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History of the Army
Warrant Officer Corps

Page 2

In 1921, warrant officers were excluded from performance of summary court officer, defense counsel, officer of the day, and assistant adjutant because enlisted personnel were prohibited from performing those same duties. During this time, only one pay grade existed except in the army Mine Planter Service.

Eagle Rising
"The Eagle Rising"

Additional Notes: The distinctive insignia for warrant officers was approved on 12 May 1921, and first worn by warrant officers in the Tank corps. It consists of an eagle rising with wings displayed, standing on two arrows and enclosed in a wreath. It was adapted from the great seal of the United States, with the arrows symbolizing the military arts and sciences.

"An eagle rising with wings displayed standing on a bundle of two arrows, all enclosed in a wreath."

In 1922, warrant officer strength authorization was reduced from 1,120 to 600, exclusive of the number of Army Mine Planter Service warrant officers and Army Bandmasters. Consequently, no warrant officer appointments other than of band leaders and Army Mine Planter Service personnel were made between 1922 and 1935. Although the authorized strength level remained at 600, laws subsequent to 1922 authorized the appointment of additional classes of personnel with certain qualifications to be carried in excess of authorized strength.

In 1936, competitive examinations were held to replenish lists of eligibles for Regular Army appointments because of depletion of the original lists. Appointments against vacancies were made from the 1936 list until the beginning of World War II.

In 1939, warrant officers who were qualified as pilots were declared eligible for appointments as air corps lieutenants in the Regular Army.

In 1940, commissioned officers of the Finance Department were authorized to entrust monies to warrant officers as disbursing agents. At this time, warrant officer appointments began to occur in significant numbers for the first time since 1922, although total warrant officer strength reflected a decrease until 1942 because of the large numbers of warrant officers who were being transferred to active duty as commissioned officers.

 b. Expansion (1941-1947)

(1) The Act of 1941 created two grades, chief warrant officer and warrant officer junior grade, and authorized flight pay for warrant officers whose duties involved aerial flight. The Act of August 1941 also provided:

Additional Note: Public Law 230 of 1941, also authorized appointments up to one percent of the Regular Army enlisted strength.

   (a) That warrant officers may be assigned duties as prescribed by the Secretary of the Army.

   (b) That when their duties included those normally performed by a commissioned officer, warrant officers be vested with the power to perform those duties under regulations to be prescribed by the President.

   (c) That warrant officers serving as assistant adjutant have the power to administer oaths for the purposes of administration.

   (d) As a follow-up to the provisions stated in paragraph 8-2a(2), Executive Order 8938, 10 November 1941, stated that "Whenever the duties assigned to warrant officers of the Army include the command of stations, units, or detachments, the disbursement and administration of funds, including the certification of vouchers and payrolls, the issuance of travel orders, bills of lading, and transportation requests, the receipt for, and accountability for, and administration of property, the certification and verification of official papers, or the performance of similar routine administrative duties, they shall be vested with all the powers usually exercised by commissioned officers in the performance of such duties."

Additional Note: Warrant officers could now be assigned as prescribed by the Secretary of the Army.

(2) In 1942, a competitive examination was held and temporary appointments were made in approximately 40 occupational areas. For the first time, warrant officers performed functions other than mine planting, band leading, administration, and supply. These functional areas were not incorporated into the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) structure but were later identified by the number and title of the examination. Later than same year, major commanders were given the authority to approve temporary warrant officer appointments.

Additional Notes: Warrant officer insigniaFlight officer insigniaDistinguishing bars of gold and brown were approved as warrant officer insignia of grade on 11 January 1942. In September 1942, when the warrant grade of flight officer was adopted, an ultramarine blue and golden-orange bar was approved as an insignia of grade.

In November 1942, the War Department defined the position of the warrant officer in the rank order as being above all enlisted ranks and immediately below all commissioned officers.

During the remainder of World War II, warrant officers were appointed by quota in a decentralized fashion by major commanders. These decentralized appointments were not competitive in an Army wide sense, although examinations were generally used as a screening device. The selection process usually consisted of a board appearance for those who met statutory requirements and screening criteria.

Additional Note: Today, over 1,300 women serve as Warrant Officers in all branches except Special Forces.

In January 1944, the appointment of women as warrant officers was first authorized and the first women were appointed in March 1944. At the conclusion of World War II, there were 42 women warrant officers on active duty.

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Information Courtesy of U.S. Army

 

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