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The Washington National Guard has announced three newly minted Chief Warrant Officer Fives, with more than 110 years of combined service, in a historic promotion.

“The entire warrant officer corps of the Army is just two percent of the force. Of that, only one-tenth of one percent make it to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer Five,” said Chief Warrant Officer Five Tim Gorden, Command Chief Warrant Officer for the Washington National Guard. “Seeing one promotion to five is rare. Seeing three get promoted at the same time is historic.”

On July 15, 2021, the Washington National Guard witnessed what many consider one of the most unique events in the organization’s history, as Chief Warrant Officer Fours David Dean, Jim Johnson and Valerie Mariano pinned Chief Warrant Officer Five in a ceremony at the Pierce County Readiness Center on Camp Murray, located in Tacoma, WA near JBLM.

“During my career working with each of you, I know that I am getting a top level professional, who put soldiers first, thinks about the mission and provides me with the absolute best guidance,” said Brig. Gen. Dan Dent, commanding general of the Washington Army National Guard. “Your outstanding work has been invaluable to our soldiers and our Guard.”

Each chief paved their own path to the Guard differently, but found themselves serving together at different times in their careers, including a deployment together in Iraq in 2004.

Dean enlisted into the active Army in 1986 as a personnel management specialist and later enlisted into the Washington Army National Guard in 1990. He was appointed as a Warrant Officer in December 2002 and assigned to the 81st Brigade Combat Team as a military personnel technician prior to mobilizing in 2004. 

Johnson also enlisted in the Army in 1986, joining the Washington Army National Guard as a radar operator organizational repairman. After attending Warrant Officer Candidate School, he pinned Warrant Officer One in October 1992 as a radar technician. After 10 years of performing a number of different roles within the field artillery, he was hired as a military technician with the Guard’s maintenance community, switched branches to ordnance, and reclassified as a ground maintenance ordnance officer. When the 81st Brigade Combat Team deployed to Iraq in 2004, Johnson leaned on his experience as a radar technician supporting operations in Balad, Iraq. 

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Chief Warrant Officer Five Jim Johnson takes a photo with Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Oscar Hilman during a Joint Chief Warrant Officer Five promotion ceremony on July 15, 2021 at the Pierce County Readiness Center, Camp Murray, Wash. Johnson and Brig. Gen. (Ret) Oscar Hilman served together in Balad, Iraq in 2004 with the 81st Brigade Combat Team deployment. (U.S. National Guard photo by Joseph Siemandel)

Mariano joined the Hawaii National Guard in 1979 when she graduated from high school. After completing her first contract with the Hawaii Guard she moved to the active Army, serving four years in Korea before coming to Fort Lewis. She joined the Washington Army National Guard in January 1990 as a traditional Guardsman before transitioning to full-time in 1993. Over the next nine years, Mariano would rise to the rank of Master Sgt. before completing Warrant Officer Candidate School in December 2002. In 2004 she deployed to Balad, Iraq with the 81st Brigade Combat Team as a property book team chief.

“It is so rare that you have three warrants, all serve together in the same organization, deploy together, grow up together and reach the top of their profession together,” said Gorden. “We are truly a lucky organization to have the level of expertise we do in the organization.”

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Brig. Gen. Dan Dent, commanding general, Washington Army National Guard address the audience and the three chiefs during a Joint Chief Warrant Officer Five promotion ceremony on July 15, 2021 at the Pierce County Readiness Center, Camp Murray, Wash. (U.S. National Guard photo by Joseph Siemandel)

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