Celebrating the warrant officer corps in Kentucky

Story by David Altom, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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Kentucky State Command Chief Warrant Officer Dean Stoops and Adjutant General Edward W. Tonini are joined by retired State CCWOs Jimmy Simms, Kenny Masters and Paul Bean in cutting the cake in celebration of the 96th Anniversary of the Warrant Officer Corps. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

July has been declared Kentucky National Guard Warrant Officer Month by Adjutant General Edward W. Tonini.  This is one of a series of articles we will publish this month in celebration of the warrant officer corps.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — This July marks the 96th anniversary of the warrant officer corps.  With that in mind, the Kentucky National Guard held a birthday party in Frankfort, complete with cake and even a gift of sorts.

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Chief Warrant Officer Jennifer Maggard unveils the Kentucky Army National Guard Warrant Officer of the Year Ribbon during the 96th Anniversary of the Warrant Officer Corps celebration. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

State Command Chief Warrant Officer Dean Stoops hosted the celebration, which was attended by dozens of current and former Kentucky National Guard warrant officers.  As part of his presentation Stoops revealed the newly created Kentucky Army National Guard Warrant Officer of the Year Ribbon, the first of its kind in the nation.  The ribbon spawned from the creation of the 2007 CW4 Dewey Pope Warrant Officer of the Year Award through the collaborative effort of then State Command Chief Warrant Officer Paul Bean, the Warrant Officer Advisory Council and the Longrifle Chapter of the United States Army Warrant Officer Association.

“The Army Institute of Heraldry told us there is no other award like this,” said Stoops.  “I suspect that when the word gets out about what we’re doing in Kentucky, other states will want to adopt this for their warrant officers.”

Click here for more photos of this event.

Kentucky Army National Guard Warrant Officer of the Year Ribbon Est. 20 June 2014

Kentucky Army National Guard Warrant Officer of the Year Ribbon Est. 20 June 2014

In July 1918, the first warrant officer corps was established in the United States military and the first warrant officer was appointed to the Kentucky Army National Guard band on March 6, 1922.  Since then Kentucky’s warrant officer corps has grown to include 153 highly trained professionals serving in 15 various occupational disciplines.

Click here for more information about warrant officers and what they do.

In attendance were dozens of warrant officers, current and past, ranging in rank from WO1 to CW5.  Former state command chiefs included Jimmy Simms, Kenny Masters and Paul Bean.

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State Command Chief Warrant Officer Dean Stoops with retired Chief Warrant Officer Louis Dawers, and WO1 Jonathan Dukes, 2113th Transportation Co. and WO1 George Gadberry, 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade. At 85 years young, Dawers was the most senior warrant officer in attendance at the 96th Anniversary of the Warrant Officer celebration.  Dukes and Gadberry are two of the newest warrant officers in the Kentucky Guard.  (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

The most senior of all was retired Chief Warrant Officer Louis Dawers, at 85 years young.  Among his accomplishments, Dawers mobilized with the 3rd Medium Tank Battalion (Patton), 123rd Armor during the Berlin Crisis in 1961-62.

“It’s great to be here and visit with all of this fine warrant officers,” said Dawers.  “I retired in 1988, but I still keep up with what’s going on with the Kentucky Guard.”

Adjutant General Edward W. Tonini was on hand for the celebration.  He expressed his appreciation for Kentucky’s warrant officer corps.

“We have made so much progress in the past few years, it’s really amazing,” said Tonini.  “I am extraordinarily proud of the incredible legacy we’ve established here in Kentucky.  I have no doubt the reputation of our warrant officers will only continue to grow in the coming years.”

This celebration is part of the build up to the 100th anniversary of the warrant officer corps in 2018. Retired State Command Chief Warrant Officer Jimmy Simms has high hopes for the centennial celebration.

“As we celebrate this 96th birthday of the Warrant Officer Corps it must serve as a reminder to Warrant Officers the importance of being a professional,” said Simms.  “We are called ‘chiefs’ but we can never forget that we must earn the right and respect of others to truly deserve that title. I look forward to attending the 100th anniversary of the corps and I have no doubt that with each birthday celebration we will see the spirit of the warrant officer grow within the state.”

 

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