MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va --
Every year, hundreds of enlisted Marines join the officer ranks through the warrant officer program.
Warrant officers are sought for their physical, technical and mental capabilities, according to Chief Warrant Officer 3 David L. Pearson Jr., financial management resource officer, Marine Corps Recruiting Command.
Those who make the move to warrant officer are the most knowledgeable and experienced Marines in their respective job fields that the Corps has to offer.
“As a technical expert, you will be sought out for knowledge as a subject matter expert in your occupational specialty,” said Pearson.
There are four programs of warrant officers for Marines: Regular Active Duty, Active Reserve, Marine Gunner and Career Recruiter. Each program has different requirements for grade and time in service.
The Regular Active Duty and Active Reserve programs require Marines have at least eight years of service and a minimum rank of sergeant.
The Marine Gunner program requires at least 16 years active service and a rank of gunnery sergeant. Potential Marines must also serve in the 0369 Infantry Unit Leader military occupational specialty.
The Career Recruiter program requires Marines have at least 12 years of active service and a rank of staff sergeant. Recruiters must also have three years in the 8412 Career Recruiter MOS.
In addition to program specific requirements, potential warrant officers must be U.S. citizens, have a high school diploma or GED, meet education requirements, have no criminal offenses other than minor traffic violations and must be recommended by their commanding officer.
“Prior success as a staff non-commissioned officer or non-commissioned officer in your field is also critical in the selection process,” said Pearson.
To put in a package for one of the four warrant officer programs the Marine Corps offers, a potential appointee must include records dealing with their history of service in the Corps, their education, medical history, a recent photograph and a recommendation from their commanding officer. A detailed list of requirements is available in Marine Corps Order 1040.42A.
Warrant officer packages are forwarded by a Marines chain of command to the Commandant of the Marine Corps via the Commanding General of MCRC. MCRC hosts one board annually comprised of 20 warrant officers from across the Corps who select the most qualified from the pool of applicants. After selection, approved packages are compiled by MCRC and forwarded up the chain of command with final approval coming from the Secretary of the Navy.
One of MCRC’s own will soon be joining the warrant officer ranks.
“I pin on warrant officer Feb. 1, 2011, the first day [I report to] The Basic School,” said Staff Sgt. Jorge Dimmer, graphics chief, MCRC.
After 12 years of service and two unsuccessful packages, Dimmer was selected in the most recent warrant officer selection board.
“I put in two packages while I worked at the Pentagon,” said Dimmer. “This last time I was brought before the board and was selected.”
At MCRC, Dimmer is able to utilize his creative skills to enhance the efforts of the advertising section.
“As the graphics chief, I help J. Walter Thompson, the Marine Corps contracted advertising agency, by providing them with photos and video for their campaigns,” said Dimmer. “I also help the action officers here by designing and providing media for the campaigns they run.”
Similar to new lieutenants graduating Officer Candidate School, warrant officers attend a 13 week version of TBS, where they learn the skills essential to be a Marine officer. Though the warrant officer version of TBS is shortened, it is still physically demanding, making it important that those selected to become warrant officers are in good physical shape.
“You must be capable of handling the rigors of TBS,” said Pearson.
According to one Marine that works with Dimmer, this won’t be a problem for him.
“He works out a lot and he runs in triathlons so he’s in really good shape,” said Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Holbrook, diversity coordinator, MCRC.
After graduating, Dimmer will take his talents to California.
“After TBS, I will be the officer-in-charge for the combat camera shop at 3rd Marine Air Wing, Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.,” he said.
As is the case with everything in the Marine Corps, competition is tough for selection. Exactly how tough depends upon the MOS a Marine is applying for.
“There was only one opening for warrant officer in my MOS,” said Dimmer. “I will be a combat camera officer.”
However, small numbers of openings in a particular MOS should not discourage someone interested in putting in a package for warrant officer. Marines may choose two different job fields in their package, so long as they have experience working in them.
Upon assuming his new duty as an officer-in-charge, Dimmer’s duties will be very different from what he does now at MCRC.
“There will be more managing junior Marines and less creativity than I have now, where I can produce artwork and things of that nature,” said Dimmer. “I won’t be so much down on the ground taking photographs as I will be assigning my Marines to take them.”
Despite the change, Dimmer is up to the job and he’s not the only one who thinks so.
“He’s going to motivate his junior Marines,” said Holbrook. “He’s going to make a great officer.”
If you are interested in becoming a warrant officer, visit https://www.marines.usmc.mil/PA_NEW/officer/WO.htm for more information.