Maybe the Air Force will get a clue card from this and bring back Warrant Officers. Not only in flying rolls but for most technically oriented jobs such as Aircraft Maintenance and Munitions.
Navy's First Flying Helo Warrant Boards Bataan
Story Number: NNS091006-02
Release Date: 10/6/2009 5:01:00 AM
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Stephen Oleksiak, USS Bataan Public Affairs
USS BATAAN, At sea (NNS) -- Fourteen Sailors were selected in 2006 to become the Navy's first "Flying Chief Warrant Officers," and more than three years later, the "Flying 14" are still making history.
When Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) Michael Adams, from Coalinga, Calif., reported to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 22, and embarked aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) in June, he became the first CWO helicopter pilot to complete his training and begin living his dream as a pilot in an operational environment.
Adams was no stranger to rotary aircraft, spending nearly nine years as an aviation warfare systems operator before his commissioning in December 2006.
"I was a rescue swimmer flying in H60F/H's, and I wanted to change seats," said Adams. "This program was the perfect opportunity for me to do that."
For Adams, the timing to switch seats could not have been better. According to the first NAVADMIN soliciting applications, the Navy was looking to supplement the current officer aviation force by placing qualified CWOs in the cockpit as pilots and naval flight officers (NFOs). The requirements specified candidates must be between paygrades E-5 and E-7, young enough to be commissioned by their 27th birthday (29 for NFOs) and must already possess an associates degree. Adams met every requirement.
"My wife and I were so excited when the message came back," said Adams. "It was surreal."
The new officer didn't have much time to look back on the hard work that earned him a selection. He spent the next two years attending various officer indoctrination courses, pre-flight schools and piloting schools before completing his training at Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 2.
Adams has now settled in with his new squadron embarked aboard Bataan where he serves as the detachment's assistant operations officer and flight schedule writer, but he never misses an opportunity to step into the cockpit.
"His flying abilities are equal to any unrestricted line officer pilot that I've seen," said Aviation Warfare Systems Operator 2nd Class (NAC) Aaron Gardner, from Benson, N.C. "Plus, his prior enlisted background gives him an understanding of the crew, which makes him a more approachable leader."
With 12 years of service under his belt, Adams has plenty of flight hours ahead of him, both in and out of uniform.
"This is an opportunity that will certainly carry me into retirement many years from now," said Adams. "When I've retired, I hope to be flying helicopters somewhere on the West Coast."
For more information on the Flying CWO program visit www.npc.navy.mil or contact your command career counselor.
The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group is conducting Maritime Security Operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Operations.
For more news from USS Bataan (LHD 5), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd5/.