Bomb on their left collar.

Recruiter's selection is slightly different being they must be a minimum rank of Staff Sergeant (E-6) and hold the MOS 8412, Career Recruiter, as well as have served a successful recruiting tour as a 8412. Staff Sergeants will appoint to the rank of WO, while the Gunnery Sergeants will commission as a CWO2. The time in service requirements remain the same of 8 years.

When the Marines are selected for the program, they are given additional leadership and management training during the Warrant Officer Basic Course (WOBC), conducted at The Basic School, in Quantico, Virginia.[22]


USN Chief Warrant Officer Specialty Devices.png

In the United States Navy, the warrant and chief warrant officer ranks are held by technical specialists who direct specific activities essential to the proper operation of the ship, which also require commissioned officer authority.[23] Navy warrant officers serve in 30 specialties covering five categories. Warrant officers should not be confused with the limited duty officer (LDO) in the Navy. Warrant officers perform duties that are directly related to their previous enlisted service and specialized training. This allows the Navy to capitalize on the experience of warrant officers without having to frequently transition them to other duty assignments for advancement.[24] With the exception of the Navy's short-lived flying chief warrant officer program,[25] all Navy warrant officers are accessed from the chief petty officer pay grades, E-7 through E-9, analogous to a senior noncommissioned officer in the other services, and must have a minimum 14 years time in service.[26]


Warrant Officer

Comm. Warrant Officer

The Navy has had warrant officers among its ranks since 23 December 1775, when John Berriman received a warrant to act as purser aboard the brigantine, USS Andrew Doria. That warrant was considered a patent of trust and honor, but was not considered a commission to command. Since this first appointment, Navy warrant officers have held positions as surgeons, master mates, boatswains, carpenters, and chaplains.[23] Until 1912, a midshipman graduating from the United States Naval Academy was required to have two years of sea duty as a warrant officer before receiving a commission as an ensign.[27] Although based on the British Royal Navy warrant officer ranks that were in place until 1949, the United States had never needed to address an issue of social class, which resulted in warranted officers in the Royal Navy.[28] However, the United States Navy experienced a similar issue of rank, where highly competent senior noncommissioned officers are required to report to inexperienced junior officers, giving rise to special status to the Navy's chief warrant officers.[28]

In 1995, the Navy ceased using the rank of warrant officer 1 (WO-1), also known as pay grade W-1.[29] The Navy appoints their warrant officers directly to the rank of CWO2 (i.e., as chief warrant officers), and are "commissioned" officers, with the Navy Personnel Command/Bureau of Personnel (NAVPERSCOM/BUPERS) managing all grades (CWO2 through CWO5) by billets appropriate for each rank. In past years, some CWOs resigned their warrant commission prior to retirement to receive greater retirement pay at their former senior enlisted rank.[30] However, this pay disparity has effectively disappeared in recent years and all Navy CWOs now retire at the appropriate officer grade.

Flying chief warrant officer[edit]

CWO2 Leighton DaCosta performs pre-flight setup on a P-3 Orionduring the platform phase of the Chief Warrant Officer Flight Training Program, circa 2009
U.S. Navy Aviation Operations Technician specialty device (sleeve and shoulder boardvariant)

The Navy started a Flying Chief Warrant Officer Program in 2006 to acquire additional naval aviators (pilots) and naval flight officers (NFOs), who would fly naval aircraft, but who would not compete with traditional unrestricted line (URL) officers in naval aviation for eventual command of squadrons, air wings, air stations, etc., the numbers of such commands which had been greatly reduced in the post-Cold War era, thereby limiting the command opportunity for URL pilots and NFOs.

Upon being commissioned as CWO2, selectees underwent warrant officer indoctrination and then flight school for 18 to 30 months. After completion of flight school, selectees were placed in one of four types of squadrons: ship-based Helicopter Maritime Strike (HSM) or Helicopter Sea Combat (HSC) squadrons, and land-based fixed-wing maritime patrol and reconnaissance (VP) and fleet air reconnaissance (VQ). These pilots and NFOs were then trained to operate the P-3 Orion, the EP-3E Aries II, the E-6 Mercury, or variants of the MH-60 Seahawk. Those in the VP community would also eventually qualify to fly the P-8 Poseidon once that aircraft began replacing the P-3 in 2012. The Navy re-evaluated the program in 2011, when the last of the "flying" chief warrant officers reported to their operational fleet squadrons and opted to subsequently terminate the program. Enlisted sailors in the grades E-5 through E-7 who had at least an associate degree and were not currently serving in the diver, master-at-arms, nuclear, SEAL, SWCC, or EOD communities were eligible to apply.[24][25][31]

Reestablishment of warrant officer one[edit]

U.S. Navy Cyber Warfare Technician specialty device (collar variant)

On 4 June 2018, the Chief of Naval Operations announced the reestablishment of the rank of warrant officer one (pay grade W-1), for cyber warrant officers, and solicited applications for the rank/grade.[32] These warrant officers will receive their appointment via warrant and not via commission.[32] They will incur a six-year service obligation once promoted to W-1. A minimum of three-years in grade with a total service time of 12 years must be achieved before appointment and commission to chief warrant officer (W-2).[32] However, the President also may grant appointments of warrant officers in the grade of W-1 via commission at any time[4] as well as the Secretary of the Navy may also appoint warrant officers in that grade via commission, through additional regulations.[4] In mid-December 2018, the Navy announced that six selectees had been named. They will wear a distinctive cap badge with two crossed anchors.[33]

