Chief warrant officers hold the highest non-commissioned rank in the Canadian Forces, ranking immediately above master warrant officers. Reaching this rank requires a great deal of "time-in," and is usually the last step for a career NCO -- at least those with adequate fortune and the lack of self-destructive behavior -- prior to retirement.

The chief warrant officer's insignia depicts the coat of arms of Canada, often referred to as "the dancing horses" by junior ranks. Depending on the dress regulations, the insignia is worn on the upper arm (Army, combat uniforms only), on epaulets (overcoats, work-dress sweaters), at the base of the sleeve (dress tunics, work-dress jackets) or on collar pins (dress and work-dress uniform shirts).

Chief warrant officer (abbreviated "CWO") should only be addressed as "Sir" by junior ranks. Senior ranks usually refer to a CWO by the title of their appointment (see below), rather than their rank. This is also the SOP (standard operating procedure) for all ranks when refering to a chief warrant officer in the third person.

As warrant officers do not hold the Queen's commission in the Canadian Forces, they are not to be saluted. In the Navy, the equivalent rank is Chief Petty Officer, 1st Class (CPO1), and is addressed as "Chief" or "Sir". (n.b. This is not the case in the Army and Air Force.) In French, a chief warrant officer is called "un(e) adjudant(e)-chef" and a CPO1 is called "un premier maître de 1re classe". Prior to 1967, the rank equivalent to a CWO was the Warrant Officer 1st Class (WOI).

All CWOs carry certain titles and appointments, by whose names they are commonly addressed, including Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) and Battery Sergeant Major. Special appointments (with special insignia) are given to CWOs in certain command posts, including: Base Chief Warrant Officer (denoted by crossed swords under the rank insignia), Command Chief Warrant Officer (the highest-ranking NCO in the Army, Navy or Air Force; denoted by laurel wreaths underneath the rank insignia) and the Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer (Canada's most senior NCO, denoted by a circlet of maple leaves surrounding the rank insignia).


Master Warrant OfficerCanadian Forces Ranks and InsigniaOfficer Cadet


Sources:
D-Net - http://www.dnd.ca/site/Community/Insignia/arma_e.htm

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