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A chief’s advice

Guard’s top CWO has over 37 years of service

Tim Gorden, Command Chief Warrant Officer of the Washington Army National Guard and Honorary Captain at a Washington State University football game, offers good advice to all soldiers and airmen. Photo credit: Courtesy photo

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While playing Babe Ruth League baseball in 1976 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Tim Gorden broke his neck.

As a result, he spent six months in neck traction devices before undergoing fusion surgery.

"The life lesson here is that regardless of what you believe is not recoverable and devastating is rarely that," wrote the Command Chief Warrant Officer of the Washington Army National Guard (WAARNG) in an email.

"You have the ability to get back up and react positively."

Life began in Massachusetts as a military brat who lived in nine different locations and attended 10 different schools through the 12th grade.

A self-described "good kid," he at times "tested my parents on a few occasions, but that has always been my personality," he added.

After graduating from Tacoma's Bellarmine Preparatory High School in 1979, he enrolled at Washington State University and graduated with a degree in Social Science in 1984.

He also was a Distinguished Military student in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps and earned a second lieutenant's commission as a field artillery officer.

Since then, Gorden served five years on active duty, 20 years as a traditional Washington National Guard soldier, and the last 12 years as an Active Guard Reserve (AGR) soldier with the WAARNG.

"I have stayed with the Guard for the sheer fact that I love the comradery and the mission."

At one point in his career, however, Gorden had a disagreement with a superior officer, which led to his resignation as an officer and remaining as a sergeant.

But his "get back up" attitude served him well, and in 2003 he was commissioned as a Chief Warrant Officer 2.

Gorden understands and respects the responsibilities Guard personnel and their families feel when called to either federal or state duty.

"The burden these soldiers and their families endure is as difficult as any you could bear," he continued.

"Of no less importance and challenge to the Federal missions, are the domestic response operations we've absorbed. Everything from fighting wildfires, to floods, earthquake/volcanic eruptions, landslides, civil unrest missions, foodbank and vaccination support, COVID testing and test kit production, unemployment claims verification and PPE delivery requirements." 

In his over three-and-a-half decades of service, Gorden has noted the growing "go-to" reliance placed on the Guard in order to serve the needs of Washingtonians in times of need.

"There is  a more visible and very supportive attitude from the majority populace of our state citizens, and nationally for that matter," he said.

"It's also great and important for our soldiers to hear and feel the respect for their efforts and selfless commitments to our citizens."

As the Command Chief Warrant Officer of the WAARNG, Gorden offered some timely and positive advice to the soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord who may be thinking of leaving active duty.

"Make the call to depart on your terms, with planning involved," he concluded.

"Making sure to set yourself up with a somewhat predictable future is the most important perspective a soldier can take,

and consider continuing your service in the National Guard or Reserve, until you secure that comfort level. Then make the call to get out or stay. The near and long-term benefits are hard to beat in the civilian marketplace."

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