Warrant Officers and Chief Warrant Officers (CWOs) have been a part of the United States Navy since its founding. When the Continental Congress authorized the construction of 13 frigates in December 1775, it specifically listed eight positions—Boatswains, Carpenters, Chaplains, Gunners, Masters-Mates, Pursers, Surgeons, and Secretary of the Fleet—that were to be filled by warrants.

But the grade of CWO-5 was not established in the Navy until October 2002. In August 2003, the Navy selected 17 Chief Warrant Officers 4 for promotion to the CWO-5 pay grade, making them the first Navy personnel to ever wear the distinctive gold-and-blue lacing used for sleeve rank insignia. The design of the insignia is a nod to the insignia the Army created for its CWO-5 personnel, which features a thin black line in the middle of a large silver bar; the Navy replaced black with blue and silver with gold for the sleeve stripe, and added a single, 1/2-inch break (also called a hashmark) in the middle of the sleeve.

By law, the number of CWO-5 in the Navy is limited to just five percent of the total number of active-duty CWO personnel. With the elimination of the Warrant Officer 1 (W-1) grade in 1975, that includes all Chiefs serving in CWO-2 through CWO-5. In 2003, the year the first CWO-5s were promoted, this statute would have limited the total number of Chiefs at the CWO-5 grade to just 87.

About us

As a certified manufacturer of uniforms and insignia, The Salute Uniforms considers it a privilege to provide the members of our nation’s military services with superior-quality apparel and accoutrements. We guarantee that every product we offer is made in the USA and meets or surpasses Mil-Spec standards. Browse our online catalog and discover how our tradition of excellence and commitment to innovation makes us your best source for military uniforms, insignias, medals, and accessories.


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Salute Industries Inc, proud maker of The Salute Uniforms.
105 Apache Drive, Archdale, NC, 27263.