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News from the Oklahoma National Guard

NEWS | Nov. 22, 2022

Oklahoma National Guard Promotes Newest CW5

By Leanna Maschino, Oklahoma National Guard

Family, friends and fellow service members gathered to celebrate the Oklahoma Army National Guard’s newest Chief Warrant Officer 5, the highest warrant officer rank one can achieve. 

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Dustin McNeely, an aviator with Company C, 2nd Battalion, 245th  Aviation Regiment, 90th Troop Command, was pinned Thursday in Oklahoma City by his wife, Chasity, and their two daughters, Vivian and Elsie. 

“I joined the Guard because I always had an interest in the military, as well as in aviation, and specifically in becoming an aviator,” McNeely said. “I never thought I would attain this goal of reaching CW5, but it is humbling to have achieved it.” 

McNeely is trained to fly the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft, including the C-23 Sherpa and C-12 Huron. Throughout his multiple deployments and training at home and overseas, McNeely has flown both rotor and fixed wing assets a total of 4,600 hours, and nearly 5,000 hours including civilian flight time. 

Warrant officers are known for being technical experts and specialized trainers within their field. The warrant officer pool makes up less than three percent of the army, making those positions highly competitive and rare, even more so when reaching the highest rank within the warrant officer corps. 

For the Oklahoma Army National Guard, there are only 10 chief warrant officer five slots, all of which are spread throughout the state in various military occupational specialties. 

“Chief Warrant Officer 5s are limited in force structure to no more than five percent of the entire warrant officer cohort,” said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Christopher Rau, command chief warrant officer for the OKARNG. “Less than one percent of warrant officers that graduate Warrant Officer Candidate School make CW5, so it is very rare.” 

For McNeely, the path to CW5 wasn’t one taken alone. 

“There are many Soldiers who have helped me along in my career, but I think most importantly I would like to thank my mother and my wife,” McNeely said. “I’d like to thank my mother for giving me the confidence, as well as the vision to look beyond and see what was possible. To my wife, I would like to thank her for her patience, continuous drive and advice, and the constant help over the last 20 years. I would undoubtedly have had a much more difficult time without her help.” 

McNeely and his wife, Chasity, who serves as a major in the OKARNG, have endured seven deployments and state mobilizations, all while trying to balance life as parents. 

"I remember being somewhat overwhelmed coming home from my second deployment to our two young daughters as my wife was leaving for her deployment,” McNeely said. “I realized the strain my wife had been under to provide them with a good life, run the home, and be a full-time Guardsman, and I then had to navigate the same experience myself.” 

The McNeely’s experience is unique in that both serve within the OKARNG as full-time Soldiers versus the traditional Guardsman who serves one weekend per month and two weeks per year. With that responsibility, a lot of time away from family has occurred, but a strong family core and bond has remained. 

“It's not for the faint of heart--you've got to have commitment to your family, commitment to your career, while trying not to lose either one,” Chasity said. “It takes a strong family core, with mutual respect from all. Our military careers could not be possible without each other, our girls’ gracious understanding, and support from the village of family and friends that have helped us along the way.” 

According to McNeely, the responsibility to maintain the level of professionalism and expertise that warrant officers are known for is something he does not take lightly, and is a crucial lesson for future warrant officers.

“For anyone who is considering going warrant officer, be sure to make good decisions, be disciplined, work hard, and attend Warrant Officer Candidate School as soon as possible,” McNeely said. “The Oklahoma Army National Guard and the warrant officer corps has been extremely helpful to me over my career. I have flown helicopters and airplanes around the world in multiple different mission sets, and I get to do what I love every day.  Becoming a warrant officer has made that possible for me.” 
Video by Staff Sgt. Reece Heck
Oklahoma Guard conducts annual Mechanic of the Year competition
Oklahoma National Guard
Feb. 7, 2024 | 1:36
Oklahoma Army National Guardsmen gathered to test their mechanical skills at the third annual Mechanic of the Year competition held at the Combined Support Maintenance Shop in Norman, Oklahoma, Feb. 7, 2024. (Oklahoma National Guard video by Staff Sgt. Reece Heck)

CG Information:
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Rocky Anderson
President of the Mechanic of the Year Board