Chief Warrant Officer of the Branch
By CW5 Allen R. Godfrey
As I reflect on the lessons learned from my first year, it has been a steep learning curve. I admit during the first few months, I was trying to catch the aircraft that is Army Aviation. After about six months, I made it to the back of the aircraft. Now after the first year in the position, I am at the crew chief’s station. Next stop in the progression will be the jump seat.
Our most important weapon system – adaptive and agile Aviation Leaders and Soldiers with training and leader overmatch over any adversary. Warrant officers are expert combat leaders. The aircraft we fly and the systems we operate are our tools to accomplish our combat mission.
The purpose of Army Aviation is maintaining shared understanding and trust with commanders and Soldiers on the ground. It is my honor to assist Army Aviation and our warrant officers to meet the nation’s bidding. The Army and Army Aviation continue to move forward. The following are some areas of the past year highlighting the continual effort to provide the best warrant officers.
In March, GEN Raymond T. Odierno, Army Chief of Staff, created the position of Army Staff Senior Warrant Officer. The ARSTAF SWO will provide me subject matter expertise on all aspects of warrant officer training and development. The ARSTAF SWO will communicate with commanders and warrant officers throughout the Total Army to ensure their concerns and recommendations are considered in decisions that will impact the future of the warrant officer corps. Congratulations to CW5 David Williams on his selection.
In October, the combat aviation brigade command chief warrant officer (CAB CCWO) position became official in the CAB Table of Organization and Equipment. Human Resources Command (HRC) and U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence (USAACE) published a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by both commanding generals. This MOU establishes the process to select and assign the CAB CCWOs. These quality senior warrant officers will provide leadership, guidance, and mentorship to not only our warrant officers, but also our Soldiers, staffs, and commanders.
Our Aviation warrant officers begin their warrant officer training in Warrant Officer Candidate School. This course teaches them the basics of being a warrant officer. Upon graduation, they attend the Aviation Warrant Officer Basic Course.
The course focus is teaching our new warrant officers to be Aviation warrant officers. In order to address this challenge we revised the course structure and added handpicked high quality instructors. We have the opportunity to shape our future aviation expert combat leaders. These instructors will teach, coach, and mentor these future leaders.
Face to Face Comms
We owe our Aviation Soldiers the latest information on the opportunities, challenges, and way ahead for Army Aviation. The best means is through communication and our Soldiers have earned the right to hear from us face to face. To accomplish this messaging, the CG, CSM, and I visit our Aviation units at home and abroad.
During these visits, I have met many of our Warrant officers who are training, teaching, and coaching the next generation of Aviation professionals. To enhance the communication efforts, we conduct a quarterly worldwide Command Chief Warrant Officer meeting via electronic media. This allows sharing of observations, insights, lessons learned, and latest information.
The plan approved by the Secretary of Defense which results in significant aviation force structure changes, is known as the Aviation Restructure Initiative (ARI). The changes associated with ARI are some of the largest to affect Aviation Branch in over 20 years. We will strive to maintain the best Soldiers, warrant officers, and officers into the future.
The largest single impact of ARI is on the OH-58D career field. Though ARI results in the elimination of all OH-58D authorizations, ARI provides Army Aviation the opportunity to retain the very best OH-58D warrant officers in our formations. Although a reduction in personnel end-strength is required to comply with ARI, Aviation Branch will ensure a thoughtful and fair process in an effort to identify the right personnel to fill our formations.
Because personnel are the most valuable component in Army Aviation, numerous officer, warrant officer, enlisted, Department of the Army, and contractor analysts have been working tirelessly to develop plans that minimize the effects of ARI.
Our brothers and sisters in arms are proudly serving around the world and at home 24 hours a day 7 days a week at the nation’s bidding. We have men and women currently in harm’s way keeping us and our country safe. Please always remember to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Please have a blessed and safe holiday season and remember to start each day asking, “What are we doing for the Warfighter?” At the end of the day, the answer is, “We provided no fail support to the Warfighter on the ground and in the air.”
“Above the Best!”
CW5 Allen R. “Randy” Godfrey is the chief warrant officer of the Aviation Branch assigned to the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, Fort Rucker, AL.
Caption: CW5 John Moseley (standing), command chief warrant officer, 4th CAB, 4th Infantry Division, meets with his fellow warrant officers to discuss their missions and tasks for the brigade on Fort Carson, CO, Oct. 8. / U.S. ARMY PHOTO BY SGT JONATHAN C. THIBAULT, 4TH CAB, PUBLIC AFFAIRS