April 22, 2010

Warrant Officer Candidate School dedicates new building for their program

By Capt. Matt Nowak
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

FORT PICKETT , Va. — The Virginia National Guard Warrant Officer Candidate School from the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute conducted a building dedication ceremony April 17 at Fort Pickett to officially open its new home in building 1694.


Brig. Gen. Steve Huxtable, Assistant Adjutant General of Virginia - Army, cuts the ribbon on the new Warrant Officer Candidate School deducation building April 17 at Fort Pickett. (Photo by Capt. Matt Nowak, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

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Located in the Peregory Complex, building 1694 was recently renovated to fit the schools needs for phase II of WOCS. The building was previously a two level, open bay barrack. Since the renovation, the facility is used primarily to house offices for the Warrant Officer Candidate's cadre, student classrooms and overnight quarters for twenty male and six female WOCs. In addition, overnight facilities are provided for a male or female overnight Training, Advising, and Counseling officer to supervise the WOCs. Representatives from the Army's Warrant Officer Candidate School at Fort Rucker attended the ceremony to perform an accreditation of the Virginia WOCS and facilities. After the ceremony, the building was open for a tour.

The brief ceremony was well attended by many members of Virginia's warrant officer corps. The ceremony included remarks on bridging the present, with the current senior warrant officers, to the future, with having the current WOCS class stand and be recognized.

The facility is also used for the Pre-WOC course taught at Fort Pickett. Virginia is one of two states in the country to run a quarterly formal PWOCS to screen prospective applicants interested in becoming warrant officers. During non-WOCS/PWOC cycles, the classrooms are available for other uses for the RTI.

In addition to the building dedication ceremony, the current WOCS class took part in a sign unveiling. The WOCS provided a shadow box, which allows each class will come up with it's own design.

"We had to come together as a team and put this thing together.  It shows dedication, teamwork, and motivation," said Warrant Officer Candidate Anna Stewart. "In the box we had a number of things we had to include, such as our class color (blue), the rising eagle (WO Insignia since 1921), our motto "Always Forward, Sir!" and our mascot. We went with the Firebird to symbolize our dying (as NCO's) and coming back from the ashes (into WO's) with the knowledge we gained from our previous life."

The building will also be used as a reserve component WOCS and PWOC training venue, the future vision is to host a satellite Warrant Officer Staff Course and possibly a Warrant Officer Senior Staff Course. WOCS operations are conducted at the WOCS building with the exception of meals, which are provided at the near-by dining facility. The renovation also included updating the heating and cooling systems.

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