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Posted: 5/2/2010 11:49:05 AM EDT
High-flying CWO3 could be first of many

By Andrew Tilghman - Staff writer
Posted : Sunday May 2, 2010 12:48:48 EDT

When Chief Warrant Officer 3 Michael Adams earned his qualification as an aircraft commander for MH-60S Seahawks in March, he was forging a path for potentially many more sailors.

Adams was the first enlisted sailor to move through the Flying Warrant Officer Program that began in 2006 and pass the aircraft commander milestone, which allows him to “sign” for a helicopter and lead a crew on a mission.

Learning to fly was not the hardest part for the 31-year-old former naval aircrewman first class and rescue swimmer.

“The hardest transition is just going from being a senior crew chief to being back in the squadron as the most junior person checking in,” Adams said in a recent interview.

Forty sailors make up the experimental program, which puts former sailors in the cockpit and creates a nontraditional career path in the aviation community. The program feeds aviators into the helicopter, P-3 Orion and the E-6 Mercury — or “TACAMO,” for “Take Charge and Move Out” — communities.

Unlike line officers, flying warrants focus solely on flying for their entire career rather than spending time on officer career requirements that include department head tours and Pentagon staff jobs.

It remains unclear whether the Navy will extend or expand the 4-year-old program. Initially limited to 30 sailors, officials expanded the program to 45 slots last year.

“We needed a little more time to let these guys get through to their first sea tours, give them some time in the squadron to get their qualifications and see how their performance is, get some feedback from their COs,” said Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Barnes, a placement officer with Navy Personnel Command who helps oversee the flying warrants program.

A final round of six sailors — three pilots and three naval flight officers — will be chosen by a selection board in July. Applications are due June 28.

For the past four years, the program has received a steady stream of applicants. Five of the 45 sailors admitted to the program have dropped out for various reasons, Barnes said.

“It’s an excellent program, especially for people that didn’t quite know the difference between officer and enlisted when they joined the Navy,” Adams said. “I know a lot of people have no idea when they join.”

WHO’S ELIGIBLE?
The flying warrants program is open to sailors from nearly all communities. Applicants must:

• Be able to be commissioned before the sailor’s 27th birthday; however, age waivers are available.

• Have an associate degree or higher.

• Agree to eight years of additional service for pilots, six for naval flight officers.

To apply, call Melinda Weeden at 901-874-3964 or e-mail melinda.weeden@navy.mil.
Link Posted: 5/2/2010 11:58:07 AM EDT
Works for me!  Great news.
Link Posted: 5/2/2010 12:00:46 PM EDT
sweet. Now bring back the NCO Pilots!
Link Posted: 5/2/2010 12:04:41 PM EDT




Originally Posted By KA3B:

High-flying CWO3 could be first of many



...


Everything old, is new again:





http://bluejacket.com/sea-service_nap_index.htm





















Enlisted

Naval Aviation Pilots (NAP)

USN, USMC & USCG

1916-1981







Naval Aviation Pilots





The Early Years: 1916-1918





"On the first of January 1916, a class of enlisted men was formed and placed under instruction in flying. These men were selected from the Bluejackets and Marines already on duty at Pensacola or on board the North Carolina. They are making excellent progress", wrote Captain Mark L. Bristol, Director of Naval Aviation in memorandum to the Secretary of the Navy.





The first group of enlisted pilots are Navy Petty Officers, A. P. Bauer, A. A. Bressman, A. F. Dietrich, P. J. Dunlevy, F. Grompe, A. Hayes, and L. A. Walty, and Marine Corps Sergeants J. Makolin and W. E. McCaughtry. A second group began training on March 21, 1917 and includes Walter D. Bonner, Clarence A. Hawkins, Oliver F. Kilmer, Guy McLaughlin, Thomas H. Murphy, Peter Talbot, Ciochino Varini and Guy A. Walker. A. A. Bressman is in both the first and second class.





