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Minnesota National Guard
Warrant Officers provide stable unit foundation

By all accounts, the Minnesota National Guard's Warrant Officer Candidate School at the 175th Regional Training Institute at Camp Ripley has been a complete success


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Candidates in the program are assigned to the 175th RTI and complete their training over their drill weekend, providing the most appeal and the least amount of disruption for traditional Soldiers who drill one weekend each month, according to Chief Warrant Officer 5 Peter Panos, the senior warrant officer advisor to the adjutant general

Upon graduation, the warrant officer typically takes their position in the unit and stays there, providing continuity and technical expertise within the unit as officers and NCOs come and go
Warrant Officers are true subject matter experts - the "mortar that holds the organization together," as Panos describes it

There have been about 60 graduates since the first RTI course graduated in 2006, and in an over staffed environment, the school can afford to be more selective

"I think we do a much better job right now of adhering to standards and identifying the right group of individuals," said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Keith Schweitzer, a trainer with the 175th RTI

As a trainer of warrant officer candidates, Schweitzer is more concerned with teaching leadership than putting a warrant officer candidate on the ground to do push-ups There's no point in beating someone up if the instructor cannot relate the lesson back to a regulation or to troop leading procedures, said Schweitzer

Another advantage of a National Guard warrant officer is the integration of civilian skills to job-specific skills And warrant officers often bring prior army experience to their new careers
Perhaps no one epitomizes that synthesis of insight and experience more than Panos

After leaving the Marines, Panos joined the Army and went into the intelligence field While in California, Panos became a police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department, and also went to flight school, going on to fly commercial jets for several years in addition to his police work

He moved to Minnesota and joined the St Paul Police Department and Minnesota Army National Guard After a stateside Medevac deployment, Panos was tapped for the 1st Brigade Combat Team deployment that began in September 2005

This long deployment is what broadened his view of the warrant officer corps At that point, Panos knew he wanted to get more involved in his career as a warrant officer

Panos said one of the biggest parts of his job is to change the perceptions of people in the military about the warrant officer corps, and the benefits of warrant officers within a command

"I think a lot of commanders don't realize how important a warrant officer is to them," he said

By Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
May 16, 2012




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