Air Force[edit]

The United States Air Force no longer uses the warrant officer grade. The USAF inherited warrant officer ranks from the Army at its inception in 1947, but their place in the Air Force structure was never made clear. When Congress authorized the creation of two new senior enlisted ranks in each of the five services in 1958 (implementing them in 1959–1960), Air Force officials privately concluded that these two new "super grades" of senior master sergeant and chief master sergeant (styling the incumbents as "superintendents" vice senior or staff NCOICs as does the USA and USMC) could fill all Air Force needs then performed at the warrant officer level. This was not publicly acknowledged until years later. The Air Force stopped appointing warrant officers in 1959.[24]

The last active-duty Air Force chief warrant officer, CWO4 James H. Long, retired in 1980. The last Air Force Reserve chief warrant officer, CWO4 Bob Barrow, retired in 1992. Upon his retirement, Barrow was honorarily promoted to CWO5, the only person in the Air Force ever to hold this grade.[24]

Coast Guard[edit]

Due to the small size and decentralized organizational structure of the Coast Guard, warrant officers often fill command roles. Warrant officers may serve as officers-in-charge of Coast Guard Stations, or even as command warrant officers. Chief warrant officers fill a variety of billets as they can command larger small boat stations and patrol boats, as specialists and supervisors in other technical areas, and as special agents in the Coast Guard Investigative Service. They wear insignia essentially like that of their Navy counterparts, but with the USCG shield between the rank insignia and the specialty mark, as Coast Guard commissioned officers do with their rank insignia. Like their Navy counterparts, candidates for the rank of chief warrant officer must typically be serving in the chief petty officer grades (E-7 through E-9), however, the Coast Guard also permits selection of first class petty officers (E-6) who are chief petty officer selectees and who are in the top 50% on their advancement list to E-7. The Coast Guard does not use the rank of warrant officer (WO-1). Although authorized in 1994, the Coast Guard has not promoted any of its warrant officers to CWO5.[34]

US Coast Guard Warrant Officer Specialty Markings-Collar.png

Public Health Service Commissioned Corps[edit]

42 U.S.C. § 204, 42 U.S.C. § 207 and 42 U.S.C. § 209 of the U.S. Code of law establishes the use of warrant officers (W-1 to W-4) with specific specialties to the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps for the purpose of providing support to the health and delivery systems maintained by the service, however the grades have never been used in Public Health Service history to date.

United States Maritime Service[edit]

The U.S. Maritime Service, established at 46 U.S. Code § 51701, falls under the authority of the Maritime Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation and is authorized to appoint warrant officers. In accordance with the law, the USMS rank structure must be the same as that of the U.S. Coast Guard, while uniforms worn are those of the U.S. Navy, with distinctive USMS insignia and devices. [35]

Notable warrant officers[edit]

  • CWO2/Chief Carpenter John Arnold Austin, USN
  • FO Gene Autry, USAAF (Equivalent of WO1). (Flew C-109 in C-B-I, TV and Radio star)
  • WO1 Floyd Bennett, USN (Medal of Honor)[36]
  • FO Jackie Coogan, USAAF (Equivalent of WO1) (Distinguished Flying Cross) (Glider Pilot in C-B-I, TV and Movie Star)
  • CW5 David F. Cooper, USA (Distinguished Service Cross)[37]
  • CW4 Michael Durant, USA (Black Hawk Down)
  • MAJ (was CW3) Frederick Edgar Ferguson, USA (Medal of Honor)
  • CWO4 John W. Frederick, Jr., USMC (Navy Cross)[38]
  • James W. Hall, III, USA (convicted of espionage and stripped of rank)
  • CW4 Thomas J. Hennen, USA (Astronaut)
  • WO1 Olive Hoskins USA (the first female warrant officer)
  • CW4 Oscar G. Johnson, USA (Medal of Honor)
  • WO1 John W. Lang, USN (Navy Cross)[39]
  • WO1 Robert Mason, USA (best-selling author)
  • CW2 Jason W. Myers, USA (Distinguished Service Cross)[40]
  • CW4 Michael J. Novosel, USA (Medal of Honor)
  • CW5 Ralph E. Rigby, USA (last continuously serving draftee on active duty in the U.S. Army, retired in 2014)[41]
  • CW2 Louis R. Rocco, USA (Medal of Honor)
  • Captain (was WO Machinist) Donald K. Ross, USN, awarded the first Medal of Honor of World War II
  • MAJ (was WO1) Hugh Thompson, Jr., USA (Soldier's Medal recipient)
  • CW3 Brad R. Torgersen, USAR, multi-award-winning science fiction author
  • WO1 Gore Vidal USA
  • John Anthony Walker, Jr., USN (convicted of espionage and stripped of rank)
  • CWO4 Henry Wildfang, USMC[42][43] (Gray Eagle Award recipient for longest-serving naval aviator; only chief warrant officer in the history of U.S. Naval Aviation so honored)
  • CWO4 Hershel W. Williams, USMC (Medal of Honor)
  • Brig Gen Chuck Yeager, USAF (World War II USAAFflight officer, equivalent to WO-1)
  • CW4 Keith Yoakum, USA (Distinguished Service Cross)[44]
  • CW3 Ronald D. Young Jr., USA (POW, game show contestant)

