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Feature Stories

NEWS | Aug. 10, 2020

Mentor and Friend helps guide an Army Warrant Officers Career Path

By Story by Maj. Jean Kratzer Task Force Spartan

6 thousand miles and two continents away in Kuwait, a field artillery warrant speaks about his mentor as he reminisces about his 22-year career and the 65th anniversary of the creation of the Field Artillery warrant and why he became a warrant officer.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Benjamin Lewis, the 42nd Infantry Division targeting officer and currently deployed under Task Force Spartan in Kuwait plans, organizes and coordinates joint fires at all echelons.

Through his career, he has gained numerous specialized skill sets, all while raising five children with his wife.

Lewis says he loves being a warrant officer outside of being a dad, chief is my other favorite title, he added.

He enlisted in the Army in 1998 and quickly learned about the role warrant officers have in the Army and knew it would be the perfect career path.

I was a senior noncommissioned officer, and I met my mentor Chief Warrant Officer 4 Thomas Fancher; I knew then I wanted to be a warrant, he added.

“When I met Tom at Fort Drum, he invited me to attend a targeting working group, his presence, and his persona motivated me to go that path he was the subject matter expert in the room, and I wanted to be that guy,” Lewis said.

In October 2013, he made the change to become a warrant with multiple deployments and duty assignments helping shape him to be successful in his current role as the division targeting officer in Kuwait. Given a dynamic, ever changing environment, it is Lewis’ past experiences that fuel his current success.

Warrant officers are the technical foundation of the Army; they specialize in a particular field. They use their expertise to advise senior leaders and commanders and to train Soldiers in their fields.

Fancher stated he knew that Lewis would make the perfect warrant officer, he was smart, motived, and was well respected by everyone, and he communicated extremely well with all Soldiers.

I knew he would be a great warrant officer no matter what branch he went, he added.

His choice to become a Field Artillery officer was an easy decision for him, as he sternly stated, “King of the Battle, the best job in the Army.”

Field Artillery Soldiers are famously known as the “the King of Battle” because field artillery was the single highest casualty producing weapon system on any battlefield.

“Becoming a warrant officer allows me to help guide our staff, creating synergy, shared-understanding, to ultimately achieve our commander’s desired effects and end-states. I will continue to crush every task given, to excel, and to be the highly sought after SME in the room like I learned from Tom,” Lewis said.

While Lewis has spent the year deployed, Fancher continues to support the National Guard full time as the operations integration and readiness officer.

In that position, he primarily plans, coordinates, and provides technical guidance to units and all the commands under the New York Army National Guard.

Fancher, a 28 year veteran in the Army, also switched over to be a warrant officer as a senior noncommissioned officer.

“People would say it was for the money and the fame, but really I just twice missed promotion to E8 by a few points on the promotion list, Fancher said.

He also shared his mentors throughout the years.

“At the time, I admired the Division warrant officers. They were very well respected and had major impacts on the Division successes. So I felt I could follow their example and make a big difference in the success of the Division, becoming a warrant officer is one of the best decisions I ever made,” he added.

While both enjoy their time as field artillery warrants, they have been fortunate to gain a friendship too.

Lewis additionally stated he lives his military career by the famous words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”

“Throughout my career as a Field Artillery Warrant, this has been true in every position in which I served, and I can thank Tom for that constant support in my career,” he added.