FORT McCLELLAN, AL
The U.S. Army Reserve, in conjunction with the active Army and National Guard, is leading a historic initiative to eliminate its backlog of warrant officer candidates through an accelerated Warrant Officer Candidate School (WOCS) course.
“We are making history,” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Hal Griffin III, command chief warrant officer, U.S. Army Reserve Command.
This course enabled the Army Reserve to graduate 54 warrant officers, which is the highest number of course graduates in its history, said Griffin.
The accelerated WOCS course reduces the typical course length from 35 days to 26 by extending daily training hours and conducting classes seven days a week. The first such course conducted by the National Guard ran from July 7 through 31 at the 200th Regiment Regional Training Institute at Fort McClellan, Alabama.
Griffin said getting approval for the course took Army-wide staffing and support from all three components. Although the National Guard was given approval to conduct WOCS in 2006, this was the first time the training was conducted in a condensed, non-stop format. The active Army stopped conducting the accelerated format in approximately 2008.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Benjamin Richards, training, advising and counseling (TAC) Certification Course director, U.S. Army Warrant Officer Career College (USAWOCC) said the accelerated 26 day WOCS course and the regular five week long WOCS course held at Fort Rucker, Alabama, are both executed according to Army regulation and USAWOCC proponent guidance.
Shorter courses allow U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers to miss fewer days from their civilian jobs and reduce time away from their families, said Richards.
“I liked the opportunity because it seemed they were eliminating some of the down time and extra time you have to spend at the course when you attend the Fort Rucker class,” said Warrant Officer Tyler Winchester, network operations planner for the 392nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion and recent graduate of the accelerated WOCS.
Winchester said the class, however, is not for everyone. He said it is important to have good study habits and be physically ready to successfully complete the course.
“There is a huge benefit to Soldiers in the Guard and Army Reserve because they are away from their employer for only four weeks instead of five. That can help us graduate more reserve component warrant officers in the long run,” said Griffin. “Now that the capability is validated, it is there whenever the Army decides to use it.”
For more information about the warrant officer program, visit https://recruiting.army.mil/ISO/AWOR/