See also[edit]


  1. ^Warrant officer definitions: (Per Army Pamphlet DA PAM 600-3 Commissioned Officer Professional Development and Career Management, Paragraph 3-9, dated 3 December 2014)


  1. ^Army Regulation 600-20, Army Command Policy, page 5, Table 1-2. Comparable grades among the services |accessdate=25 September 2016
  2. ^Brackin, William L. (1991). Naval Orientation (NAVEDTRA 12966). United States Navy Naval Education and Training Command. p. 9‑9. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
  3. ^Marine Corps Manual w/ch 1-3, page 2-7, paragraph 2101.1.a Officer grades in order of seniority are:, dated 21 March 1980
  4. ^ abcd10 U.S. Code § 571. Warrant officers: grades
  5. ^Origin of the Eagle Rising, Original Distinctive Insignia of the Army Warrant Officer, Warrant Officer Historical Foundation, last updated 1 June 2015, last accessed 14 April 2019
  6. ^ | The California State Military Museum - Forts Under the Sea - Submarine Mine Defense of San Francisco Bay
  7. ^"Warrant Officer History". U.S. Army Warrant Officer Career College. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  8. ^ |Insignia of Grade Warrant - Officers
  9. ^Ship's officers
  10. ^"Army Warrant Officer History 1950–1974". Warrant Officer Historical Foundation. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  11. ^"Warrant officers to sport branch insignia" by Sgt. 1st Class Marcia Triggs. Army News Service (13 April 2004).
  12. ^"Warrant Officer Assignments". U.S. Army Warrant Officer Career Center. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  13. ^United States Army (August 2007). "Army Warrant Officer"(PDF). RPI-938. Retrieved 4 September 2008.
  14. ^Headquarters, Department of the Army. "Military Grade and Rank", "Army Command Policy". Headquarters, Department of the Army. 24 July 2020. Accessed on 06 August 2020.
  15. ^"About the Army: Warrant Officers". United States Army Recruiting Command (USAREC) and the Department of the Army. Retrieved 4 September 2008.
  16. ^Bower, Melissa (18 June 2009). "Largest CGSC-ILEAca,!E+class graduates". United States Army. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  17. ^Bower, Melissa (7 April 2011). "SAMS warrant earns top rank". Fort Leavenworth Lamp. Archived from the original on 10 March 2012. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
  18. ^Jason Cutshaw (September 20, 2019) SMDC command chief warrant officer discusses role
  19. ^
  20. ^ Retrieved 17 January 2017. Warrant Officer Historical Foundation History of Army CW5 Insignia.
  21. ^Bevilacqua, Allan C. Major USMC (Ret) Henry Lewis Hurlbert-Marine GunnerLeatherneck Dec 2008 Vol XCI No 12
  22. ^General Emphasizes Leadership at Warrant Officer Commissioning 2nd Lt. Patrick Boyce, 8 February 2007. Retrieved 25 January 2011.
  23. ^ ab"History of the Warrant Officer". United States Army Warrant Officer Association. Retrieved 18 March 2007.
  24. ^ abcd"Warrant Officer Programs of Other Services". United States Army Warrant Officer Association. Retrieved 18 March 2007.
  25. ^ ab"Flying CWO Program". Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  26. ^"ACTIVE DUTY LIMITED DUTY OFFICER AND CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER IN SERVICE PROCUREMENT BOARDS". US Navy. Washington, D.C.: United States Government. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  27. ^Commission of ensign to graduates of the Naval Academy at end of four years' course, Pub. Law No. 62-98. 37 Stat. 73 (1912).
  28. ^ abThe Naval Officers Guide, 12th ed., L. McComas, US Naval Institute, Annapolis, MD, c2011
  29. ^
  30. ^MILPERSMAN 15560.D, OPNAV 1811.3, OPNAV 1820.1
  31. ^"Flying CWO Program". Retrieved 28 February 2008.
  32. ^ abcMODIFICATION OF THE NAVY CYBER WARRANT OFFICER PROGRAM, Chief of Naval Operations, 2018-06-04
  33. ^Navy appoints first W-1 officers in four decades. What’s next?, Mark D Faram, Defense News, 2018-12-13
  34. ^United States Coast Guard. "USCG Rank Insignias."United States Coast Guard. Department of Homeland Security. website. Retrieved on 8 October 2009.
  35. ^46 U.S. Code § 51701 (c) Ranks, Grades, and Ratings.— The ranks, grades, and ratings for personnel of the Service shall be the same as those prescribed for personnel of the Coast Guard.
  36. ^Floyd Bennett
  37. ^David F. Cooper. "Valor awards for David F. Cooper". Archived from the original on 28 July 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  38. ^John William Frederick, Jr. "Valor awards for John William Frederick, Jr". Archived from the original on 28 July 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  39. ^"TogetherWeServed - WO John LANG". Retrieved 23 July 2014.