Most of the initial enlisted pilots are promoted to warrant officer, then to commissioned officer status, and designated Naval Aviators. In addition, a few enlisted men receive instruction and qualify as pilots, but do not receive any designation. Two in this category are Charles T. Briar and Carlton Palmer. With the advent of World War One, enlisted pilot training is discontinued at Pensacola.





In March 1917, a recruiting program is implemented to enlist 200 men specifically for aviation duty. The plan is to enlist 100 Landsman to train for Quartermaster (Aviation) and 100 Landsman to train for Machinist's Mate (Aviation). This first aviation rate training is in Pensacola. The bluejackets are schooled in five basic subjects and detailed to serve in ground maintenance.





The Navy's first Aeronautic Detachment leaves for France in June 1917 and is led by Lieutenant Kenneth Whiting. The detachment consists of seven officers and 122 enlisted. The unit's mission is to prepare bases and receive additional training in mechanics and flying. In the initial group are 50 Landsmen in training for Quartermaster (Aviation) and 50 Landsmen in training for Machinist's Mate (Aviation). Approximately 33 of the Quartermaster (Aviation) trainees complete flight training in France and a few in Italy. Harold H. Karr and Clarence Woods, Quartermaster (Aviation) trainees, receive both French and Italian wings.





After flying as Quartermaster (Aviation) first or second class petty officers, most are advanced to commissioned officer status. Twenty are known to remain in enlisted pilot status.






















Edward J. Bamrick

Charles J. Boylan

D. D. Chaplin

Joseph C. Cline

Harold A. Elliott

Paul E. Gillespie

Foss M. Hardendorf

Robert H. Harrell

Harold H. Karr

George W. Knowles
Robert E. Lee

Francis E. Lovejoy

Edwin Nirmaier

Erlon H. Parker

Walter V. Seiler

F. H. Tuttle

Charles E. Wardwell

Mac Weddell

Clarence Woods

Franklin Young


The Middle Years: 1919-1940





The Bureau of Navigation decrees in October 1919, "In the future, it will be the policy of the Bureau to select a certain number of warrant officers and enlisted men for flight training and duty as pilots of large heavier-than-air craft and directional pilots of dirigibles."





The enlisted pilot designation Naval Aviation Pilot (NAP) is first used in January 1920. NAP certificate number one, dated January 22, 1920 is issued by the Bureau of Navigation to Harold H. "Kiddy" Karr, CQM (A) (NAP) USN. NAPs continue to retain their specialty rates and perform rating duties as well as fly.





Qualifications for pilot training are further elaborated. Applicants must be a chief warrant officer, warrant officer, chief petty officer, or petty officer first class. The age limit of thirty years old narrows the field as warrant officers and chief petty officers rarely achieve the required grade by that age. A clear record, high moral character and excellent physical condition are additional stipulations and the instruction states "no waivers to be granted." Later clarification details that upon completion of training the candidates are to be ordered to flying duty. Warrants are titled "Student Naval Aviators," while enlisted men are "Student Airmen" to distinguish them from the officer Naval Aviators. A Pensacola Station Notice of 06 February 1920 lists Class 1 with thirty-six enlisted men in heavier-than-air and four in lighter-than-air training.





In 1921 three NAP designations are made - seaplane, ship-plane and airship. Balloon pilots are not considered NAPs although some wear the one winged badge for a short season. The Bureau of Navigation directs all enlisted men who have been designated Naval Aviator to request the proper designation of Naval Aviation Pilot (NAP). They are authorized to continue to wear their specialty rating badge on their sleeve and Naval Aviator wings on the upper left chest.





An additional school is established at North Island, California, to increase the number of ship-plane pilots. Normal attrition keeps the number of NAPs between 100 and 130 with about two-thirds of those in fleet squadrons and the remainder in shore based squadrons. To improve the number of bluejacket pilots, Congress passes legislation requiring the ratio of enlisted pilots to officer pilots be thirty percent.





