authored by Nicholas Nemeth and Joshua Rasor    

    All Hands was an official monthly magazine that ran from 1922 to 2011. It was written by Navy for Navy. It had different names but was ultimately named All Hands in 1945. The magazine was terminated in 2011 but brought back as a web-based publication in 2013. There are over 150 issues. We have read all of them and pulled out any reference to Warrant Officers. This article chronologically documents each mention of Warrant Officers (WOs) and Chief Warrant Officers (CWOs). Let’s get started!

April, 1923 Stated the quantity and type of active duty officers in the fleet. On 01JUL22, there were a total of 904 WOs and 493 CWOs. WOs made up 11.5% of all Navy Officers and CWOs made up 6% for a total of 17.5%.On 31MAR23, there were a total of 835 WOs and 519 CWOs. WOs made up 11% of all Navy Officers and CWOs made up 7% for a total of 18%.
July, 1923

Stated the number of applicants and vacancies for Pharmacist and Gunner. 17 vacancies and 25 applications for Pharmacists. 72 vacancies and 4 applications for Gunners (ordnance). 58 vacancies and 10 applications for Gunners (radio). 29 vacancies and 2 applications for Gunners (electrical).

August, 1923

Authorized examinations for warrant grades. 72 vacancies and 19 applications for Gunners (ordnance). 58 vacancies and 32 applications for Gunners (radio). 29 vacancies and 15 applications for Gunners (electrical). 17 vacancies and 25 applications for Pharmacists. 198 vacancies and 38 applications for Machinist. 

April, 1924 Separations from 01JAN24 to 29FEB24. WOs: 3 retired, 1 dismissed, and 1 discharged. CWOs: 3 retired. In addition, 2 CWOs and 1 WO were nominated to the Senate for appointment to Ensign.
October, 1924 Stated total number of officers in the fleet. Total warrants were 1466 making up 18% of all officers.
June, 1925

Mentions change to the Bureau of Navigation Manual to include qualifications of appointments to the new warrant grades of electrician and radio electrician.

November, 1926 Tour of duty for warrants are 5 years at-sea first. Then it's a 2 year shore and 3 year at-sea rotation.
February, 1927

In all of 1926, the Navy provided $1,685 of $35,967 to the widows, children, or other dependents of warrants that died in service. Warrant heirs received 5% of total donations compared to other officers and enlisted.

July, 1928

The Warrant Officer’s Pay Bill has passed in the Senate. Also, allowing electrician WOs and CWOs qualify for commission to Ensign reported to the House.

October, 1928

The Navy Pay Board recommended adding into legislation the following:

  1. It should not be a discretionary power of any executive officer of the Government to lower the pay of any commissioned or warrant officer except pursuant to the sentence of a general court-martial.
  2. The compensation of warrant officers and commissioned warrant officers appointed after years of enlisted service whose further promotion is restricted, should be determined without regard to corresponding ranks of other commissioned officers. The highest compensation paid to a chief warrant officer should, however, be comparable to that received by a lieutenant.
  3. Warrant and Chief Warrant Officers’ pay will no longer be tied to percentage rates of pay for enlisted men. Instead, a WO and CWO specific pay schedule is established.
December, 1928

Bill passed the House and onto the Senate for authorizing electricians and radio electricians to qualify for promotion to ensign similar to the present possible promotion for gunners, boatswains, and machinists. In addition, the bill regarding Warrant Officer Pay has passed the House. Lastly, the Bill allowing warrants to count prior commission grades has passed the House.

February, 1929

Asiatic Station (squadron in East Asia) requires the following replacements to be sent 01JUL29: 5 Boatswains, 3 Machinists, 3 Gunners, 2 Electricians, 2 Radio Electricians, and 3 Carpenters. Also, the President had signed into legislation enabling electricians, radio electricians, chief electricians, and chief radio electricians to be appointed to the grade of Ensign. A Chief Gunner’s Mate (who’d previously served as a Gunner) received the Medal of Honor.

March, 1929

The House heard a Bill regarding the allowing of commissioned warrant officers of the Naval Reserve the same pay when on active duty as commissioned warrant officers of the regular service. The President signed into legislation the Warrant Officer Pay Bill and the Bill allowing warrants to count prior commission grades has passed the House.

June, 1929

Approximately 200 applications were received, 161 approved, for the Warrant examinations to be held 08JUL1929.

February, 1930 The following are the quantity/reasons why WOs/CWOs separated from the 1929 Active List: 27 retired, 7 died, 2 resigned, and 7 are other causes. Also, data released over the last 3 years show the following for WOs/CWOs, 12/8/4 resigned, dismissed, and dropped in 1927, 4/2/1 resigned, dismissed, and dropped in 1928, 2/4 resigned and dismissed in 1929.
March, 1930

The distribution of reserve warrants in the fleet and volunteer reserve are as follows: WOs have 7 in the fleet, 29 volunteer (general service), and 15 volunteer (special service). CWOs have 13 in the fleet, 4 volunteer (general service), and 11 volunteer (special service). The following total WOs are affiliated with Naval Aviation on 01MAR30: 19 Line and 2 Construction Corps (carpenters). One Boatswain was under instruction at Naval Air Station, Lakehurst, New Jersey. The total number of WOs/CWOs on the active list as of 01JAN29 and 01JAN30 were: 322/1127 in 1929 and 304/1153 in 1930.

