Kentucky celebrates warrant officer birthday

Story and photos by Spc. Brandy Mort, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

20130709_Z_EJ272_0030

Retired State Command Chief Warrant Officer, Paul Bean, Chief Warrant Officer, James Simms, current State Command Chief Warrant Officer, Kentucky’s Adj. Gen., Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini, and retired Chief Warrant Officer Dillion Gibson cut the cake during a celebration in honor of the 95th Kentucky Warrant Officer Birthday July 9 in Frankfort, Ky. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Brandy Mort)

FRANKFORT Ky. – The U.S. Army defines a warrant officer as an officer appointed by the Secretary of the Army, based upon a sound level of technical and tactical competence. The warrant officer is the highly specialized expert and trainer, who, by gaining progressive levels of expertise and leaderhip, operates, maintains, and manages the Army’s equipment support activities, or technical systems for an entire career.

In the past 90 years, Kentucky’s Warrant Officer Corps has grown from one to over 140 highly trained professionals that serve in 15 various occupational disciplines in fields such as aviation and chemical-biological and radiological warfare and electronic warfare.

The Kentucky National Guard’s Warrant Officer Corps celebrated their 95th Birthday with a ceremony July 9 at Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort Ky.

20130709_Z_EJ272_0026

Chief Warrant Officer Jim Simms, State Command Chief Warrant Officer, presents a plauqe to Kentucky’s Adj. Gen., Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini on behalf of the Warrant Officer Corps at the warrant officer birthday ceremony July 9 in Frankfort, Ky. The framed print is the official warrant officer heritage print by artist, Don Stivers. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Brandy Mort)

In July 1918 the first Warrant Officer Corps was established in the U.S. military when an act of congress established the Army Mine Planter Service as part of the Coast Artillery Corps. In World War I, they were responsible for mine defenses in major ports. Vessels ranging in size from small motor boats to 1,000-tom ocean-going ships were used to lay and maintain minefields.

The first warrant officer was appointed to the Kentucky Army National Guard March 6, 1922.

Kentucky’s adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini considers warrant officers a vital asset to the Kentucky National Guard.

“Warrant Officers have always been a chief resource in the Kentucky National Guard,” said Tonini, “I’m proud to support them in any way I can.”

Being a Warrant Officer means a lot to Chief Warrant Officer Debra Cunningham, Human Resource Tech with Headquarters, 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.

“I’m proud to be a part of such a unique organization and corps,” said Cunningham.

A warrant officer is different from a commissioned officer because they stay in one specific career field. Events such as the birthday celebration brings warrant officers from different fields together.

“It’s warrant officer heritage to have everyone come together,” said Warrant Officer Pete Ralston and Aviation Maintenance Technician, “Events are a great way to socialize, network, and get things done.”

While July 9, 2013 marks the 95th birthday of the Warrant Officer Corps, Chief Warrant Officer James Simms, State Command Chief Warrant Officer, looks beyond the day’s celebration.

“The future is bright for Warrant Officers,” said Simms, “Every day, there are more and more warrant officer positions opening up in many different fields.”

About kentuckyguard