Chief Warrant Officers 5 wear shoulder marks, also called epaulets or epaulettes, on uniform components manufactured with a shoulder loop which can be unfastened so the mark can slide over it and the loop re-secured with a button or Velcro pad. Garments with shoulder loops include Service uniform shirts, the unisex Cardigan sweater, the Black or Green pullover sweater, and the Maternity shirt.

Choose from Large and Small CW5 shoulder marks based upon how the manufacturer of your shirt or sweater has crafted the shoulder loops. Army regulations describe properly fitting shoulder marks as leaving the shoulder loops’ buttons or hook-and-loop attachment totally exposed. Large-sized CW5 shoulder marks are 4.25 inches long, the Small size is 3.25 inches.

Whatever else you say about the Army’s Warrant Officer program prior to 1970, one thing is certain: For a time, its officers had some of the most unattractive rank insignia ever created. In 1956, seven years after Congress approved the creation of four Warrant Officers grades, the Army unveiled a rank insignia scheme that evokes adjectives such as “baffling” and “bewildering.” It seems to have been inspired upon the Commissioned Officer rank insignia system where the lowest officers in the two Non-General Officer categories, Company- and Field-Grade, would each have insignia of gold (2LT and Major) while the higher-ranking officers in each group would have insignia of silver. At the very least, it wasn’t very intuitive for a Chief Warrant Officer 4 to have five bands of alternating brown and silver.

More CWO 5 Rank Insignia Pre-2004 Warrant Officer Branch ItemsBut this is an example of where the Army got it right, even though it took nearly 15 years. In 1970, a new system of Warrant Officer ranks insignia was approved, with all ranks having insignia in the same two colors (silver and black), and a design that almost instantaneously informs the viewer of the rank. A WO1’s rank insignia had one single black square, a CW2’s two, and so forth.

At the same time this pleasant change was made, the Army was considering introducing two grades of Warrant Officers, CW5 and CW6, and went ahead and designed rank insignia for them. The CW5 insignia developed then is the same as the one used today, but unfortunately for Chief Warrant Officers 4 the new grade was no implemented at that time. That would come in 1991, when the pay grade of W5 and a rank called Master Warrant Officer CW5 was established; it was later renamed Chief Warrant Officer 5.

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