August, 1930 5 Radio Electricians (WOs) and 1 Chief Radio Electrician (CWO) were selected for an eight month course of instruction in communication engineering at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Bellevue, D.C., beginning about 01OCT30. 2 Machinists were awarded letters of commendation for winning the Engineering Trophy of the Light Cruiser Class and the Greatest Improvement Prize. The Secretary of the Navy addressed a letter of commendation to a Chief Gunner for his participation in the treatment of George M. Peck (spent 13 hours in recompression chamber administering aid after a dive from U.S.S. Partridge). 
September, 1930 A Chief Machinist was issued a letter of commendation for efforts with winning the Engineering Trophy in the Tender Class. A Chief Boatswain and Chief Machinist were issued letters of commendation for efforts winning the Greatest Improvement Prize in engineering in the Minesweeper Class. A Chief Pay Clerk was noted for his participation in an aviator exhibition in Chicago.
October, 1930 Warrant Officer examinations were discussed at a recent conference in the Bureau of Navigation. 2 Chief Gunners, a Gunner, 2 Chief Machinists, and 2 Machinists were selected to take a special course of instruction in the classes which convene at the Navy Yard, Washington, D.C., on or about 05JAN31. In July, 1930, ninety-nine enlisted men were examined for promotion to various warrant grades. Sixty-nine were found qualified. 40 made the highest average mark on the examination and were issued appointments 16OCT30 as: Boatswains, Gunners, Electricians, Radio Electricians, Machinists, Carpenters, Pharmacists and Acting Pay Clerks. 29 other candidates also qualified but no vacancies exist, these people have been placed on the waiting list.
November, 1930

A Chief Radio Electrician (CWO) was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Existing statutes permit the commissioning of not more than twelve Ensigns from Chief Boatswains, Chief Gunners, Chief Electricians, Chief Radio Electricians, Chief Machinists, Boatswains, Gunners, Electricians, Radio Electricians, and Machinists off the Navy. Candidate to be eligible for the examination must be under twenty-five years of age on 01JUL31 and must have served for a period of at least four years as a warrant officer. Existing statutes also permit the appointment of Chief Pay Clerks and Pay Clerks to the grade of Assistant Paymaster, to fill existing vacancies. Candidates to be eligible must not be over thirty-five years of age at the time of appointment. Candidate’s records must be above average. Competitive examinations for the two appointments above will be conducted on or about 01APR31. Secretary of the Navy addresses commendatory letters to a Chief Boatswain and Chief Machinist for the efforts of relief work following a devastating tropical hurricane which swept the Dominican Republic early in September, 1930.

March, 1931

23 Machinists took the examination for promotion. 21 passed, 2 failed, and the 2 that took the re-exam failed. In the Bureau of Navigation Bulletin dated 21FEB31, an article appeared regarding the promotion of warrant officers to chief warrant officers. The case referred to the issuance of permanent appointments rather than the case of promotion to commissioned rank. The Bureau found warrant officers serving under active assignments that had been assigned shore duty on appointment. They had not fulfilled the requirement of one year’s sea service while serving in active appointment, and it was therefore necessary to withhold issuance of permanent appointment. These warrants will be ordered to sea in order to fulfill eligibility requirements. With the construction of the second rigid airship now assured, the Bureau desires to detail additional warrant officers to the lighter-than-air service, 1 boatswain, 1 gunner, and 1 machinist will be required to report at the Naval Air Station, Lakehurst, N.J., about 1 July. Applicants must be physically qualified for duty involving flying.

April, 1931

Bureau of Navigation Circular Letter No. 50-30 identified the requirement of Machinists and Chief Machinists billets needing twice as many on sea duty as on shore. Two-year shore duty followed by a sea tour of four years is necessary after the ignition five-year first cruise. Tours of sea duty of other warrants remain: Boatswains – 3.5 years, Gunners – 3 years, Radio Electrician – 3 years, and Electricians – 3 years.

May, 1931

Twelve CWOs were approved for retirement after thirty years of service.

August, 1931

A survey of warrant officer assignments indicated that the number of available is not adequate to meet full demand. A total of 1455 officers is now allwed, while 1496 are required. Shortage cannot be corrected until fiscal year 1933. Service needs 270 Boatswains, 164 Gunners, 105 Electricians, 110 Radio Electricians, 340 Machinists, 121 Carpenters, 134 Pharmacists, and 252 Pay Clerks. The greatest shortages are Machinists and Boatswains due to these officers now performing duty as Naval Aviators. Bureau has concluded that the employment of warrant officers as naval aviators is no longer necessary. Bureau outlines the policy regarding naval aviator community and warrant officers:

  1. Maintain several grades to meet the needs of naval service.
  2. Keep several grades open to applicant without discrimination.
  3. Assign warrant officers newly appointed from aviation personnel to general service.
  4. Discontinue further designation of warrant officer as Naval Aviators.
  5. Accomplish a gradual return or present Naval Aviators to general service.

