Just as ratings in the U.S. Navy are established, disestablished, merged, or renamed, the Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) program is subject to modifications from year to year, with the Navy making adjustments to suit its need for officers with highly specialized technical skills. This past June (2016), for instance, Navy Personnel Command announced the disestablishment of the Oceanography Limited Duty Officer (LDO) and reestablished the CWO program in its place, citing the need for officers with highly specialized technical knowledge in the fields of meteorology and oceanography. The Oceanography CWO program was disestablished in 1988.
Something similar happened with the Photography CWO program in late 1990s.
In the spring of 1997, the Bureau of Naval Personnel announced that the CWO designator (a four-digit code that identifies a CWO’s specialty) for Photography, 747x, would be disestablished. Besides ending applications for the CWO Photographer position, the Bureau also redesignated any existing 747x billets as LDO Imaging Management (647x) and strongly encouraged CWOs in the 747x designator to submit applications to become LDOs.
On May 31, 2001, Naval Personnel Command announced that that a LDO billet, designated 630X, and two CWO billets, 747x and 729x, were no longer applicable.
But somewhere along the line the 747x designator must have been reestablished, because at least as far back as 2010 The Manual of Navy Officer Manpower and Personnel Classifications was subsequently changed to read that the 747x CWO designator would be disestablished “effective 1 January 2009” and that all current billets with that designator would be recoded as 6470 LDO—Limited Duty Officer (Photography). But this was short-lived, as the Bureau began a four-year phase-out of the Photographer LDO position beginning in 2011.
Currently, there are nine designators in the CWO Community—and 747x has not been added back to the list. But things can always change, as LDOs serving in the Oceanography Community can readily attest.
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