The CWO position of Engineering Technician was created as part of the Navy’s realignment of the Limited Duty Officer (LDO) and Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) categories to better reflect their duties and the warfare community in which they serve. As of June, 2015, Engineering Technician was one of just nine CWO designators currently available for enlisted personnel, as opposed to twenty-eight at the start of 2015.

The Navy’s Chief Warrant Officer program has undergone several major changes since its overhaul in the years following World War II. A glance at the 1951 edition of the Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps reveals that Warrant Officer and Chief Warrant Officer grades had been created directly related to enlisted ratings; under “Ranks and Their Abbreviations,” for instance, you see “Machinist” and “Chief Machinist,” clearly drawn from the Machinist’s Mate rating. Other Warrant Officer grades reflect similar origins—Gunner for Gunner’s Mate, Aerographer for Aerographer’s Mate, Carpenter for Carpenter’s Mate, and so forth.

Beginning in 1952, the Register employed a Table of Officer Designators, four-digit numbers that described an officer’s category and status. Instead of simply “Boatswain” and “Chief Boatswain,” for example, there were now four Boatswain Warrant Officers—Boatswain, Aviation Boatswain, Ship Controlman, and Flight Controller—each with an officer designator number.

In 1953, the Register broke the Officer Designators out by types—Line, Unrestricted Line, Staff, Limited Duty, and—and for the first time the Warrant Officer designators are classified as “Commissioned Warrant and Warrant.” But the expanded Warrant Officer designations were still in use (as per the four Boatswain Warrant Officers example above) through 1954. The result? There were nearly forty Chief Warrant Officer designators—five within the Ship’s Clerk category alone. Today’s Engineering Technician CWO wears the three-bladed propeller insignia once worn by Machinist CWOs, who had an officer designator starting with 743.

The 1955 edition saw the elimination of many CWO designators, cutting the number down from 37 to 24, as well as the change from “Commissioned Warrant and Warrant” to simply “Warrant.” (This was the year that “Commissioned Warrant Officer” was changed to “Chief Warrant Officer.”) This same type of streamlining was implemented in the mid-1970s, when the entire Designator scheme was altered to categorize CWOs by warfare communities.

The CWO designator for Engineering Technician (Surface), for instance, is 713x, with the x being a variable based on the officer’s rank, as well as the length and type of service. The “7” is the number for CWO (a “6” as the first number means LDO); the “1” indicates Surface (other categories are Submarine, Aviation, Staff, and General); the 3 indicates a specialty, which when following a “1” means Engineering/Repair.

Important: Due to the extremely low demand on this item, it is manufactured on order. While we might have some in stock, please allow for up to 10 business days processing time.


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