The Bureau plans to assign two to four Chief Machinists or Machinists for the long course (6 months) in optical instruction at the Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. The Bureau plans to order two to four Chief Gunners or Gunners to the Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. for a course of instruction in diving.

October, 1931

A Chief Boatswain was presented the Distinguished Service Medal by the President of the United States for his efforts during a fire on the U.S.S. Blackhawk. The Secretary of the Navy addressed a commendatory letter to a Chief Pharmacist for assistance to unfortunate sufferers of the recent earthquake disaster in Managua. A total of 128 candidates participated in the Warrant Officer examinations held 20JUL31 for the grades of Boatswain, Gunner, Radio Electrician, Electrician, Machines, Carpenter, and Pharmacist. Examination for Acting Pay Clerk was held 13OCT30 at which 75 candidates were examined. Regarding WO examinations, a table is provided that breaks down the number examined for all WO grades, number qualified, number appointed, and the names of selectees. 

May, 1932 Bureau directs plan to accomplish a gradual return of warrant officers aviators to the general service, where their services are in demand. 69 total warrants are on duty with aviation activities. In addition, there are 22 warrant naval aviators. These warrants will be assigned to general service and will not remain in a flying status.
August, 1932

A retired Machinist was awarded the Medal of Honor for remaining at his post of duty amidst scalding steam and thousands of tons of water coming into his department, as long as the engines would turn and he was ordered to leave and also for dragging others out of the fire room where there was air instead of steam to breathe. 

November, 1932

Results of examinations or warrant grades released, 21 candidates appointed at this time and the remaining are placed on the waiting list. Full list of selectees published.

February, 1933

Examinations for Warrant Grades will be held during the month of July, 1933 for the following grades: Boatswain, Gunner, Electrician, Machinist, and Carpenter. Due to the number of candidates on the waiting list for warrant grades of Radio Electrician, Pharmacists, and Acting Pay Clerk and because of the limited vacancies, an examination for promotion to those three grades will not be held until the summer of 1934. A Chief Pharmacist was awarded the Nicaraguan Medal of Merit for exceptional service.

July, 1933

25JUL33 has been set as the date for the beginning of examinations for promotion to warrant rank. A Chief Gunner received a letter of commendation from the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation for the prompt and efficient manner of handling a diving casualty on board U.S.S. Falcon, preventing a diver from drowning.

November, 1933

Examination for promotion to warrant grades of Boatswain, Gunner, Electrician, Machinist, and Carpenter, was held 25JUL33. Promotion to grades of Radio Electrician, Pharmacist, and Acting Play Clerk will be held in July, 1934. Full list published regarding candidates who qualified on the examination and were promoted to the warrant grades indicated. Other candidates were placed on the waiting list.

June, 1934

07AUG34 is the date set for the beginning of examinations for promotion to warrant rank. 

November, 1935

Personnel identified for appointed to various warrant grades in order to fill vacancies.

September, 1936

Personnel commended by the Executive Department during the World War authorized advancement in rank on retirement (3 CWOs on the list).

May, 1937

The following policy governing the examinations of candidates for appointment as warrant officers is established:

  1. An examination will be conducted in September annually, for all grades of warrant officers.
  2. The Bureau will estimate the number of appointments that will be made to each grade during the period between examinations. A waiting list for each grade will be established on the basis of the estimated number of appointments plus 25% for the examination to be held in September of this year.  The percentage to be applied in subsequent years will be modified as experience dictates.
  3.  Candidates found qualified on a subsequent examination will be places on the waiting list following those qualified on a prior examination. 
February, 1939

The Procedure with respect to examination of Warrant Officers as outlined in Bureau of Navigation Bulletin 248 has been modified as follows:

  1. Competitive examinations will be conducted annually in September for all warrant grades as at present.
  2. From among those qualifying on examination a number of candidates for each warrant grade will be placed on Appointment Lists in order to merit equal to the number of appointments estimated to be necessary to supply the needs of the Service until approval of the next succeeding examination. As vacancies occur, candidates placed on these Appointment Lists will be appointed, in order, without further professional examination provided they remain qualified in all other respects; such candidates will have priority consideration for appointment over any candidate who may later be places on these lists.
  3. The remaining qualified candidates will be placed on Waiting Lists, also in order of merit, and will be eligible for transfer to the Appointment Lists until the date of commencement of next succeeding examination if the number of those theretofore placed on the latter lists is insufficient to supply the needs of the Service. These Waiting Lists will be cancelled at the date of the next succeeding examination. Candidates who have not been advised of transfer to the Appointment Lists will be require to again qualify by examination to be eligible for subsequent lists. 
July, 1939

6 candidates for Boatswain and Gunner transferred from the Waiting to the Appointment List. All other candidates whose name appear on a waiting list and who have not been previously notified of transfer from the waiting to the appointment list must again qualify by examination in September in order to be eligible for subsequent lists. 

Go to Part 2, the 1940s ->