Chief warrant officer

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Chief Warrant Officer is a military rank used by the United States Armed Forces, the Canadian Armed Forces, the Israel Defense Forces, the South African National Defence Force, the Lebanese Armed Forces and, since 2012, the Singapore Armed Forces. In the United States Armed Forces Chief Warrant Officers are actual officers, not NCOs like other NATO forces.[1]

Canadian Armed Forces[edit]

In the Canadian Armed Forces, a chief warrant officer or CWO is the most senior non-commissioned member (NCM) rank in the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force. Its equivalent rank in the Royal Canadian Navy is chief petty officer 1st class (CPO1). The French language form of chief warrant officer is adjudant-chef (adjuc).

A CWO is senior to the rank of master warrant officer[2] (MWO) and its Royal Canadian Navy equivalent of chief petty officer 2nd class (CPO2).

Cadets Canada uses the ranks of chief petty officer 1st class, chief warrant officer, and warrant officer 1st class respectively. This organization's uniforms use a similar coat of arms insignia as the Canadian Armed Forces.


The slip on worn by warrant officers 1st class in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. This is signified by the word "cadet". In the Canadian Forces, "Canada" would be printed in its place.

The rank insignia of the CWO is a simplified version of the 1957 coat of arms of Canada, worn on both forearms of the service dress tunic; in gold metal and green enamel miniature pins on the collar of the service dress shirt and outerwear coats (Army only); on CADPAT slip-ons worn in the middle of the chest, embroidered in tan (Army) or blue (Air Force) thread; and in gold thread on blue slip-ons on both shoulders of other uniforms (Air Force only).

The insignia lacks the annulus, from 1985 changes, behind the shield bearing the motto of the Order of Canada. It also differs from both the 1957 and 1985 versions through a lack of compartment and mantling.

Forms of address[edit]

CWOs are generally initially addressed as "Chief Warrant Officer", and thereafter as "Sir" or "Ma'am" by subordinates; and as Mr. or Ms. by commissioned officers. If they hold the appointment of regimental sergeant-major, they may also be addressed as "RSM" by the commanding officer. CWOs are never addressed as "Chief", this being a form of address reserved for chief petty officers. Civilians can address them as Chief Warrant Officer or CWO or Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms (followed by surname).


CWOs may hold a number of appointments, some of which are listed below:

Due to the unified nature of the Canadian Armed Forces, it is not unheard-of for Royal Canadian Air Force CWOs or even Royal Canadian Navy CPO1s – especially those of the so-called "purple trades", such as logistics or military police – to find themselves filling the appointment of RSM in what are otherwise considered Canadian Army units (such as service battalions or communication regiments). Conversely, it is not impossible for a Canadian Army CWO or Royal Canadian Navy CPO1 to be the squadron CWO of a Royal Canadian Air Force squadron.

Senior appointments[edit]

Senior appointments for chief warrant officers and chief petty officers 1st class entitle the incumbents to wear a modified rank badge or an addition to the rank badge. They are as follows:[3]

Formation chief warrant officer[edit]

The coat of arms over the central insignia of the badge of the Canadian Armed Forces (crossed swords, an anchor and an eagle in flight). This appointment is given to CWO assigned to commanders at the base, brigade, wing, and division levels. Specific examples include base chief warrant officer, brigade sergeants-major, wing chief warrant officers, the division chief warrant officer (DCWO) of 1 Canadian Air Division and the division sergeant-major (Div SM) of 3rd Canadian Division (3 Cdn Div). A formation chief warrant officer would typically be seen with a colonel or brigadier-general, but may occasionally be seen with a lieutenant-colonel or major-general.

Command chief warrant officer (CCWO)[edit]

The coat of arms with a wreath of laurel wrapped around the base. This appointment is given to CWO assigned to commanders of commands including to the commander Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, commander Canadian Forces Intelligence Command and commander Canadian Joint Operations Command. The command chief warrant officer appointed to the commander Canadian Army is called the Canadian Army sergeant-major, while the command chief warrant officer appointed to commander RCAF is known as the Chief Warrant Officer of the Air Force. A command chief warrant officer would be seen with a major-general or lieutenant-general.

Canadian Forces chief warrant officer (CFCWO)[edit]

Messes and quarters[edit]

CWOs generally mess and billet with other warrant officers and with sergeants, and their Royal Canadian Navy equivalents, chief petty officers and petty officers. Their mess on military bases or installations are generally named the "Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess".


Although NCMs, CWOs generally wear the uniform accoutrements of commissioned officers; for example, officer cap badge, waistcoat instead of cummerbund with mess dress, etc.

Israel Defense Forces[edit]

Rav nagad

The רב-נגד Rav nagad, a Chief Warrant Officer is the most senior non-commissioned officers rank in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Because the IDF is an integrated force, they have a unique rank structure. IDF ranks are the same in all services (army, navy, air force, etc.). The ranks are derived from those of the paramilitary Haganah developed in the British Mandate of Palestine period to protect the Yishuv. This origin is reflected in the slightly-compacted IDF rank structure.

