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Stratos

US Army aviation acronym?

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I'm reading the Osprey book about Apache units of Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

GIKowvW.jpg

They talk about CW2 and CW3, that I suspect there are the crewmembers, but cannot find what CW means, and why the 2 and 3. Anyone know?

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Yes, that designation references a "Chief Warrant Officer."  Here is one source definition that should be helpful:  "Warrant Officers are recognized as the most technically and tactically competent soldiers of differing certain specialties in the Army.  The base rank for Warrant Officers is Warrant Officer 1 (WO1). Still recognized as technical and tactical experts at this rank, WO1's serve from the team level (7 to 25 soldiers, depending on the type of team) thru the battalion level (around 800 soldiers)."  And each subsequent rank of course has more expertise and governing authority up to CW5.

  

Edited by swambast
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I understand it now, thanks for the explanation Swambast and for the link Menrva. We have something similar rank in Spain, but I think they're just a medium rank, not specialized, but can be wrong. It now all makes sense, but is curious all those Apache choppers being flown by relatively low rank officers.

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actually, those are NON-commisioned officers. (NCOs) most USArmy helo pilots have been NCOs since vietnam (probably even before)

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sorry other Kevin, to let the retired NCO explain...

Commisioned Officers are the bulk of military pilots to include US Army aviators. these are ranks O-1 through roughly O-6 (Leiutenant through Colonel) with most Generals not flying often if at all

Warrant Officers can be pilots in the US Army as well. the other branches did away with WO pilots several decades ago. The Flight Warrant is the only Warrant Officer that can become a Warrant without first being an NCO, even right out of basic training if certain scores are high enough. Their ranks run WO1, CW2 -CW5 and are generally addressed as "Chief", "Sir" or "Mister". a CW5 by the way is rather rare to see, but generally has all the courtesies extended to a Colonel. they are THE expert and can quote things the authors of the manuals have to go back and check. Non flight warrants are still experts in their fields, but must work through the ranks to become a Sergeant (E-5) minimum to gain practical experience in their field.

Non Commissioned Officers is what most not familiar with the Army would call Sergeants or Corporals. this encompasses ranks from E-4 (in the case of a Corporal) through E-8( Master Sergeant). they can be aircrew (crew chiefs, gunners, flight medics) and may unofficially get stick time, but are officially not allowed to fly the birds. there are still more senior NCO ranks but again they rarely fly even as crewmembers having alot more unit admin and leadership work to do.

in fact the last NCO pilots in US service either got put out or commisioned after WW2, or moved to the Warrant Officer side of the house

Stratos, another explanation of commission vs non commission is that the comissioned officer got their position thru education and is appointed by Congress to lead the troops. the Non Commissioned Officer comes up through the ranks and leads the enlisted Soldiers through their experience and gives guidance to the commissioned officers on how to accomplish the given missions. The Warrants are the subject matter experts in most cases, and the pool of available aviators in this case (still generally more knowledgeable than the ringknockers tho)

Edited by daddyairplanes
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