The Marine Corps offers a small number of enlisted Marines "in-the-field" instruction governed by a training syllabus issued in 1923. The Marine Corps Order authorizes those who complete the course to be designated Naval Aviation Pilots. "Any enlisted man who could qualify in practical and theoretical flying as outlined in the syllabus could be recommend for designation at once." Hence, in mid 1923, First Sergeant Benjamin F. Belcher and four Gunnery Sergeants, Neil W. Abbott, Archie Paschal, Millard T. Shepard and Peter P. Tolusciak are designated USMC NAPs one through five. Tolusciak is a former pilot in the French Army and officer in the Polish Army.





The Navy enlisted rating of Chief Aviation Pilot (CAP) is established in 1924 for those qualified in heavier-than-air craft. The rating badge for AP uses a replica of Naval Aviator wings. The Aviation Pilot First Class (AP1c) rate is added in 1927.





All enlisted flight training is discontinued in 1932 and the AP rate is discontinued in 1933. Chief and First Class APs are required to convert to technical aviation ratings or Radioman. The designation NAP added after the rating is again used to note enlisted pilot status. With World War Two, the Aviation Pilot (AP) rating is re-established in 1942, but now includes chief petty officer through third class petty officer. With many enlisted pilots receiving officer commissions and a decline in the number of enlisted pilots, the AP3c is soon discontinued. Student pilots are advanced to AP2c upon graduation of flight training.





The enlisted pilot attrition rate during training in the 1920's and early 1930's is problematic. In 1927 a study recommends that potential NAPs be high school graduates, in aviation ratings, be on at least their second enlistment and meet the same age requirement of the officer pilot candidate program. Some qualified fleet sailors are sent to elimination training to better improve the pass rate, while others are sent directly from the fleet to pilot training. A more radical recommendation involves sending volunteers straight from initial recruit training to ten weeks of elimination training. The goal is ten recruits per week qualified to enter pilot training. The boot camp to pilot program is approved in January 1929.





One of the amusing stories from the recruit to pilot program involves George W. Webber Seaman 2c (NAP). In the first class of recruits to graduate from the program, Webber is ordered to VS-3 aboard the USS Lexington for duty involving flying. Berthing space is scarce and Webber is assigned a cot on deck. Each squadron is required to supply messcooks to assist the ship's cooks in the galley. VS-3 being short of non-rated men sends their newest Seaman 2c to messcooking duty. Webber does his galley duty, flies with his squadron off the carrier, and spends nights on his cot on deck. Webber's messdeck shipmates are concerned that he is impersonating a pilot and advise him he will be in big trouble if caught wearing aviator wings. Webber invites his fellow messcooks topside to observe one of his flights and put their concerns to rest. When the Lexington's Commanding Officer, Capt E. J. King, (later Admiral), learns that one of his carrier pilots is messcooking, Webber's mess duties quickly end. Commander Webber retires in 1959.





The Navy finds the thirty percent enlisted pilots requirement difficult to maintain and recommendation is made to Congress to decrease the number of NAPs from thirty percent to twenty percent. Congress legislates the change in 1932. With a lowered percentage requirement, the economic depression, and a Navy's economy drive, all NAP training ceases from 1932 to 1936. A trickle of bluejackets are added to the training pipeline from 1936 on to maintain the twenty percent level.





The Late Years: 1941-1981





With the build up of forces immediately preceding World War Two the number of NAPs increases in proportion to commissioned pilots. The requirement for more officers finds a ready source in the NAP community and an increasing number of NAPs are commissioned as Naval Aviator. During World War Two, commissioning of enlisted pilots continues with estimates that ninety-five percent of the NAPs are given temporary officer commissions during their military career. A number of commissions are made permanent with completion of college education programs.