Israel Defense Forces ranks : נגדים nagadim - non-commissioned officers (NCO)
Rav samal
רב-סמל ראשון
Rav samal rishon
רב-סמל מתקדם
Rav samal mitkadem
רב-סמל בכיר
Rav samal bakhír
רב-נגד משנה
Rav nagad mishne
Rav nagad
NATO  OR-5 OR-6 OR-7 OR-8 OR-9
Abbreviation רס"ל
Sergeant first class Master sergeant Sergeant major Command sergeant major Warrant officer Chief warrant officer
Insignia IDF Ranks Rasal.svg IDF Ranks Rasar.svg IDF Ranks Rasam.svg IDF Ranks Rasab.svg IDF Ranks Ranam.svg IDF Ranks Ranag.svg
More details at Israel Defense Forces ranks & IDF 2012 - Ranks (, english)

South African Armed Forces[edit]

In 2008[4] the Warrant Officer ranks of the South African National Defence Force were expanded and the rank of Chief Warrant Officer was created. In the South African Navy a Chief Warrant Officer is the senior NCO in Fleet Command. In the South African Army the equivalent is the senior NCO in an Army Formation, such as Armour, Infantry etc.

Chief Warrant Officer rank insignia in the SANDF

United States Armed Forces[edit]

Chief Warrant Officer in the United States Armed Forces refers to any warrant officer CWO-2 and above. All Warrant Officers (WO1/CWO-5) are officers and rate a salute by all enlisted "NATO OR" personal. Only the US Army uses W1-CW5; all others use CWO-2 thru CWO-5. All Warrants dine in officers mess but rate just below 0-1 NATO rank code OF-1.The Warrant officer emblems are the only Officers insignia that are not the same for all branches except for the CWO-5 which became the only universal insignia with in the CWO ranks when the US Navy promoted its first CWO-5 in 2002 and the Army adopted the emblem in 2004. While chief warrant officers (W-2 to W-5) are commissioned by the President of the United States, both warrant officers and chief warrant officers take the same Oath of Office as regular commissioned officers (O-1 to O-10).

Warrant officers in the United States are classified as officers and are in the "W" category (NATO "WO"); they are technical leaders and specialists. Chief warrant officers are commissioned by the president of the United States and take the same oath as regular commissioned officers. They may be technical experts with a long service as enlisted personnel, or direct entrants, notably for U.S. Army helicopter pilots.

Grade Rank Abbreviation Army Air Force
Navy Coast Guard Marine Corps
W-1 Warrant officer one WO-1
WO1 (Army)
U.S. Army warrant officer 1 rank insignia
U.S. Air Force warrant officer 1 rank insignia
US Navy WO1 insignia.svg
US CG WO1 insignia.svg
USMC warrant officer 1 rank insignia
W-2 Chief warrant officer two CWO-2
CW2 (Army)
U.S. Army chief warrant officer 2 rank insignia
U.S. Air Force chief warrant officer 2 rank insignia
U.S. Navy chief warrant officer 2 rank insignia
U.S. Coast Guard chief warrant officer 2 rank Insignia
USMC chief warrant officer 2 rank insignia
W-3 Chief warrant officer three CWO-3
CW3 (Army)
U.S. Army chief warrant officer 3 rank insignia
U.S. Air Force chief warrant officer 3 rank insignia
U.S. Navy chief warrant officer 3 rank insignia
U.S. Coast Guard chief warrant officer 3 rank insignia
USMC chief warrant officer 3 rank insignia
W-4 Chief warrant officer four CWO-4
CW4 (Army)
U.S. Army chief warrant officer 4 rank insignia
U.S. Air Force chief warrant officer 4 rank insignia
U.S. Navy chief warrant officer 4 rank insignia
U.S. Coast Guard chief warrant officer 4 rank insignia
USMC chief warrant officer 4 rank insignia
W-5 Chief warrant officer five CWO-5
CW5 (Army)
U.S. Army chief warrant officer 5 rank insignia
U.S. Air Force chief warrant officer 5 rank insignia
US Navy CW5 insignia.svg

USMC chief warrant officer 5 rank insignia

Notable Warrant Officers[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ David F. Cooper. "Valor awards for David F. Cooper". Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  6. ^ Keith Yoakum. "Valor awards for Keith Yoakum". Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  7. ^ Jason W. Myers. "Valor awards for Jason W. Myers". Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  8. ^ "TogetherWeServed - WO John LANG". Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  9. ^ Floyd Bennett
  10. ^ John William Frederick , Jr. "Valor awards for John William Frederick , Jr". Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Last continuously serving draftee retires after 42 years of service". 2014-10-28. Retrieved 2014-11-19.