Royal Caledon Navy Warrant Officer Roles and Titles
Warrant Officers in the Royal Caledonian Navy are so named because their rank is issued in a "warrant" by the Navy, as opposed to the Crown. They are officers in terms of responsibility, but will as a rule never command a vessel. They are experts in technical fields, responsible for carrying on both the technical excellence and the traditions of the Navy.
The vast majority of warrant officers serve 20-30 years and retire - but the depth of their technical skill makes them highly in demand by the fleets of the various merchant firms (as well as less-reputable employers).
Becoming a Warrant Officer
There are two routes into a Warrant Officer rank
- Selection from among Ensign graduates of the Royal Caledonian Naval Academy
- Enlisted personnel who work their way up through the enlisted ranks (providing a second set of ranks through which a talented enlisted sailor's career can progress; upon being promoted past "Leading [Rating]" (E7), an enlisted sailor joins the ranks at "WO1" in the list below.
Warrant Officer Rank Titles
Ships have the following Warrant Officers serving as department heads on vessels in Caledonian naval service:
- Pilot: The "Ship's Pilot" is a warrant officer who manages the pilots in maneuvering, jumping and navigating the ship. Most pilots start as ensigns with high mathematical, navigation and computer skills; about 10% come up from the ranks. Also called the "Bridge boss"; while the Captain and his officers plan and order the ship's movements, the Pilot and his bridge crew actually get the ship there, ready to do what needs to be done.
- Engineer: The "Ship's Engineer" is a warrant officer who manages the ship's Jump, Maneuver and Power Plant technicians; 2/3 start as Ensigns, and the remainder come up through the ranks. Also called "Cheng", or "King of the Black Gang", the ship's Engineer "rules" the plant and drive spaces.
- Gunner: The "Ship's Gunner" is the warrant officer in charge of making sure all the ship's guns are on-line and ready to go when needed. Virtually all (90%) Ship's Gunners come up through the ranks. Also called "Guns", the Gunner is the "owner" of the ship's weapons systems.
- Boatswain: The ship's "Boatstain" is responsible for handling cargo loading and stowage, maintaining boats (other than fighters on a carrier) and rescue equipment, maintaining and handling the ships docking equipment, and maintaining and managing the ship's airtight integrity. The Boatswain (or "Bosun") also helps the Shipwright with damage control, and with running (frequent) damage control drills. All Boatswains come up through the ranks. Always called "Bosun", this warrant officer is in charge of just about everything that another warrant officer doesn't control.
- Purser: The "Ship's Purser" is in charge of managing ship's supplies, administration, and the service staff (cooks, stewards and supply staff). Most - 80% - start as ensigns.
- Surgeon's Mate - the ship's surgeon's assistant, and usually a highly-qualified medic. Over 90% come up through the ranks. Usually nicknamed "Bones" on shipboard, this warrant officer is in charge of the medical spaces, keeping them ready for the ship's doctor to work.
- Electrician - The "Ship's Electrician" is rarely if ever an actual electrician; the Electrician manages the maintenance of the ship's electronic equipment that isn't part of the drive or weapons systems. Half come up through the ranks, with the remainder starting as ensigns. Usually called "Sparks" aboard ship.
- Shipwright: A vessel's "Shipwright" is a warrant officer in charge of maintaining the ship's hull and major structural elements. Shipwrights frequently alternate tours on shipboard with time working in repair yards, on repair ships, and at contractor shipyards. On shipboard, their most critical duty is damage control, and they are responsible for training the ship's crew in the art and craft of repairing damage under combat conditions. Often called the "Carpenter" in the Gun Room.
- Deck Boss - In charge of flight deck and small craft maintenance crews on ships with large wings of shuttles or fighters. Manages the flow of light craft, and the operation of launch and recovery equipment. Almost all come from the enlisted ranks.
- Flight Boss - the warrant officer in charge of "air traffic control" on carriers and ships with large groups of small craft.
Warrant Officer Roles
Not every ship includes every kind of warrant officer.
No department will have more than one Warrant Officer (Grade WO2-WO4) although on ships larger than 10,000 tons there may be more than one Junior Warrant Officer (WO1) assisting the Warrant Officer. The Warrant Officers assigned to a vessel will be commensurate with:
- Vessel size - larger vessels have more warrant officers
- Vessel type - for example, a small auxiliary may have several gunners, but no warrant "Gunner"
But most Caledonian navy ships will have a warrant Pilot, Engineer, Gunner, Boatswain, Purser and Surgeon's Mate.