U.S. Army Ranks & Insignias

Army Military Ranks & InsigniaU.S. Army ranks and are broken down into three different categories: Officer Ranks, Warrant Officer Ranks, and Enlisted Ranks. In the Army, rank and insignia not only indicates pay grade but also the amount of responsibility that is held.

Enlisted soldiers hold the pay grades of E-1 through E-9, warrant officers have pay grades of W-1 through W-9 and commissioned officers have pay grades of O-1 through O-10. The amount of time spent in each rank is based on averages, where the promotion process can be accelerated by taking advantage of additional training and schooling opportunities.

Learn about the ranks and insignias below.

Enlisted Ranks & Insignias

Enlisted Soldiers are known as the backbone of the Army. They train in a specific job and utilize those skills within their unit. They properly perform their job functions, and their knowledge ensures the success of their unit’s mission within the Army. Enlisted ranks are broken down into three groups: Junior Enlisted (E-1 through E-4, NCOs (E-4 through E-6) and Senior NCOs (E-7 through E-9). The sequence of ranks for Enlisted Soldiers are as follows:

Army Private E-1 (PV1)


Private/PVT (E-1)
Earned during basic training, Private is the lowest enlisted rank. This rank does not carry an insignia and is also referred to as a “fuzzy” (which refers to the blank velcro patch where the rank is normally placed on the uniform).

Army Private E-2 (PV2)

Private/PV2 (E-2)
After completing Basic Combat Training, most soldiers receive the rank of Private Second Class. This is the first promotion the majority of enlisted soldiers earn after completing basic training, or they will get promoted after serving six months in the Army. The soldier will utilize the skills and knowledge they acquired during basic training to their new job. They will also follow orders that are given by higher ranking supervisors.

Army Private First Class E-3 (PFC)

Private First Class/ PFC (E-3)
Within a year, soldiers will typically be promoted to Private First Class. Soldiers holding this rank are important to this branch. They are considered the backbone and workforce strength of the Army. From here, PFCs will begin to transition to carry out orders and complete their missions.

Army Specialist E-4 (SPC)

Army Corporal E-4 (CPL)

Specialist/SPC (E-4) / Corporal/CPL (E-4)
Specialists and Corporals are both E-4, but Specialists will have less responsibilities than Corporals. Specialists are put in charge of lower-ranked enlisted soldiers. A soldier can be promoted to this rank after serving two years and after completing a training class. Service members with a four-year degree may enter basic training as a specialist.

Army Sergeant E-5 (SGT)


Sergeant/SGT (E-5)
Sergeants are expected to be efficient leaders. They are crucial in making missions happen. They guide the junior enlisted in ensuring the mission is done properly and in accordance to the orders from the higher-ranking authorities. Sergeants oversee junior soldiers in their day to day tasks, and are expected to set a good example as an NCO (Non-commissioned officer).

Army Staff Sergeant E-6 (SSG)


Staff Sergeant/SSG (E-6)
Staff sergeants and sergeants have similar duties, except SSGs will be in contact with a larger amount of soldiers and generally have more equipment and property to maintain. The SSGs will also have one or more sergeants under their direct leadership. They will also be responsible for the development of their soldiers’ full range of potential.

Army Sergeant First Class E-7 (SFC)


Sergeant First Class/SFC (E-7)
This rank normally means the soldier has 15 to 18 years of military experience. This level is now considered as a senior NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer). Their job entails being the key assistant and advisor to the platoon leader. This rank requires them to make quick and accurate decisions for the mission at hand.

Army Master Sergeant E-8 (MSG)


Master Sergeant/MSG (E-8)
The Master Sergeant is considered as the principal non-commissioned officer at the battalion level (or higher). They do not have the same roles and responsibilities as the First Sergeant, but they are expected to lead with the same professionalism as a First Sergeant.

Army First Sergeant E-8 (1SG)


First Sergeant/1SG (E-8)
The First Sergeant is the principal NCO and often referred to as the life-blood of a company. His role is to discipline and counsel the soldiers in his unit. The first sergeant conducts formations, instructs platoon sergeants, advises the Commander of the unit, and assists in training for the enlisted soldiers. When addressing this rank, they are not called “Sergeant,” but “First Sergeant.”

Army Sergeant Major E-9 (SGM)


Sergeant Major/SGM (E-9)
Sergeant Majors role is the chief administrative assistants for an Army headquarters. They are important members of staff elements at battalion level or higher. Their experience and abilities are equal to command sergeant majors, but they are limited to leading those that are directly under his charge.

Army Command Sergeant Major E-9 (CSM)


Command Sergeant Major/CSM (E-9)
Command Sergeant Major is the enlisted advisor to the commanding officer. Their duties include carrying out policies and standards and help in advising the commander. They advise and initiate recommendations to the commander and staff in regards to the support and well-being of the company.

Sergeant Major of the Army E-9 (SMA)


Sergeant Major of the Army/SMA (E-9)
There is only one Sergeant Major of the entire Army. The SMA oversees all non-commissioned officers and serves as the senior enlisted advisor. He serves as the senior enlisted advisor and consults the Chief of Staff of the Army.

Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/ SEAC

The Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the main advisor to the chairman and plays a pivotal role in decision-making for the enlisted joint force. The role was originally created in 2005.

Warrant Officer Ranks & Insignias

Warrant Officers are known as the adaptive technical experts, combat leaders, trainers and advisors. They hold warrants from their service secretary and they specialize in specific military technologies or capabilities. They acquire their authority from the same source as commissioned officers, but they are considered specialists, compared to commissioned officers, who are considered generalists. The sequence of ranks for Warrant Officers are as follows:

Army Warrant Officer 1 W-1 (WO1)


Warrant Officer 1 (WO1)
Warrant officers are considered the tactical and technical experts of the Army. WO1 is the base-level rank, and primarily support operations from team or detachment through a battalion.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 W-2 (CW2)

Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2)
This rank is considered an intermediate-level technical and tactical expert. Their responsibility is to support levels of operations from team or detachment through a battalion.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 W-3 (CW3)

Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CW3)
This rank is considered as an advance-level technical and tactical expert. Their role is to support operations from a team/detachment through a brigade.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 W-4 (CW4)


Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CW4)
This rank is considered as a senior-level technical and tactical expert. Their primary duty is to support brigade, battalion, division and corps operations.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 W-5 (CW5)


Chief Warrant Officer 5 (CW5)
This rank is considered a master-level technical and tactical expert. Their primary duties include supporting brigade, division, corps, echelons and command operations. They specialize in warrant officer leadership and representation responsibilities within their respective commands.

Officer Ranks & Insignias

Commissioned officers are considered the managers, problem solvers, key influencers and planners in the Army, and they hold the highest ranks. They lead enlisted soldiers in all situations. Their duties include planning missions, giving orders and assigning soldiers tasks to complete missions. Army officer ranks have three tiers: company grade, field grade and general. The sequence of ranks for Commissioned Officers are as follows

Army officer ranks are in three tiers: company grade (O-1 to O-3), field grade (O-4 to O-6) and general (O-7 and above).

Army Second Lieutenant O-1 (2LT)

Second Lieutenant/2LT (O1)
Service members of this rank are addressed as “Lieutenant.” This is the entry-level rank for the majority of Commissioned Officers in the Army. Their job consists of leading a platoon(s), which initiates leadership training they will need throughout their military career.

Army First Lieutenant O-2 (1LT)

First Lieutenant/1LT (O2)
Service members of this rank are also addressed as “Lieutenant.” This rank is considered a seasoned lieutenant normally with 18 to 24 months of service. As a a senior Lieutenant, members will be looked at for the position of Executive Officer (XO) of a company (consisting between 100 to 200 soldiers).

Army Captain O-3 (CPT)

Captain/CPT (O3)
Service members of this rank are addressed as “Captain.” Captains will be put in charge of and control a company (between 100 to 200 soldiers). Other jobs include becoming an instructor at a service school or becoming a Staff Officer at a battalion level.

Army Major O-4 (MAJ)

Major/MAJ (O4)
Service members of this rank are addressed as “Major.” Majors are considered field grade officers, and they serve as a primary Staff Officer for brigade. They are also part of task force command in regards to personnel, logistical and operational missions.

Army Lieutenant Colonel O-5 (LTC)

Lieutenant Colonel/LTC (O5)
Service members of this rank are addressed as “Lieutenant Colonel” or “Colonel.” At this rank, they are put in charge of battalion-sized units (can range between 400 to 1,000 soldiers). During this time, they can also be looked at for brigade and task force Executive Officer.

Army Colonel O-6 (COL)

Colonel/COL (O6)
Service members at this rank are referred to as “Colonel.” They normally are put in charge of and command brigades (between 3,000 to 5,000 soldiers). Another responsibility at this rank will be becoming the chief of divisional level staff agencies.

Army Brigadier General O-7 (BG)

Brigadier General/BG (O7)
Service members at this rank are addressed as “General.” They serve as the Deputy Commander to the commanding general for Army divisions. They will assist in coordinating and planning of missions for the Army.

Army Major General O-8 (MG)
Major General/MG (O8)
Service members at this rank are addressed as “General” (or two star). Will typically command a division unit (10,000 to 15,000 soldiers).

Army Lieutenant General O-9 (LTG)

Lieutenant General (O9)
Addressed as “General” (or three star). Their main job typically consists of commanding corps-size units (20,000 to 45,000 soldiers).

Army General O-10 (GEN)

General/GEN (O10)
Addressed as “General” (or four star). This is a senior level Commissioned Officer that has over 30 years of military experience. At this rank, they command all operations that fall under their geographical area. The Chief of Staff of the Army is a four star General.

General of the Army Special (GA)

General of the Army(GOA)
This rank is only used during the time of war. The Commanding Officer must be equal or of higher rank than the opposing commanding armies from other nations. The last officer to hold this rank was during and after WWII.

