USN Warrant Officer Pilots

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by tomahawk6, Dec 16, 2006.

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  1. From Strategypage.

    Navy Warrant Officer Pilots

    December 16, 2006: Faced with a growing shortage of pilots, the U.S. Navy is finally adopting a solution the U.S. Army implemented long ago; warrant officer pilots. The first fourteen navy warrant officer pilots were just commissioned.

    Noting over half a century of U.S. Army success with warrant officer program, the U.S. Navy decided to try it out, and called for thirty enlisted volunteers earlier this year. The navy warrant officer pilots will serve as flying officers in patrol, electronic warfare and helicopter aircraft. These pilots would remain pilots their entire careers. Commissioned officers are expected to move on to leadership positions. Traditionally, this often means spending some of your time flying a desk, instead of an aircraft. Many pilots don't like this, and the warrant officer program is, for them, an attractive option.

    There's a sense of déjà vu with this. The navy had NCOs flying aircraft early in World War II. Ever since, there's been a controversy over whether all pilots (most of whom are highly trained warriors, not leaders, which is what officers are supposed to be) must be officers. At the start of World War II, the army air force (there was no separate air force yet) also had enlisted pilots. These men were NCOs ("flying sergeants") selected for their flying potential and trained to be pilots. Not leaders of pilots, but professional pilots of fighters, bombers and whatnot. Officers trained as pilots would also fly, but in addition they would provide the leadership for the sergeant pilots in the air and on the ground. As the Army Air Corps changed into the mighty Army Air Force (with 2.4 million personnel, and 80,000 aircraft, at its peak), its capable and persuasive commander (General Hap Arnold), insisted that all pilots be officers. Actually, he wanted them all to be college graduates as well, until it was pointed out that the pool of college graduates was too small to provide the 200,000 pilots the Army Air Force eventually trained. But Arnold forced the issue on officers being pilots, and the navy had to go along to remain competitive in recruiting. When the air force split off from the army in 1947, the army went back to the original concept of "flying sergeants," by making most pilots Warrant Officers (a sort of super NCO rank for experienced troops who are expected to spend all their time on their specialty, not being diverted into command or staff duties.) Many air force pilots envied the army "flying Warrants" because the Warrant Officers just fly. That's what most pilots want to do, fly a helicopter or aircraft, not a desk. But a commissioned officer must take many non-flying assignments in order to become a "well rounded officer." Many navy and air force pilots don't want to be well rounded officers, they want to fly. So a lot of them quit the military go work for an airline. But often they stay in the reserve, and fly warplanes on weekends, and get paid for it. This is considered an excellent arrangement for the many pilots who take this route.

    What the navy is trying to do, besides experiment with the old "flying sergeants" arrangement, is address a shortage of pilots for combat support aircraft. Fighters are the most attractive aircraft for military pilots, but far fewer qualified people want to do the more unexciting work of piloting patrol aircraft and helicopters. The navy is also confronted with the coming generation of robotic aircraft. These UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) are usually controlled (when they are "flown" at all) from the ground. This job has been unattractive to pilots, and often NCOs are used (except by the air force, which has made some of its UAVs completely robotic so they could allow NCOs to push the buttons) to do this. Warrant Officers would be better suited to be career UAV operators.

    The navy received 69 application for the 30 initial warrant officer positions. Only 42 of the applicants were found qualified, and 14 completed the training. The applicants had to be petty officers (E5-E7), have at least an associates degree (two years of college) and be under 27 years old. As it turned out, four of the 14 graduates already had civilian pilots licenses, and seven had served as enlisted aircrew.
  2. Are they to be saluted?

  3. Nooooooooo.......not that old chestnut again :x :x

  4. Warrant Officers in the US military rate salutes and have all the perks of the officer corps - just not the pay. As the article states a warrant officer pilot will be able to fly throughout his entire acreer which isnt the case for commissioned officers who rotate from flying assignments to desk jobs.
  5. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    I met a chap in Banjax who was a US Army Acting Warrant Officer Pilot. He was between jobs and promotion from Maj to Lt Col, and wanted to fly so whilst he was waiting for his 1/2 Col appointment he was acting as a WO pilot - a very odd arrangement from a British point of view but it worked for him.
  6. One wonders what the fascination is with college degrees. Warrant programs are started because not enough suitable candidates can be found for officer pilots yet in the next breath nearly the same qualifications are expected. The mind positively boggles.
  7. -It's the Old Navy FES(Filthy Enlisted Swine) syndrome, can trust those conniving EM's near Officer's Country, cant have High School Grads flying the pants off "Genteelmen" now can we?
  8. Yeah but the best part is how it's presumed that a college degree somehow confers leadership upon any mouthbreather that somehow attains one. WTF?

    Please note, I'm not against the concept of education, just the silly lengths that it is taken to.
  9. It's the Class System rearing it's ugly head again.

