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Home > UNS > 140910-01



USASOAC farewells 2nd Command Chief WO in unit’s history

by Sgt. 1st Class Thaddius S. Dawkins II and Staff Sgt. JaJuan S. Broadnax                                                                                        
USASOAC Public Affairs

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, Sept. 10, 2014) – The United States Army Special Operations Aviation Command (USASOAC) said goodbye to its outgoing Command Chief Warrant Officer (CCWO), Chief Warrant Officer 5 Bob D. Witzler, while welcoming incoming CCWO, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Douglas M. Englen, during a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Auditorium on Aug. 15, 2014.

Although warrant officer aviators have been around since Vietnam, the position of the command chief warrant officer is new to the U.S. Army Special Operations community.

“The position of command chief warrant officer is proving to be a powerful addition to the command teams of not only ARSOA formations, but across the greater ARSOF and Army Aviation Communities as well,” said Brig. Gen. Erik C. Peterson, USASOAC commanding general. “In light of the ever-increasing professionalism, contribution, and role of our elite Army Special Operations warrant officer corps, the recent formalization of the position was an inevitable, natural step.”   

Witzler, who is retiring later this year, followed Chief Warrant Officer 5 Dave Cooper as USASOAC’s second CCWO. He attributed much of his success to what Cooper put into motion as the command’s first CCWO.

“In the short couple of months I’ve had the opportunity to serve with him directly in his capacity of command chief warrant officer, he [Witzler] rapidly became one of my most trusted advisors,” said Peterson. “I value his candid insights, integrity and willingness to go the extra mile to embrace all of the tribes and foment collegiality and cooperation, all for the benefit of our Soldiers and mission accomplishment.”

“The hardest part of any task is pushing the stone and causing the first movement,” Witzler said. “When I started pushing the stone, it was already rolling because of Cooper; he definitely had the hardest job. As the second CCWO I simply sought to take the lead that he had already, and continued to develop and span the relationships, not only with our subordinate units, but most importantly with our aviation branch and the Army to ensure that our population is deliberately managed.”

“We have a pretty unique skillset in warrant officers working in special ops aviation,” Witzler went on to explain. “It’s going to be important for the command’s future that the Army deliberately manages those people. Getting that ball rolling is really where I spent a great deal of my time. I believe the stone is still moving. There are certainly things I am leaving for my successor to complete and I suspect he will be in the same position a couple years for now. All I ever wanted to do was to keep the stone moving.”

“I’m really pleased at how far the command has come,” he continued. “When I arrived, we were still under a provisional status, and we were leaving an era where we were creating the command. Today, an outside observer wouldn’t be able to determine that we are as young as we are. I think the command and staff directorates are all doing a very good job having established themselves into the work processes of USASOC and the businesses of providing the very important special ops aviation capability that we are charged to provide.”

Peterson said that as the command loses one proven leader; Englen’s vast experience and knowledge will be a great benefit as USASOAC continues moving forward.

“The symbolic officer’s saber and, with it, the mantle of warrant officer leadership, has now passed to Chief Warrant Officer 5 Doug Englen,” he said. “Like Bob, Doug is a trusted friend and colleague of many years and many faraway places. He brings not only unparalleled combat experience, leadership and accomplishment to the position of command chief warrant officer, but also the trust, confidence and admiration of an exceptionally distinguished cadre of leaders and partners from the greater joint special operations and interagency team.”

Englen, who most recently served as the regiment standardization officer at the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), realizes the importance of his new job and confirmed his commitment to not only Peterson, but all of Army aviation and special operations Soldiers.

“Sir, I vow to be at your side providing technical aviation knowledge to assist with your endeavors and goals,” he said. “I additionally pledge my dedication to the special operations and Army aviation community to provide representation and stewardship as your senior warrant officer manager.”