When a Caledonian naval vessel goes into the reserve, the enlisted men and commissioned officers will be reassigned to other ships - but the Warrant Officers will stay with their ships, overseeing refits and repairs and storage, and making sure their departments are ready for re-activation. They only leave the ship when they are promoted to a larger ship (or retire).
The Warrant rank structure is as follows:
- WO1 (Junior Warrant Officer) - can be several in a given department. See the table, below.
- WO2 - Department heads in smaller ships (<1000 tons)
- WO3 - Department heads in larger ships (1000-10,000 tons)
- WO4 - Department heads in ships above 10,000 tons
Warrant Officers (and a ship's Marine NCOs) have access to the "Gun Room". "Gun Room" is a traditional name, and has nothing to do with guns. Rather, it's analogous to the Wardroom - a dining and social space for Warrant Officers. Neither officers nor the Captain are allowed into the Gun Room without an invitation (barring a life-or-death emergency) outside of fleet and ship special events.
Warrant Officer Complements
The following chart shows the level of warrant officer that will command a department on a specific-sized Caledonian naval vessel.
|Warrant Title||Battleship||Carrier||Frigate (Heavy)||Frigate (Lt)||Destroyer||Sloop||AXH (Hvy Auxiliary)||ALX (Lt Auxiliary||AU-M (Far trader)||AU-L (Free Trader)|
|Pilot ||WO4 + 6 WO1||WO4+6 WO1||WO4+4 WO1||WO3+3 WO1||WO3+2 WO1||WO2+2 WO1||WO3+3 WO1||WO2+2 WO1||WO2||WO1|
|Engineer||WO4 + 3 WO2 (J, M and P) + 6 WO1||WO4 + 3 WO2 (J, M and P) + 6 WO1||WO4 + 3 WO2 (J, M and P) + 3 WO1||WO3 + 3 WO2 (J, M and P) + 3 WO1||WO3 + 3 WO1 (J, M and P)||WO2 + 3 WO1 (J, M and P)||WO3 + 3 WO1 (J, M and P)||WO2 + 3 WO1 (J, M and P)||WO2||WO1|
|Gunner||WO4 + variable WO1 ||WO3+variable WO1 ||WO4+variable WO1 ||WO3+variable WO1 ||WO3+variable WO1 ||WO2+2 WO1||WO2+WO1||WO1||-||-|
|Boatswain ("Bosun")||WO4 + 2 WO1||WO4+2 WO1||WO4+2 WO1||WO3+2 WO1||WO2+2 WO1||WO2+WO1||WO3+3 WO1||WO2+2 WO1||WO2||WO1|
|Electrician||WO4 + 2 WO1||WO4+2 WO1||WO4+2 WO1||WO3+2 WO1||WO2+WO1||WO2+WO1||WO3+WO1||WO21||-||-|
|Shipwright||WO4 + 2 WO1||WO4+2 WO1||WO4+2 WO1||WO3+WO1||WO2+WO1||WO2+WO1||WO3+WO1||WO2+WO1||-||-|
|Deck Boss||WO1||WO4+5 WO1||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Flight Boss||WO2||WO4+3 WO1||WO1||WO1||-||-||-||-||-||-|
Footnotes  Most combat ships have one chief Gunner, and a "Gunner's Mate" (WO1) in charge of each type of other weapons (Meson, Lasers, Missiles, etc).  All Caledonian ships have a Pilot. On capital ships, the Chief Pilot (WO3 or WO4) and two junior Pilots on each watch (four hours). Frigates, Destroyers, Sloops and other smaller warships have a senior Chief Pilot and one junior Pilot of the watch. The smallest ships, like most merchants, have just one Pilot.
In Game Terms
Both enlisted and officer characters can become Warrant Officers.
- Enlisted Men - On reaching the rank of E7, characters have the option to assume the actual rank of WO2" (generally at age 38).
- Ensigns who drop off the command track assume the rank of WO1 (generally at age 22)
Via either track, warrant officer titles will be as follows:
- Characters with high Pilot and Astrogation skills will be Pilots.
- Characters with high Jump, Power Plant or Maneuver engineering will be Engineers.
- Characters with high JOT, Mechanic, Ship's Boat and Vacc Suit will be ships Boatswains.
- Characters with high Gunnery scores will be ship's Gunners.
- High medical skill qualifies a warrant officer to be a Surgeon's Mate.
- High Admin, Bureaucrat or Steward skills make the character a Purser
- High Electronics and/or Computer skills make the character a ship's Electrician
- High Engineering (structural/ship) and JOT skills make a Shipwright.
Each of these warrant officers serve as the senior technician on the ship in their respective skill areas for purposes of combat. It's in their and their vessels' best interest for their key skill levels to be as high as possible; Warrant Officers are specialists.