The US Army is revoking the promotion orders for dozens of Aviation Warrant Officers. Pilots who were in training prior to the Army’s new policy, which went into effect on Oct. 1, 2021, were supposed to be grandfathered into the old promotion system which automatically promoted a Warrant Officer 1 to Chief Warrant Officer 2 after two years of time in grade, similar to 2nd Lieutenants (or every other Warrant Officer military occupational specialty). The new Army directive, AD 2021-31, reset the time required for Aviation Warrant Officers (MOS 152 through 155) for promotion to CW2.
Dozens of pilots, who had been promoted to WO1 and were in flight training prior to the policy going into effect, were told they would be grandfathered into the old promotion system. This means the policy wouldn’t effect them, and they would be promoted at the two year mark of their time in grade. One of these pilots, whose date of rank was Mar. 17, 2021, just found out that he, along with all of his classmates, had their promotion orders revoked and would be subject to the newer policy of which they were assured would not affect them.
What’s worse, many of these pilots already pinned on the rank. They’ve been wearing the rank of CW2 for weeks or months now, and they’ll have to take it off. When one of the pilots inquired about the revocation of orders, the Army told him the promotion was “a glitch” and should have never gone through. This “glitch” will end up costing these pilots tens of thousands of dollars over the course of their career in lost earnings by decreasing their housing allowance, paycheck, and prolonging the potential for promotion to every subsequent Warrant Officer rank in the future.
The new policy only affected Regular Army Aviation Warrant Officers. According to an Army article, “Army Directive 2021-31 only affects regular Army aviation branch warrant officers, and does not apply to warrant officers in any other MOS or component. The new directive does not affect warrant officers who graduated from the Warrant Officer Basic Course prior to Oct. 1, 2021.”
This is an egregious breach of trust on the Army’s part. Instead of acknowledging the commitment they made to honor the original contract these pilots signed, the Army is continuing to push forward and apply a new set of rules; rules they promised in writing would not affect this particular group of officers. These blatant violations of trust and integrity between Army leaders, who have an obligation to honor the Army Values they purport to embody, and their subordinates, will continue to degrade recruiting and retention while fueling attrition among an Aviation Branch already struggling to fill its ranks.