The assignment of NAPs to duties other than piloting aircraft is not limited to Navy messcooking. In the early days of the 1942 battle for Guadalcanal Marine Air Group 14, sorely in need of combat pilots, found they were missing two NAP sergeants in their forward deployment. A search of the records reveals that Sergeants Ollie Michael (left) and Rohe C. Jones (right) have been ordered to latrine digging duties on New Caledonia. The two leathernecks are hastily cut orders back to their squadron and pilot Douglas SBDs in the fierce contest for possession of the Solomons. Jones is killed during his third combat tour. Michael is credited with sinking three Japanese ships in November and December 1942. (Photo by Perry N. Colby, Nov 42. NNAM)





In flight operations, while airborne, experience dictates the position of enlisted pilots. A bluejacket pilot of a single pilot aircraft may lead a section and have an officer flying in his section. In multi-engine aircraft it is not uncommon for an enlisted pilot to be plane commander with a less experienced officer in the right seat. On the ground, the normal officer and enlisted status resume.





The Enlisted Flight Training Program is cut following World War Two. A few enlisted pilots receive training after the war, but in 1948 Congress ends the requirement for enlisted aviators. Whereas, some hold 1948 as the termination of the NAP program, in fact many enlisted pilots continue their careers in the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard in the following decades. With the reduction in forces, temporary officer commissions are relinquished and a number of NAPs returned to their permanent enlisted status.





When the Korean War began in June 1950, the Marine Corps has 255 NAPs. By the ceasefire in July 1953 the number of NAPs in the Corps had dropped to 137. At the advent of Vietnam in 1964 the number of NAPs in Marine aviation is 27. The last four U.S. Marine Corps enlisted pilots, Master Gunnery Sergeants Joseph A. Conroy, Leslie T. Ericson, Robert M. Lurie and Patrick J. O'Neil, simultaneously retire on February 1, 1973.





The Coast Guard's unofficial roster lists 216 NAPs. All but 37 are trained during the forty-four months of World War Two. ADCM John P. Greathouse, the last Coast Guard enlisted pilot, retires in 1979.





In 1955 the number of non commissioned Navy pilots in flight status hovers around 300. Retirements coupled with advancements into Limited Duty Officer status continually cut into the number of bluejacket aviators. The last enlisted pilot on active duty is ACCM Robert K. "NAP" Jones, who retires from the Navy on January 31, 1981.





Link Posted: 5/2/2010 12:09:49 PM EDT
The Army trusts its multi-million dollar aircraft to Warrant Officers. Its about time the Navy followed suit.
Link Posted: 5/2/2010 12:15:46 PM EDT
I know a retired Marine that started as an enlisted helicopter pilot he became a limited duty officer and if I remember what he said correctly his rank upon seperation was E9 but he retired with O level benefit. It was very interesting talking to him learned some stuff I never knew.
Link Posted: 5/2/2010 12:22:04 PM EDT


Meanwhile, in one of the other crew seats:













The Marine Aerial Navigator insignia is a military badge of the United States Marine Corps that is issued to Marine Corps enlisted personnel who complete flight training as a navigator on board Marine Corps aircraft. The Marine Aerial Navigator insignia is not issued to U.S. Naval aviation personnel and is the only independent aviation insignia issued to the Marine Corps.



The Marine Aerial Navigator insignia is similar in appearance to the Naval Flight Officer insignia and is considered a "successor" to the Naval Aviation Observer (Navigation) insignia, issued between March 1945 and March 1947.



To be awarded the Marine Aerial Navigator insignia, a service member must complete the Marine Aerial Navigator Course. The Marine Aerial Navigation School was stationed at Mather AFB, until that base was closed under the BRAC, upon which time it was moved to Randolph AFB. The Marine Aerial Navigation School remained at Randolph until the school[url=#cite_note-0][1][/url] was decommissioned with the graduation of Class 04-01 on 31 July, 2004. Presently, personnel must obtain an equivalent formal course of another service and volunteer to fly as enlisted aircrew. Marine Aerial Navigators were eliminated with the introduction of the KC-130J aircraft. While training of Marine Aerial Navigators has ceased, they continue to fly on the 'legacy' KC-130T aircraft until their eventual replacement with KC-130J airframes.