Army Ranks Chart

Pay GradeRankAbbreviation
E-2Private 2PV2
E-3Private First ClassPFC
E-6Staff SergeantSSG
E-7Sergeant First ClassSFC
E-8Master SergeantMSG
E-8First Sergeant1SG
E-9Sergeant MajorSGM
E-9Command Sergeant MajorCSM
E-9 SpecialSergeant Major of the ArmySMA
W-1Warrant OfficerWO1
W-2Chief Warrant Officer 2CW2
W-3Chief Warrant Officer 3CW3
W-4Chief Warrant Officer 4CW4
W-5Chief Warrant Officer 5CW5
O-1Second Lieutenant2LT
O-2First Lieutenant1LT
O-5Lieutenant ColonelLTC
O-7Brigadier GeneralBG
O-8Major GeneralMG
O-9Lieutenant GeneralLTG
SpecialGeneral of the ArmyGA

The United States Army is the oldest U.S. military branch and was founded in 1775. Their mission and purpose continues to remain constant: To deploy, fight and win our nation’s wars by providing ready, prompt and sustained land dominance by Army forces across the full spectrum of conflict as part of the joint force. The Army also provides logistics and support to other branches. Members of the U.S. Army are referred to as soldiers.

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Chief warrant officer

Military rank

Chief warrant officer is a military rank used by the United States Armed Forces, the Canadian Armed Forces, the Pakistan Air Force, the Israel Defense Forces, the South African National Defence Force, the Lebanese Armed Forces and, since 2012, the Singapore Armed Forces. In the United States Armed Forces, chief warrant officers are commissioned officers, not non-commissioned officers (NCOs) like in other NATO forces.[1]

Canadian Armed Forces[edit]

In the Canadian Armed Forces, a chief warrant officer or CWO is the most senior non-commissioned member (NCM) rank for army and air force personnel. Its equivalent rank for navy personnel is chief petty officer 1st class (CPO1). The French language form of chief warrant officer is adjudant-chef (adjuc).

A CWO is senior to the rank of master warrant officer[2] (MWO) and its navy equivalent of chief petty officer 2nd class (CPO2).

Cadets Canada uses the ranks of chief petty officer 1st class (Royal Canadian Sea Cadets), chief warrant officer (Royal Canadian Army Cadets), and warrant officer 1st class (Royal Canadian Air Cadets). This organization's uniforms use a similar coat of arms insignia as the Canadian Armed Forces.


The rank insignia of the CWO is a simplified version of the 1957 coat of arms of Canada, worn on both forearms of the service dress tunic; in gold metal and green enamel miniature pins on the collar of the service dress shirt and outerwear coats (army only); on CADPAT slip-ons worn in the middle of the chest, embroidered in tan (army) or blue (air force) thread; and in pearl-grey thread on blue slip-ons on both shoulders of other uniforms (air force only).

The insignia lacks the annulus, from 1985 changes, behind the shield bearing the motto of the Order of Canada. It also differs from both the 1957 and 1985 versions through a lack of compartment and mantling.

  • Chief petty officer first class

Forms of address[edit]

CWOs are generally initially addressed as "Chief Warrant Officer", and thereafter as "Sir" or "Ma'am" by subordinates; and as Mr. or Ms. by commissioned officers. If they hold the appointment of regimental sergeant-major, they may also be addressed as "RSM" by the commanding officer, other officers, or when referred to in conversation. CWOs are never addressed as "Chief", this being a form of address reserved for chief petty officers. Civilians can address them as Chief Warrant Officer or CWO or Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms (followed by surname).

Key positions[edit]

CWO/CPO1 may fulfill roles in a number of key positions (KP). These positions require the incumbent to act in an advisory or liaison role to a non-command position i.e. Assistant Judge Advocate General Liaison Chief Petty Officer, RCEME Corps Sergeant-Major, Defence Ethics Program Chief Warrant Officer.


CWOs may hold a number of appointments, some of which are:

  • Regimental sergeant-major (RSM) – the most senior NCO in a battalion-sized army unit, including armoured, combat engineer, and signal regiments.
  • Squadron warrant officer (SWO) – the most senior NCO in a squadron-sized air force units and army signal units
  • School chief warrant officers/chief petty officers (SCWO/SCPO) - the most senior NCO in air force, navy and some army schools of battalion or squadron size.
  • Base or wing chief warrant officer/chief petty officer - the most senior NCO on a Canadian Forces base or wing establishment
  • Fleet chief petty officer - the most senior NCO in either Atlantic Fleet, Pacific Fleet, or Naval Reserve
  • Ship's coxswain - the most senior NCO on an RCN ship (fulfilled by a chief petty officer 2nd class or petty officer 1st Class for minor vessels)

Due to the unified nature of the Canadian Armed Forces, it is not unheard-of for air force CWOs or even navy CPO1s – especially those of the so-called "purple trades", such as logistics or military police – to find themselves filling the appointment of RSM in what are otherwise considered Canadian Army units (such as service battalions or communication regiments). Conversely, it is not impossible for an army CWO or navy CPO1 to be the squadron CWO of a Royal Canadian Air Force squadron.

