Florida Army National Guard selects new command chief warrant officer

Written by  //  April 30, 2009  //  Feature Stories

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (April 30, 2010) — The Florida National Guard recently selected Chief Warrant Officer David P. Smith to be the state’s command chief warrant officer. In his new role, Smith will advise the Adjutant General on warrant officer issues and oversee the morale, welfare, training, administration, selection and management of all warrant officers in the Florida Army National Guard.

Chief Warrant Officer David P. Smith. Photo by Staff Sgt. Blair Heusdens

“CW5 Smith is a proven Soldier and leader and well qualified to assume this role,” said Maj. Gen. Douglas Burnett, Adjutant General of Florida. “He will be a great mentor and steward of the warrant officer program.”

Smith has served 29 years in the National Guard, enlisting in 1981 as a cannon crewman. He entered flight training in 1990 and was assigned as a UH-1 helicopter pilot. Smith is a Master Army Aviator, qualified in the UH-1H, UH-60, C-23 and C-12 aircraft. During his time in the Florida National Guard, Smith accumulated more than 5,000 accident-free flying hours in both rotary and fixed-wing aircraft. He deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and his most recent assignment was as commander of Detachment 8, Operational Support Airlift Command, Joint Force Headquarters- Florida.

Warrant officers serve at all levels of the military and perform the duties of technical leader, advisor and commander. Unlike regular commissioned officers who are often generalists, warrant officers pursue a single-track career, specializing in one field.

Florida currently has approximately 190 warrant officers in various branches such as aviation, quartermaster, adjutant general, ordnance, air defense artillery and maintenance. It’s these technical specialists who, Smith says, directly contribute to the success of their units.

“Florida has always done well in inspections, especially in the technical fields,” said Smith. “It’s the warrant officers who make these fields click.”

At his new position, Smith hopes to promote growth within the warrant officer corps. He says ideal warrant officer candidates are experienced non-commissioned officers in the grades of E-5 through E-7 who are looking to get into the warrant officer field. Specific requirements differ for each branch and candidates are required to go through several phases of training in order to obtain the rank of warrant officer. The Florida National Guard is specifically looking for additional warrant officers in the special forces and aviation branches.

“My primary goal is recruiting the right people for warrant officer positions throughout the state and the retention of our current warrant officer ranks,” said Smith.

Smith also plans to establish a formal and informal mentoring program for warrant officers and warrant officer candidates throughout the state to provide guidance and mentorship for those in the warrant officer field.