Guest Author - Susan D. Bates
WO1 Tasha R. Tataru is a United States Army warrant officer serving in Afghanistan as a Human Intelligence Platoon Leader and Operational Management Team Chief. I interviewed Mrs. Tataru to gain a better understanding of her job for those who may aspire to a similar career.
Army warrant officers in the United States are subject-matter/technical experts who lead soldiers. They are former enlisted soldiers who have mastered their field and then completed Warrant Officer Candidate School. There are five possible ranks for an Army warrant officer ranging from warrant officer one (WO1) to chief warrant officer five (CW5). Warrant officers, unlike other soldiers, are typically referred to using civilian prefixes (such as Mr. or Mrs.). They operate similarly to traditional commissioned officers; however, they remain in their field of specialization.
After working as a third-grade teacher in California for six years, Mrs. Tataru enlisted in the Army. One of her students asked her why people go to war, she passionately discussed our democracy and the freedoms we have in United States. Another student then asked, "Can we go and help?" That conversation with her class and watching the news updates about the situation in Iraq led to her decision to enlist in the military to, as she described, "do something more than just sit on the other side of the television commenting on the situation."
Mrs. Tataru has been in the military for five years. As an enlisted soldier, she served as a squad leader in Iraq for a human intelligence platoon from Fort Drum, New York and as an instructor at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. In her current role, she ensures the intelligence collection teams stay focused and obtain the needed information concerning the enemy. She and her team, advise soldiers on the best and most effective methods for gathering the information for their maneuver units. Mrs. Tataru also said that it is important to ensure that her soldiers are being treated fairly and are recognized for their work. She summarized her role: "Basically I manage not only their collection efforts, but also their equipment, linguists, and operational taskings."
I asked Mrs. Tataru if a degree is required for her job. She explained that a degree is required if you wish to advance to the highest level of warrant officer. Mrs. Tataru holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Science from Michigan Technological University.
When I asked Mrs. Tataru what she liked best about her job, she replied, "Besides the training and discipline, I truly enjoy putting on my uniform. Not that a patch or uniform identifies who you are, it does symbolize patriotism and I love our country. We are not perfect, but we do have freedom. I love my job because it is an integral part in the war against terrorism. Talking with local nationals from Iraq to Afghanistan to provide us with a better picture of the war helps to better myself as a person. Most of all, the outstanding soldiers I work with makes my job enjoyable and worth staying in the Army for."
Even though it was obvious from the interview that Mrs. Tataru enjoys her job, I asked her what she likes least about her job. She said that, like all jobs, there are politics involved that often cannot be avoided.
I asked Mrs. Tataru what advice she has for those aspiring to have a career similar to hers. She replied by saying that it is very important to remember that "family always comes first." She went on to say that if you consider your family in everything you do in the military, you will build a strong bond. Mrs. Tataru is married to a former soldier who is now serving in Iraq as a civilian contractor.
She also said that it is important to follow through with what you say and to be loyal and honest in everything you do. "Never be self-serving," she warned, or you will "find yourself alone."
Image provided by Tasha R. Tataru. Mrs. Tataru retains all rights to the image.