Senior appointments[edit]

Senior appointments for chief warrant officers and chief petty officers 1st class entitle the incumbents to wear a modified rank badge or an addition to the rank badge. They are as follows:[3]

Formation chief warrant officer[edit]

The coat of arms over the central insignia of the badge of the Canadian Armed Forces (crossed swords, an anchor and an eagle in flight). This appointment is given to CWO assigned to commanders at the base, brigade, wing, and division levels. Specific examples include base chief warrant officer, brigade sergeants-major, wing chief warrant officers, the division chief warrant officer (DCWO) of 1 Canadian Air Division and the division sergeant-major (Div SM) of 3rd Canadian Division (3 Cdn Div). A formation chief warrant officer would typically be seen with a colonel or brigadier-general, but may occasionally be seen with a lieutenant-colonel or major-general.

  • Formation chief warrant officer

  • Formation chief warrant officer

Command chief warrant officer/chief petty officer (CCWO/CCPO)[edit]

The coat of arms with a wreath of laurel wrapped around the base. This appointment is given to CWO/CPO1 assigned to commanders of commands including to the commander Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, commander Canadian Forces Intelligence Command and commander Canadian Joint Operations Command. The command chief warrant officer appointed to the commander Canadian Army is called the Canadian Army sergeant-major, while the command chief warrant officer appointed to commander RCAF is known as Chief Warrant Officer of the Air Force. The command chief warrant officer of the RCN is known as the RCN Command Chief Petty Officer. A command chief warrant officer/chief petty officer would be seen with a major-general/rear-admiral or lieutenant-general/vice-admiral.

  • Command chief warrant officer

  • Command chief warrant officer

Canadian Forces chief warrant officer (CFCWO)[edit]

Further information: Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer

Messes and quarters[edit]

CWOs generally mess and billet with other warrant officers and with sergeants, and their navy equivalents, chief petty officers and petty officers. Their mess on military bases or installations are generally named the "Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess".


Although NCMs, CWOs generally wear the uniform accoutrements of commissioned officers; for example, officer cap badge, waistcoat instead of cummerbund with mess dress, etc.

Cadets Canada[edit]

  • Canadian CDT 8.png
  • Canadian Army CDT 9(1).png
  • RCSCC CPO1.png

Israel Defense Forces[edit]

Main article: Israel Defense Forces ranks

Rav nagad

The רב-נגד Rav nagad, a Chief Warrant Officer is the most senior non-commissioned officers rank in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Because the IDF is an integrated force, they have a unique rank structure. IDF ranks are the same in all services (army, navy, air force, etc.). The ranks are derived from those of the paramilitary Haganah developed in the British Mandate of Palestine period to protect the Yishuv. This origin is reflected in the slightly-compacted IDF rank structure.

South African Armed Forces[edit]

SANDF Chief Warrant Officer rank insignia

See also: South African military ranks

In 2008[5] the Warrant Officer ranks of the South African National Defence Force were expanded and the rank of Chief Warrant Officer was created. In the South African Navy a Chief Warrant Officer is the senior NCO in Fleet Command. In the South African Army the equivalent is the senior NCO in an Army Formation, such as Armour, Infantry etc.

United States Armed Forces[edit]

See also: Warrant officer (United States)

Chief warrant officer in the United States Armed Forces refers to any warrant officer in pay grades CW2 and above. All warrant officers (WO1 to CWO5) are officers and rate a salute by all enlisted NATO other ranks personnel. The U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps use WO1/WO through CW5/CWO5 as designators and the U.S. Navy uses WO1 for one specialty (cyber warfare); all other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces use CWO2 through CWO5. The U.S. Air Force, although authorized to appoint warrant officers, does not utilize those grades in any capacity. All warrant officers dine in the officers' mess but rate just below O-1 (NATO rank code OF-1).

On 4 June 2018, the Chief of Naval Operations announced the reestablishment of the rank of warrant officer one (pay grade W-1), for cyber warrant officers, and solicited applications for the rank/grade. These warrant officers will receive their appointment via warrant and not via commission. They will incur a six-year service obligation once promoted to W-1. A minimum of three-years in grade with a total service time of 12 years must be achieved before appointment and commission to chief warrant officer (W-2). However, the President also may grant appointments of warrant officers in the grade of W-1 via commission at any time as well as the Secretary of the Navy may also appoint warrant officers in that grade via commission, through additional regulations. In mid-December 2018, the Navy announced that six selectees had been named. They will wear a distinctive cap badge with two crossed anchors.

Warrant officer rank insignia is the only officers' insignia that is not the same for all branches of the U.S. military, with one exception. The rank insignia for a CW5 became the only universal insignia within the warrant officer ranks when the U.S. Navy promoted its first CWO5 in 2002 and the Army adopted the emblem in 2004.

Warrant officers in the United States are classified as officers and are in the "W" category (NATO "WO"); they are technical leaders and specialists. Chief warrant officers are commissioned by the president of the United States and take the same oath as regular commissioned officers do. They may be technical experts with a long service as enlisted personnel or direct entrants, most notably as U.S. Army helicopter pilots.

