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Warrant officers needed, but selection is tough

Feb. 17, 2013 - 10:55AM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 17, 2013 - 10:55AM  |  
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Wesley Turner, the Regimental Combat Team 5 regimental gunner, talks to Marines prior to rifle marksmanship training at Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif., in June 2011. Marine officials want capable enlisted Marines to become warrant officer gunners.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Wesley Turner, the Regimental Combat Team 5 regimental gunner, talks to Marines prior to rifle marksmanship training at Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif., in June 2011. Marine officials want capable enlisted Marines to become warrant officer gunners. (Lance Cpl. Daniel Kujanpaa / Marine Corps)
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Marine officials are soliciting applications from enlisted Marines to become highly specialized warrant officer gunners or recruiters. While the selection process is very competitive, Marines at the forefront of either specialty gain job security and prestige if they make the switch.

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Marine officials are soliciting applications from enlisted Marines to become highly specialized warrant officer gunners or recruiters. While the selection process is very competitive, Marines at the forefront of either specialty gain job security and prestige if they make the switch.

Gunners and recruiters are part of the broader warrant officer community, but the specialized jobs have their own selection boards. Those boards screen 0369 infantry unit leaders and 8412 career recruiters for the most experienced among them to serve as either keepers of the Corps' knowledge on infantry weapons and combat marksmanship or guardians who shepherd the next generation of Marines.

Because warrant officers are technical experts whose duties require extensive knowledge of a specific job, they are designated as restricted officers, immune to the force-shaping measures Marine leaders are using to cut active-duty end strength to 182,100 by 2017.

Making the cut is extremely competitive, however.

The warrant officer community at large also is competitive. The regular enlisted to warrant officer selection board, set to convene at the end of April, offers opportunities in 43 other MOSs. Only about 200 of the 600 to 700 Marines expected to apply will make the cut, Marine officials said in December. Selection varies by MOS, however. Applications for those boards are due Feb. 28.

To be considered as a warrant officer in any field, Marines must meet a stringent set of eligibility criteria. That includes an up-to-date health screening and a record mostly free of minor transgressions and certainly of more serious criminal offenses. Even waivers for drug use granted when Marines first enlisted will be reconsidered when they apply for warrant officer.

Being selected isn't the final hurdle. Marines don't receive their commission until they complete the Warrant Officer Basic Course at The Basic School in Quantico, Va.

Gunnery sergeants or above, now serving in the 0369 infantry unit leader MOS, who are interested in becoming gunners must apply by May 24. The two-week gunner board will convene on or about July 9, with results expected in mid-September.

Staff sergeants or above serving in the 8412 career recruiter MOS must apply by July 5. The three-day board is set to convene on or about July 30, and results can be expected near the end of September.

For full details, refer to Marine administrative messages 063/13 and 064/13, available online.

Here is a rundown of what the two jobs entail.

Gunners

Marine gunners are the Corps' premier experts on infantry weapons and combat marksmanship. Those selected are awarded the 0306 infantry weapons officer MOS at the rank of chief warrant officer 2.

To be competitive, Marines "must possess combat arms skills, operational experience, extensive knowledge of infantry and combat marksmanship doctrine and other such expertise that can be used to make a significant contribution to the war fighting capabilities of their future units and to the infantry/ground combat element advocacy process as a whole," reads MARADMIN 063/13, signed Feb. 2.

The job is demanding. Selected Marines will deploy with their units, be assigned to ranges and complete tours at commands that develop doctrine or procure next-generation infantry weapons.

"They will maintain their high degree of expertise by combining consecutive tours in the operating force, a base or station range complex and tours of duty at Training and Education Command and Systems Command," the MARADMIN reads.

Much of their time will be spent downrange.

"Due to continual operating forces assignment, Marine gunners should expect to receive permanent change-of-station orders upon graduation and to spend a large amount of time deployed," according to the message.

Although not required, to be highly competitive for selection to gunner, Marines should have served as weapons company operations chief or battalion or regimental operations chief.

Selectees can expect to be appointed on or about Feb. 1, 2014.

Recruiters

Marines selected to become 4810 recruiting operations officers, are "a source of expertise on all aspects of recruiting and must be able to communicate that knowledge to others," reads MARADMIN 064/13, signed Feb. 2.

They help shape the Marine Corps' recruiting efforts. They can serve at a recruiting station, a Marine Corps district office, a recruiting region office or Headquarters Marine Corps.

Their duties range from compiling and analyzing monthly recruiting stats at a recruiting station to monitoring the training of recruiters on behalf of HQMC. They may also be responsible for training new recruiters themselves.

To be eligible, Marines must be 8412 career recruiters, have a successful tour in a career recruiter billet and have between eight and 20 years of service.

Staff sergeants will be selected to the grade of warrant officer 1, while gunnery sergeants will be appointed to the rank of chief warrant officer 2.

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