Origin & Current Status of the Warrant Officer Museum Fund
Many warrant officers may recall that what was known as the "Warrant Officer Hall of Fame," located at Fort Wolters, Texas (now deactivated). Later, this facility was moved to Fort Rucker, Alabama, and it was located in a WW II style building. The facility primarily displayed material from flight school classes and other artifacts related to Army aviation. Additionally, the building also contained a memorial room dedicated to WOC Mark E. Elenio, an aviation flight student killed December 9, 1986, in a Fort Rucker training accident.
Shortly after the establishment of the Warrant Officer Career Center (WOCC) at Fort Rucker, the candidate company assumed much of the operation and maintenance of the facility.
In the fall of 1996, the WOCC moved the artifacts to 2nd Floor of the Headquarters Company Building (Building 5910). There, display cases are used for smaller artifacts and several rooms have been set up in "tableau" style displays using larger artifacts. However, this space is officially billet space. Therefore, it could be required that the space be returned to billeting use at any time
In recent years and currently, warrant officer candidates provide volunteer time and labor to maintain the area, artifacts and displays. Candidates often guide visitors through the facility.
It is important to note that neither the WOCC nor the "candidate curators" solicit donations. Never the less, when touring the display area, it was common for visitors to seek to make "a donation," often leaving money anonymously or surreptitiously. In such case, funds were provided to the U.S. Army Warrant Officers Association (USAWOA) Career Center Chapter for deposit and accounting in a specific "museum fund." USAWOA chapters and members also donated to the museum fund.
At the request of the WOCC senior staff and the Career Center Chapter leadership in 1998, the USAWOA home office received all "museum fund" money from the chapter. Consensus was that the account would be more appropriately managed at the "national" level. In addition, those museum visitors and others might be more willing to donate to a fund if maintained by other than a local area chapter.
According, USAWOA established a separate bank account and IRS identification number to clearly separate "warrant officer museum money" from USAWOA funds. Members, chapters, and others continue to donate to this fund.
Over the years, there have been several efforts to bring an official, Army "warrant officer museum" into being. None have been successful and there are hurdles yet to overcome. Most significant are:
a. The intense competition for limited "new construction" money.
b. A specific "warrant officer" museum is not a high priority for the Army leadership. This is generally because any Army museum, particularly those located on a "warrant officer proponent" installation, are free to display warrant officer material, either separately, or integrated with display of other material.
c. Department of the Army policy is that no more than one official museum shall exist at any installation. The Army Aviation Museum is located at Fort Rucker, which is the home of the Army Aviation Center and School. Therefore, it is highly likely this museum will remain at Fort Rucker as long as the Aviation Center remains. Exception to this policy is highly unlikely.
On May 29, 2003, USAWOA President CW5 Frank Meeks appointed the initial Directors of the Foundation. They were CW5 (Retired) Dave Welsh, Incorporator and Registered Agent; CW4 (Retired) Ron Whalen, and CW4 (Retired) Carl Burnett, Director. The appointed Directors elected two additional Directors who were CW4 (Retired) Cletus McKeown and CW5 (Retired) Tom Piatti.
The decision was made to convert the Warrant Officer Museum Fund to the “Warrant Officer Heritage Foundation.” Thereby, we hope to provide a much broader appeal to potential donors as well as broader latitude for the utilization of funds derived.
The Commonwealth of Virginia approved the request to incorporate the Warrant Officers Heritage Foundation on July 9, 2003.
On September 12, 2003, the Internal Revenue Service assigned the Foundation an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
The Directors held an organizational meeting on October 23, 2003 during which they elected replacement directors for CW4 (Retired) Cletus McKeown who had passed away and CW4 (Retired) Carl Burnett who was unable to serve due to conflicting business pressures. CW5 (Retired) Richard Markle and CW3 (Retired) Alfred Cox were elected as replacements. The Foundation Bylaws were approved and Foundation officers were elected.
On March 19, 2004 the IRS issued a Ruling granting the Warrant Officers Heritage Foundation Non-Profit Status under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Advance Ruling covers the Foundation and donors from July 8, 2003 (the date of Incorporation in the Commonwealth of Virginia) until December 31, 2007, at which time a final determination will be rendered . As a publicly supported organization, all grants, donations, and bequests to the Foundation are tax deductible.
In June 2004 ownership of the assets of the Warrant Officer Museum Fund in the sum of $996.37 and a Certificate of Deposit (CD) in the sum of $9,747.35 were transferred to the Warrant Officers Heritage Foundation. The CD matures in January 2007. The only expenditures of money from the Museum Fund prior to transfer from USAWOA were the Virginia Corporation Registration and IRS Non-Profit Application fees.
The purpose of the Warrant Officers Heritage Foundation and the goals & objectives, plus current undertakings and fund raising can be found at www.usawoa.org/woheritage/.
Although we are an independent foundation, we are grateful to USAWOA for causing the founding of the Foundation and for their extension of limited office space, bookkeeping, mail handling and phone call answering during our early years.
The Foundation Office of Record is located at:
Warrant Officers Heritage Foundation
462 Herndon Pkwy, Suite 207, c/o USAWOA
Herndon, Virginia 20170-5235
The Foundation also maintains a presence on the World Wide Web at www.usawoa.org/woheritage/ courtesy of USAWOA and the Pentagon Federal Credit Union.
Questions about the Warrant Officers Heritage Foundations may be sent by to us
or by phone to the Foundation President at 757-999-2022.
Support the Warrant Officers
the Warrant Officers Heritage Foundation efforts to construct of a
Exhibit in honor of the 100th Birthday of the establishment of Army
Officer Corps on July 9, 1918
in the Army Mine Planter Service of the Coast Artillery.