Notable Warrant Officers[edit]

  • Brigadier General Chuck Yeager, USAF was initially a flight officer (also known as "warrant officer (air)", in the USAAF during World War II[citation needed]
  • MAJ (was CW3) Frederick Edgar Ferguson, USA (Medal of Honor recipient)
  • MAJ (was WO1) Hugh Thompson, Jr., USA (Soldier's Medal recipient)
  • CW5 David F. Cooper, USA[6]
  • CW4 Michael J. Novosel, USA (Medal of Honor recipient)
  • CW4 Oscar G. Johnson, USA
  • CW4 Michael Durant, USA
  • CW4 Thomas J. Hennen, USA
  • CW4 Keith Yoakum, USA[7]
  • CW3 Ronald D. Young Jr., USA
  • CW2 Jason W. Myers, USA[8]
  • CW2 Louis R. Rocco, USA
  • WO1 Robert Mason, USA
  • CWO2/Chief Carpenter John Arnold Austin, USN
  • WO1 John W. Lang, USN[9]
  • WO1 Floyd Bennett, USN[10] (Medal of Honor recipient)
  • CWO4 Hershel W. Williams, USMC (Medal of Honor recipient)
  • CWO4 John W. Frederick, Jr., USMC[11]
  • CWO4 Henry Wildfang, USMC[12][13] (Gray Eagle Award recipient for longest-serving naval aviator; only chief warrant officer in the history of U.S. Naval Aviation so honored)
  • CWO5 Ralph E. Rigby, USA, last continuously serving draftee on active duty in the U.S. Army, retiring in 2014[14]
  • CWO3 Jacob F. Cuomo, US Coast Guard, awarded the Meritorious Service Medal upon retirement for service rendered to the United States of America by the President of the United States.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Army Chief Warrant Officer 3W-3 CW3(Previous)
Chief Warrant Officer 3
W-4 Warrant Officer, U.S. Army
(Next)W-5 CW5Army Chief Warrant Officer 5
Chief Warrant Officer 5

Army Ranks » Chief Warrant Officer 4 Rank • CW4 Pay • CW4 Rank History • Promotion Information

Rank badge of a Chief Warrant Officer 4W-4 Chief Warrant Officer 4 - Warrant Officer - U.S. Army Ranks

Army Chief Warrant Officer 4

Army Chief Warrant Officer 4

Army W-4Chief Warrant Officer 4 Army Military Ranks
ClassWarrant Officer
TitleMr. (last name) or Chief (last name)
Paygrade W-4 (DoD Paygrade)
WO-4 (NATO Code)
Basic Pay$4,530/mo

Chief Warrant Officer 4 (CW4) is the fourth Warrant Officer rank in the Unites States Army. They are officially appointed by the the Secretary of the Army. They are senior level experts of both the technical and tactical aspects of leading in their field. Responsibilities of a Chief Warrant Officer 2 are ones that would typically call for the authority of a commissioned officer but require also the intricate technical abilities and experience a commissioned officer would not have has the opportunity to achieve. They are mentors to the lower Warrant Officers and speak to commanders about WO issues. They typically support operations at battalion, brigade, division, corps, and echelons levels above corps operations.

The rank insignia of a Chief Warrant Officer 4 is the same as a Chief Warrant Officer 3's, but it has four horizontal black stripes on a vertical silver bar, instead of three.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 is the 17th rank in the United States Army , ranking above Chief Warrant Officer 3 and directly below Chief Warrant Officer 5. A chief warrant officer 4 is a Warrant Officer at DoD paygrade W-4, with a starting monthly pay of $4,530.

How do you become a Chief Warrant Officer 4?

A Chief Warrant Officer 4 is most often promoted from Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CW3), although promotion from lower paygrades may occur with sufficient display of leadership and experience. Click here to learn more about promotion to Chief Warrant Officer 4.

What is the proper way to address a Chief Warrant Officer 4?

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The correct way to address a Chief Warrant Officer 4 named Mr. Smith is "Mr. Smith or Chief Smith", or written as CW4 Smith. In formal situations, a Chief Warrant Officer 4 should always be addressed by their full rank.

How much does a Chief Warrant Officer 4 earn?

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Basic pay for an entry-level Chief Warrant Officer 4 with 2 or less years of experience is $4,530.00 per month.

A Chief Warrant Officer 4 receives an automatic raise to their basic pay every one to two years. Basic pay is only a small percentage of a Chief Warrant Officer 4's final compensation package.

In addition to a monthly basic pay salary, a Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 may be eligible for multiple types of allowances and bonus pay including food allowance, housing allowance, and more.

For full details on the Army's Chief Warrant Officer 4 compensation and retirement plan, visit the 2021 Army Chief Warrant Officer 4 Pay Chart. A full table of the Army's current paygrades are available at the Army Pay Chart.

Military Occupational Specialties for Army's W-4 Chief Warrant Officer 4

Warrent Officer is a highly specialized expert and trainer in his or her occupational specialty. Below are some of the enlisted specialties that could be occupied by a Warrent Officer.

To learn more about Military Occupational Specialties, see our complete list of MOS job titles.

Patch of a Chief Warrant Officer 4 Equivalent Ranks to the Army's W-4 Chief Warrant Officer 4

To learn more about the Army's rank structure, see our complete list of Army ranks.

The Government civilian-employee equivalent of a Chief Warrant Officer 4 is paid under the General Schedule payscale. For more details, see this Army rank to GS grade conversion table .

To see a list of military medals and decorations that can be earned by servicemembers in the Army and other branches of the military, see our list of military decorations and medals.


Warrant officer 4 army chief

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A Look at the Rank of Chief Warrant Officer

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