    When the military took to the air, it was considered that only the gentry had the aptitude to control the aeronautical beast. Compare this with show-jumping and brewer's drays - anyone could drive a horse and cart but only the rich could avoid falling off a horse!

    During wartime, the stocks of gentry pilots thinned out, so it was necessary to introduce Sergeant Pilots who, it was shown, were no less capable than their landed counterparts.

    Following WWII, class distinction took over again, with officers being allotted the steeds, while SNCOs were relegated to the drays (though at least commissions were based on merit, rather than by lineage).

    Being of (theoretical) Marxist leanings (I fully realise that the practicality doesn't work), I can't see why driving an aeroplane requires any more status than driving a truck. If an enlisted soldier can fly a plane, why the need to create a rank (given that the class system has decided that it's not going to give him a commission)?
  10. Talking about class, the USAF used to have Warrant Officers but eliminated the rank in favor of commisioned officers.
  11. In the UK, there's an emphasis that most people should try to get a University degree (even if it's Hairdressing or Flower Arranging!). As you've got to be 21 to get a truck licence, it follows that the trend will soon be that drivers will get a degree before taking the driving test. Given a bit more time, it will probably be compulsory to get a degree before becoming a truck driver (just as it will be compulsory to have at least tried homosexuality before you can decide to be straight).

    When this happens, the military truck driver will demand status appeasement - Sandhurst for the British drivers and at least CW status for the US drivers.

    Hmmm. This brandy is working rather well.
  12. At a guess, I'd say it has more to do with the woeful standard of public (state) schools in the US. I have friends who are teachers and they are so under-resourced it's not even funny. One is a teacher in Brooklyn and one of her jobs is teaching reading to a class of 8th Graders (12-13yr olds)- and this isn't a special-needs class, these are regular kids.

    As if the fact that she still has to teach mainstream students basic reading skills when they're in their early teens isn't enough, she has to try and do it without books. The school can't afford to buy books for everyone, they won't allow her to photocopy because of a) copyright infringement and b) cost and after waiting 4 months for an overhead projector, she finally had enough and went to Staples and bought her own.

    I get the "smart" ones wandering into my place at 18 and I have to say that in terms of their level of education, they are usually miles behind their British counterparts. All our undergraduates have to take two classes (one in their first year, one in their third) just on how to write properly and most of the intro-level classes are not even at GCSE standard.

    If the US forces mandate degrees for their officers, it's because that more often than not, high school graduates lack the basic knowledge required to get them through something technical like flying training.

    Their education system is the reverse of ours. Here, primary and secondary education are compartively well funded while our university system suffers. There, the university system is, without a shadow of a doubt, the best in the world- largely due to market forces and the vast sums of money that are thrown at them. (For example, George Lucas just donated $175million to his alma mater.) The profs in the UK that say that the studes they're getting are uneducated oiks would cry if they had to deal with the products of most US public schools.

    I agree that leadership cannot be taught in a classroom- despite what every business school in the world would have you believe. What we do well though is teaching people, not what to think, but rather how to think, and that is invaluable. However, you should also appreciate that the American undergraduate is also lot different from British one. They are much harder working, will usually take part in unpaid 3-6 month long internships (usually more than one). They take part in community outreach and other service-based extra curricular activities. At my place, approximately 60% of students are engaged in such activities as teaching in local schools, involvement with UN organizations, fund raising etc. A lot of them will volunteer for projects such as Habitat for Humanity, or will use their holiday time, and their own money, to go down to somewhere like Nicaragua and build a school. Even the regular student organizations are vastly different from British "Socs", which are more often than not thinly disguised mechanisms for getting pished on the university's money. It is there that they begin to learn leadership and what they're made of.
  13. For the purpose of clarity, can you confirm that "there" and "here" varies according to where you actually are or where you theoretically are.

    While the brandy is working well, I note that you have some confusing statements.

    So, your place is in the US?
    But the US is "there" not "here."
  14. From the Education Dept web site:

    "ED currently administers a budget of about $88.9 billion per year—$57.6 billion in discretionary appropriations and $31.3 billion in mandatory appropriations—and operates programs that touch on every area and level of education. The Department's elementary and secondary programs annually serve more than 14,600 school districts and approximately 54 million students attending more than 94,000 public schools and 27,000 private schools. Department programs also provide grant, loan, and work-study assistance to more than 10 million postsecondary students.

    That said, it is important to point out that education in America is primarily a State and local responsibility, and ED's budget is only a small part of both total national education spending and the overall Federal budget, as we explain in a primer on the Federal role in education. In addition to this historical background, we try to demystify the Federal budget process and show how it is carried out in ED."
  15. Sorry for the mix up, Puttees. Am based on the West Coast of the US, but recently arrived back in Blighty for Christmas and I'm jetlagged to fcuk- so I'm a bit confused myself at the moment regarding the here/there thing. :wink:

    T6, does your last have a point associated with it?