Taking the first step in becoming a Marine officer can be the hardest when Marines don’t know what they are getting into, but the Warrant Officer Program allows them a chance to become officers, while staying in their respected job field.
The Warrant Officer Program is suitable for anyone who is willing to accept the challenge and meets the eligibility requirements, whether the Marine is active duty or reserve.
“I wanted to become a warrant officer of the Marine Corps because I felt I could give more back to the Marine Corps,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Lecia A. Negaard, personnel officer, Headquarters& Service Battalion here.
This program is offered to those outstanding Marines who are experts in their job field. They will gain greater knowledge and valuable leadership skills.
Negaard’s mentor, a chief warrant officer 4, urged her to apply for the program. As a sergeant she showed those exemplary skills that made her qualified for the position, she said.
“I was overjoyed when I got accepted,” said Negaard. “I thoroughly enjoy the Corps and working with Marines.”
Chief Warrant Officer 5 John L. Oberhauser, the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear defense officer for the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, joined the Corps on Nov. 28, 1982. He spent 10 years as an enlisted Marine attaining the rank of staff sergeant before he decided to make the transition.
“You have to go in with your eyes open if you have the expectations of becoming an officer,” said Oberhauser. “There are more responsibilities when becoming an officer, but it is a unique opportunity to lead Marines.”
There are four warrant officer programs to choose from; the Regular Program for active-duty Marines, the Reserve Program for reservists, the Gunner Program for enlisted infantry and the Recruiter Program for career recruiters.
Details for the programs can be found in Marine Corps Order 1040.42A, which can be found at www.usmc.mil.
Unlike other officer programs, the warrant officer program does not require a college degree, but a Marine must meet the basic eligibility requirements as follows:
• Be a U.S. citizen.
• Be a high school graduate or have a General Equivalency Diploma.
• Have a Scholastic Assessment Test score of 900 or an American College Test score of 39. Gunners only must have a General Technical score of 110.
• Have no criminal offense other than minor traffic violations.
• Be recommended by their commanding officer.
Marines who meet the basic eligibility requirements must submit a packet to the selection board which convenes annually at Headquarters Marine Corps.
“It’s not easy,” said Oberhauser. “When I applied more than 3,000 applications were submitted and only 175 were chosen for the programs there.”
Asking a warrant officer about the program can also be helpful.
“It doesn’t ever hurt to ask about putting in a packet or talking to a warrant officer about the program,” said Oberhauser.
Marines who choose to become warrant officers can benefit in many ways and achieve more throughout their military careers, Oberhauser said.
Negaard agreed, “A benefit of being a warrant officer is that I get to be a liaison between the enlisted Marines and the officers and get to work with both sides.”
Both Negaard and Oberhauser concurred that enlisted Marines transitioning to warrant officers will have the opportunity to step up in leadership positions as well as having greater responsibilities in the Marine Corps.
Smiling, Oberhauser also mentioned that the retirement benefits can be very rewarding.