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MDARNG Celebrates Army Warrant Officer Cohort’s 99th Birthday

Video by Staff Sgt. Nelson Stroman, 29th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

By Staff Sgt. Michael E. Davis Jr., 29th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

EDGEWOOD, Md. (July 16, 2017) — The Maryland Army National Guard (MDARNG) paid homage to the Army Warrant Officer Cohort by celebrating its 99th birthday with cake, a decorated sign, and their own unique song at the Maj. Gen. Warren D. Hodges Armory, located on the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., July 16, 2017.

The establishment of the Army Warrant Officer was July 9, 1918. First originating with 40 warrant officers, there are now more than 27,000 Army technical and tactical experts between the active Army, National Guard and Army Reserve components. There are currently 164 warrant officers in the MDARNG.

“Today we say happy birthday to us, to all Army warrant officers and warrant officer wanna-be’s, and to a cohort of professionalism,” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Tywanda B. Morton, command chief warrant officer for Maryland and deputy commandant for the Warrant Officer Candidate School (WOCS).

The ceremony commenced with 16 candidates marching in from class 17-001 who were in the middle of completing WOCS. The class lined up in a v-shaped formation, presented Morton with a plaque for her mentorship and guidance, and sang a unique song that best represented their class.

“It’s a hard WOCS life for us, it’s a hard WOCS life for us, instead of getting treated we get dropped, we’re trading in our stripes for the dot, it’s a hard WOCS life for us,” sang class 17-001 as their vocals echoed throughout the first floor of the building.

The audience smiled after hearing another remix of the classic song from the movie Annie, to include Brig. Gen. Timothy E. Gowen, assistant adjutant general – Army, who was one of the distinguished guest at the ceremony.

“Warrant officers are a very special part of my career,” said Gowen. “The warrant officer community is extremely important to the entire Army, but especially important to us in Maryland where we are so focused on aviation and MI (military intelligence). Today, just about every single branch we have has a critical role for the warrant officer. To deploy and we certainly couldn’t do the job that we do without the warrant officer community.”

The ceremony also reminded us, through a cake-cutting tradition, that both junior and senior warrant officers play a major part in the MDARNG’s mission.

“The warrant officer cake cutting calls for the oldest and youngest warrant officer present [at the ceremony] to cut the cake [together],” said Morton.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 James Halsey, the most senior warrant officer, presented the first slice to the honored guest, which was Gowen, then Warrant Officer 2 Teri Thomas, the youngest warrant officer, presented the second slice to Halsey. Halsey then presented the third and last slice of cake to Thomas to signify that the experienced warrant officers have nurtured and led younger warrant officers to fill the ranks and renew the cohort.

“I think it’s a good thing to be the youngest and to come so far,” said Thomas. “I actually feel like I’m an important factor and it means a lot.”

Thomas is currently an instructor pilot with C Co., 1-169th General Support Aviation Battalion. Halsey on the other hand will be retiring in about two months, but recently held the position of a warrant officer recruiter for the past 7 years.

“I never thought I would make it over the rank of E-6 (Staff Sergeant), so I did alright for myself,” said Halsey. I’ve been a warrant officer for about 14 years and I been in the [Maryland] guard for 41 years.”

As the warrant officer birthday ceremony continued, class 17-001 — the soon-to-be warrant officers in the MDARNG — unveiled a sign they created, which represented their individual class and the Warrant Officer Cohort.

Although Halsey is retiring he said he has high expectations for the MDARNG’s WOCS and overall program.

“If you know you know your job just as good, if not better than anybody else, except that challenge to become a warrant officer,” said Halsey. “For the warrant officer out there in the Maryland Guard, step up and help this program, let’s make it a success. It seems to be getting better every year because we have more people coming out to help us.”

MDARNG Celebrates Warrant Officer Cohort's 99th Birthday