Photo courtesy of CW5 Gary Cloward
WO1 Hiram Nelson, center, receives
his new warrant officer
bar at his graduation from Warrant
Officer Candidate School.
DRAPER, Utah — Over the past year, 22 Utah National Guard
Soldiers who recently graduated from the Army’s Warrant
Officer Candidate School have brought that advanced training
and education back to their units.
Three of those warrants graduated near the top of their
classes and garnered honor graduate or commandant’s list
WO1 Curtis Fisher landed on the commandant’s list while WO1
Robert Goldsberry and WO1 Hiram Nelson were honor graduates
of their respective classes. The Army Warrant Officer Corps
is comprised of over 25,000 men and women of the active Army
and Reserve Components.
Guard Soldiers attend the school with their Active and
Reserve counterparts, which makes these Utah soldiers’ feat
even more special, said Command Chief Warrant Officer Gary
“Even our new warrant officers will bring a wealth of
knowledge and a breadth of experience that a second
lieutenant doesn’t bring to the table,” Cloward said. “About
five percent of the Guard is made up of warrant officers.
The Guard wouldn’t function without us, and our recent
warrant officers are a part of that.”
Warrant officers are innovative integrators of emerging
technologies, dynamic teachers, confident warfighters and
developers of specialized teams of Soldiers. However, the
history of the Army warrant officer dates back to 1918, when
Congress established the Army Mine Planter Service as part
of the Coast Artillery.
“We started out as mine-clearing experts and were used to
fill a niche specialty,” Cloward said. “Today warrant
officers are one of the most diverse groups of Soldiers you
will ever come across. We are specialized tactical and
technical experts in our chosen branches.”
According to Cloward, commanders identify most candidates
early in their careers and start to develop and mentor them.
Once selected, candidates attend the Army’s Warrant Officer
Candidate School at Fort Rucker, Ala. The school is designed
to transition Soldiers from the enlisted ranks to the
For Warrant Officer Curtis Fisher, a Spanish Fork resident,
who graduated in July 2006, making the transition from
noncommissioned officer to warrant officer enabled him to
extend his 25-year career and broaden his opportunities
within I Corps Artillery.
“I basically had reached as high as I could go on the
enlisted side,” said Fisher who had attained the rank of
sergeant major. “Also, as a federal technician it opens up
more opportunities for me.”
However, Fisher says the move wasn’t just for personal gain;
he has been able to give back to his unit in a new capacity.
“I’ve learned a lot and have been able to give back in a
different way,” he said. “Noncommissioned officers are the
doers and officers are the planners, and as a warrant I
bridge those two aspects into what I do now.”
Warrant Officer Hiram Nelson feels the same way. As a
Soldier in the Utah National Guard for more than 11 years,
Nelson said as a sergeant first class he looked up to the
warrant officers in the Military Intelligence brigade. The
American Fork resident graduated from the warrant officer
school in last May.
“There were outstanding examples of warrant officers all
around me,” Nelson said. “I looked at this as an opportunity
to serve my unit and my country in a better way than I could
in the NCO corps.”
As a warrant officer, Nelson said he is more involved in
long-range planning and organization and feels he has his
“I have an opportunity to work with the commander and other
officers now. It was something I had always wanted to be
involved in,” the Arabic linguist said.
Both warrant officers said the course was tough at times but
well worth the effort. They said that it is an opportunity
that other enlisted Soldiers should look at if they want to
become more proficient in their career fields, but it isn’t
an easy accomplishment.
“The school is almost like Basic Training on steroids,”
Nelson said. “I would recommend it—especially for those
Soldiers who want to become specialists in their chosen MOS
(military occupational specialty) fields.”