U.S. NAVY CWO AVIATION MAINTENANCE TECHNICIAN (AD) SOFT EPAULETS

Aviation Machinist’s Mates (AD) who have reached the E7 paygrade and been pinned as CPOs have a career decision to make: Should they continue onward in their rating to become a Senior CPO or even a Master Chief Aviation Maintenanceman (AFCM) at the E9 paygrade? Or, if their Commanding Officer recommends them, should they avail themselves of the chance to become a CWO Aviation Technician?

Naturally, there are several factors that come into play when making such a decision. A Chief Warrant Officer has more authority, for example, but also is responsible for the operations across a much wider range of technical specialties. On a basis of monetary remuneration alone, however, the choice should be fairly clear.

Using the Navy’s figure for standard lengths of time to reach certain paygrades, an AD Sailor will reach CPO after about thirteen-and-a-half years, which for ease of calculation we’ll round up to fourteen years. After a year at this paygrade, or fifteen years of service, the AD Sailor who has proven himself exceptional can be recommended for promotion to CWO2.

In 2016, the base pay for a CWO2 with fifteen years of service is $4,860.90, for an annual base salary of $58,330. The AD Sailor who decides to shoot for the Senior Chief promotion, on the other hand, will be making $50,144 at that same point.

But this comparison might not really be fair. Any Sailor in the AD rating who is being considered for selection as a Chief Warrant Officer is going to be quite above average—but for our calculations we’re using average lengths of time for promotion. So it’s quite possible the same Sailor who is chosen for promotion to CWO—which requires a minimum of twelve years of service anyway—might have reached CPO status early than the fourteen-year average, and in fact might already be a Senior Chief (E8) by then.

The moral of this math excursion? Sailors are individuals, and the circumstances and factors surrounding their decisions can’t be boiled down to a formula. And regardless of whether they choose the path that leads to a CWO Aviation Technician grade insignia or wind up with two stars above their chevrons as a Master Chief, they will have earned the respect of all who have served around them.

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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