WyARNG soldiers transition from NCOs to warrant officers

Sgt. Ashley Smith, 197th Public Affairs Detachment

After facing many challenging tasks, both mentally and physically, three soldiers from the Wyoming Army National Guard graduated from Warrant Officer Candidate School (WOCS) on Sept. 23, at the Colorado Army National Guard’s 168th Regiment, Regional Training Institute, at Fort Carson.

Through a partnership with the Colorado National Guard, Warrant Officer Matthew Schafer, Warrant Officer Brady M. Sheridan, and Staff Sgt. Iesha K. Costalez were among 12 soldiers receiving recognition for completing the three-phase course.

Completing an online distance learning class was the candidates’ first phase, followed by five months of WOCS training in lieu of standard unit training assemblies, or drill weekends.

Warrant officer candidates from around the nation gathered for the third phase, at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, where they conducted a one-week field exercise and spent another week in garrison.

The graduation ceremony was an opportunity to celebrate the transition process the soldiers faced as they took a big step from being a noncommissioned officer to being a warrant officer, said Brig. Gen. Brian Nesvik, WyARNG assistant adjutant general.

“With every promotion, comes increased rank and increased responsibility but also comes with it greater expectations from those that these folks will be charged with,” Nesvik said. “Increased expectation of their performance both as technical experts and also as leaders in whatever organization they go back to.”

Sheridan, the Standard Installation and Division Personnel Reporting System chief for the WyARNG, expressed great joy for the time he served as a NCO, while he expressed his desire to become a warrant officer. He explained that NCOs are the individuals who accomplish the tasks, while officers are the ones who develop the plan.

Schafer has been in the Guard for 13 years and is now an intelligence officer for the joint staff. He will now set his sights on more schooling.

“I’ve wanted to do this for the last 12 years of my career. I’ve always looked up to warrant officers and their knowledge. It was a really stressful course,” he said of the last two phases of WOCS. “They wanted to make sure you really wanted to be there.”

“I have done human resources in the military for nine years now,” Sheridan said. “So, the fact they really zeroed in on one particular technical ability and I’d become an expert in that field is what drew me to the warrant officer cohort as opposed to a commissioned officer.”

The most rewarding part of the course, aside from graduating, was redirecting his focus from the NCO mentality to that of an officer.

“I never really thought the mindset had to shift that much,” he said. “You really have to focus on developing your entire team in the bigger picture as an officer, where as an NCO you’re executing all the time.”

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