Upon completion of training, and certification as a Marine Corps Navigator, the Marine Aerial Navigator insignia is presented. After designation, Marine Aerial Navigators serve in the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) 7371 (Aerial Navigator-Trainee) while undergoing aircraft model-specific training and move into MOS 7372 (First Navigator) upon completion of their aircraft type training. Navigators that enter the warrant officer ranks move into MOS 7380 (Mission Specialist/Navigation Officer). There is no separate insignia worn by warrant officer navigators.










Link Posted: 5/2/2010 8:21:17 PM EDT
Originally Posted By GunnyG:
Originally Posted By KA3B:
High-flying CWO3 could be first of many...

Everything old, is new again:
<snip>


The Navy had an LDO pilot program back in the late 70's early 80's where an Enlisted person (and college graduates or people with an AA working for a BA) could become a restricted line officer pilot (6300).
Their only job was to fly aircraft, they could not hold command.
The Navy dropped that program when they realized two things:

Quite a few guys stuck around for two tours and never received their BA degree.
More than a few guys were promoted to 05 and 06, they were dead weight because they took promotion slots from unrestricted line officers and they took (some) "must hold" promotion billets from unrestricted line officers.
One of the reasons why the Navy went with a CWO pilot program.




Link Posted: 5/2/2010 10:45:02 PM EDT




Originally Posted By KA3B:



Originally Posted By GunnyG:



Originally Posted By KA3B:

High-flying CWO3 could be first of many...


Everything old, is new again:

<snip>




The Navy had an LDO pilot program back in the late 70's early 80's where an Enlisted person (and college graduates or people with an AA working for a BA) could become a restricted line officer pilot (6300).

Their only job was to fly aircraft, they could not hold command.

The Navy dropped that program when they realized two things:



Quite a few guys stuck around for two tours and never received their BA degree.

More than a few guys were promoted to 05 and 06, they were dead weight because they took promotion slots from unrestricted line officers and they took (some) "must hold" promotion billets from unrestricted line officers.

One of the reasons why the Navy went with a CWO pilot program.




No complaints here; leave the command and administrative stuff to the O-5s and O-6s!



Aircraft Commander-qualified (a function of proven judgement and experience, not rank dependent) WO's are needed back in the left seat (or the right seat in Helo's).



IIRC, the last Vietnam era USMC WO pilot retired in the early 80's. The aerial observers (like Guy Hunter from VMO-2) left a while ago with their OV-10s, and now the KC-130 WO navigators are grasping for whatever time they can before their jobs disappear too.





Link Posted: 5/2/2010 10:57:48 PM EDT
One thing for sure, with an age cut-off of 27 yrs old, they're getting some highly motivated Sailor's in this program. Outstanding, if I may say so myself.
Link Posted: 5/2/2010 10:59:57 PM EDT
I've said it before, and I'll say it again...

Army WOFT is the best deal going for anybody interested in a career in military aviation.  I  hope this means the Navy is moving in the Army's direction.
Link Posted: 5/2/2010 11:08:31 PM EDT




Originally Posted By FireControlman:

One thing for sure, with an age cut-off of 27 yrs old, they're getting some highly motivated Sailor's in this program. Outstanding, if I may say so myself.


It says it has an age waiver. Typically, that means you could ask and get a year longer for every year of service you already have in (i.e., a 36 year old sailor, who is otherwise qualified, with 9 years of time is service, could get waived in).
Link Posted: 5/2/2010 11:12:13 PM EDT




Originally Posted By rkh:

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...



Army WOFT is the best deal going for anybody interested in a career in military aviation. I hope this means the Navy is moving in the Army's direction.


Agreed. I've seen quite a few guys do inter-service transfers, because their aviation career aspirations couldn't be supported by staying Marine. I'm sure that the other services have noticed this too.

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