Senior warrant officers 'Pay it Forward'

Story and photo by Sgt. Ryan Twist
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq Task Force Double Eagle’s warrant officers “Pay it Forward,” to the unit’s junior warrant officers – adhering to the 2000 movie’s concept of doing good deeds for others so they will do the same.

The Task Force Double Eagle Warrant Officer Professional Development meetings are scheduled for Sept. 24, Oct. 22 and Nov. 19 at the new Dining Facility 2 conference room from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. here at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

“(The) Warrant Officer Mentorship Association is the proactive development of each subordinate through observing, assessing, coaching, teaching, development counseling and evaluating the results in people being treated with fairness and equal opportunity,” said Chief  Warrant Officer 5 Arthur M. Lawler, the unit’s standardization instruction pilot with the 244th Aviation Brigade (Forward), out of Fort Dix, N.J.

Lawler, a San Diego native, said the association provides tools for senior warrant officers as they mentor junior warrant officers.

“It is a group dedicated to giving both senior and junior warrant officers an opportunity to network together,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joseph R. Aldous, Army communications and information manager with the 72nd Signal Battalion (Expeditionary), out of Mannheim, Germany.

Aldous, a Richmond, Va., native, said the program helps ensure the Army Warrant Officer Corps stays on track providing expert technical and tactical advice to leaders and their subordinates.

“This will help others by putting them in contact with other warrant officers to share knowledge, give advice and assist if needed,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Archie A. Clarke, the human resource technician with the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), out of Fort Hood, Texas.

Clarke, a Cookeville, Tenn., native, said the program has helped him meet fellow warrant officers who he can go to for assistance. He said he wants to learn as much as he can, to grow and become a better warrant officer.

Lawler said his commander offered him the opportunity to provide the mentorship program and he started it because many warrant officers are often alone in their unit. He said the association provides these officers with a common link and assistance in unfamiliar areas.

“Aviation warrants can come from high school to flight school and have little or no knowledge of the Army and the way business needs to be conducted,” said Lawler. “Here is where the mentorship program comes in and provides the necessary coaching, teaching and developmental counseling for junior warrant officers’ success.”

Lawler said he wants the program to create a generation of warrant officers who understand how to pay it forward. He said when he joined the military 38 years ago, people older and wiser than him shared advice, just as he does now. The most important advice he received was to give back to those who follow him, to pay a good deed forward to the younger generation, he said.

“My hope, however, is that one of the younger warrants pays it forward in a bigger way by donating their time to a greater cause,” said Lawler. “If this happens, then I have been successful in my military career.”

Lawler said he also wants these junior warrants to mentor each other, providing knowledge, support, encouragement and guidance for individuals making the transition as warrant officers.

“It is my greatest wish that the program helps junior warrants to learn to ask other technicians and leaders for assistance and opens the lines of communication,” said Aldous. “You never know who is going to be the one who has dealt with the situation you need help with.”

Clarke said he also sees the benefits of the program and hopes it continues on JBB.

Lawler said the first meeting he hosted was here in August, but the mentorship program has been around for decades.

“We, as warrants, are all here together, crossing the bridges that our mentors have built for us,” said Lawler. “It is now our time to venture out into the world and build our own bridges for the next generation.”