Army Badges, You Can’t Really Have Enough of Them
There’s a saying about people who wear their hearts on their sleeves. In the U.S. Army, soldiers may wear a lot of their history there as well. That can be a downright literal interpretation. On enlisted dress uniforms, the hash-mark service stripes on the left sleeve mark off a soldier’s years of service three at a time. Other official Army badges and tabs denote everything from specializations to accomplishments.
With the advent of velcro on uniforms, soldiers even sport unofficial tabs and badges, though not during inspection. After all, if it’s not in AR 670-1, it had better not be on that uniform.
What Do Army Badges Show?
Where You’ve Been
Not only the nature of a badge but also its location can be significant to the story it tells. Worn on the left shoulder, a unit patch – or Shoulder Sleeve Insignia – tells which division or major formation a soldier is currently assigned to. Worn on the right shoulder, that same patch identifies the formation a soldier served in during a combat deployment.
Soldiers who have had tours with multiple divisions or commands can choose which combat patch to wear. Some Army units may even be authorized to wear a combat patch from a different branch. My own unit was attached to the 1st Marine Division for the invasion of Iraq. It was an honor to be authorized to wear the Guadalcanal patch.
Soldiers now wear subdued ranks on their chests on combat uniforms, but dress uniform rank is emblazoned on the sleeve as well.
And if you notice the angled service stripes on the left sleeve, you might wonder why those on the right sleeve are parallel to the cuff. Those stripes aren’t years of service, but rather each six-month period served overseas.
What You’ve Done
On the upper-left chest of an Army uniform, soldiers can wear any number of badges showing their accomplishments. These vary from the common marksmanship qualification badges earned in basic training, to the more elite. A badge may show that the wearer is qualified as a parachutist, aviator, or even as a flight surgeon.
Telling all those badges apart doesn’t come easy to the newly initiated. Though the design of the Air Assault and Parachutist Badges are unique, they may look similar without closer inspection. Get into the aviator badges, and the similarities are even stronger.
The Air Assault Badge, awarded on completion of Army Air Assault School, stands out with a helicopter at the center. The Parachutist Badge – commonly called “jump wings” – is awarded on completion of the Army Basic Airborne Course. Completion of the Jumpmaster course and a number of other qualifications can earn an upgrade, either to the Senior Parachutist Badge or to the Master Parachutist Badge.
With the advent of the Space Force, there’s even a badge for soldiers who qualify as “space professionals.”
Other accomplishments that earn a badge include completion of the Army Pathfinder School, qualifications as a combat diver, and qualification in explosive ordnance disposal.
The Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) and Combat Action Badge (CAB) are awarded for similar reasons, but to different specializations. The CIB displays a rifle backed by a wreath, whereas the CAB displays a bayonet backed by a wreath. Both are awarded for active combat service and require engagement with the enemy. The difference is in who can receive each. The CIB is only for infantry or special forces soldiers. The CAB was created in late 2001 for everyone else in the Army, from military police to admin soldiers.
Similarly, the Expert Infantryman Badge and Expert Soldier Badge have the corresponding rifle and bayonet, but no wreath. These badges are awarded for the completion of a battery of tests proving a soldier’s readiness and qualifications.
Combat medics have their own badges, the Combat Medical Badge and the Expert Field Medical Badge.
Who You Are
Army tabs are their own kind of badges and can show a soldier’s accomplishments and designation. Worn on the left shoulder over the unit patch, tabs are awarded based on meeting certain criteria. Yet, unlike other badges, some tabs can only be worn based on unit assignment.
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Badges that remain with soldiers throughout their career include those awarded for completion of the Special Forces Qualification Course, the Army’s Ranger School, and the Army’s Sapper School. Other schools tabs, such as the Arctic tab and the Jungle tab, are only authorized for U.S. Army Pacific.
Other tabs, such as the Airborne tab, are worn purely based on a soldier’s unit. In an Airborne unit, even someone who isn’t jump-qualified wears the tab. The differentiation comes with whether or not the soldier is also wearing jump wings. At the same time, once soldiers leave an airborne unit, they drop the tab, but not the wings.
Similarly, soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division wear the Mountain tab while part of the division. The 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea also has a “Combined Division” tab to symbolize cooperation with the Republic of Korea Army.
The various honor guards throughout the U.S. Army also wear tabs denoting their status. The rarest of these is white lettering on a blue background and is only worn by The Old Guard.
What You Do
The final type of badges are the identification badges, which are worn over the right breast pocket. The most familiar version for any member of the Army is that worn by drill sergeants. Yet, military police, instructors, recruiters, and even Criminal Investigative Command (CID) have their own.
What Is the Rarest Military Badge?
People in the Army take pride in their badges. Even the soldier fresh out of basic training will wear that Marksmanship Badge with pride. And whether it shows years in the Army or accomplishments, the stories these badges tell are important ones.
Though not the rarest badge awarded, one badge is likely the most hallowed: the Tomb Guard of the Unknown Soldier Identification Badge. The badge is awarded to the Sentinels who guard the tomb. The Society of the Honor Guard estimates that approximately 680 such badges have been awarded.
Yet the least common badge of all, understandably, is the Astronaut’s Badge. An Aviation Badge with an added insignia, the Astronaut’s Badge can also be awarded to civilians who have completed a space flight. However, those who have not previously received an Army Aviation Badge instead receive a crewmember badge.
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The Arms Badge reflects the Arms the servicemen are from. The purpose is to instil confidence and pride in the individual Arms and celebrate the tapestry of its culture. It will be worn on the right shirt collar.
Exceptional Skills Badges
These Badges have precedence over all Skills Badges and are worn on the left chest above the pocket.
Gold Military Free Fall Parachutist
Advanced Military Free Fall Parachutist
Basic Military Free Fall Parachutist
These badges are awarded to service personnel who have acquired a professional skill or have undergone some kind of specialised training. They are to be worn on the left chest above the pocket except for the skill tabs which are worn on the left shoulder sleeves.
Jungle Confidence Course
Advanced Jungle Confidence Course
Master Jungle Confidence Course
Advanced Combat Skills
Master Combat Skills
Basic Explosive Ordnance Disposal
Advanced Explosive Ordnance Disposal
Senior Explosive Ordnance Disposal
Basic Chemical Biological Radiological Disposal
Advanced Chemical Biological Radiological Defence
Combat Fitness Trainer Basic
Combat Fitness Trainer Advanced
Combat Fitness Trainer Master
Silent Precision Drill
Director of Music
Taekwondo Black Belt
There can only be a maximum of 2 Skills Tabs worn on the left sleeve. ie. Ranger and Guards Tabs.
Reconnaissance (RECON) Tab
These badges are awarded to service personnel who have acquired basic soldering or physical proficiency. Not more than two can be worn at any one time of the left shoulder sleeves. The Marksmanship badge will be worn above the IPPT badge.
These badges are awarded for good job performances and services rendered. These badges are to be worn on the flap of the left breast pocket. Only one incentive badge can be worn.
Best Soldier of the Month
Safe and Courteous Driver
The approved identification / honorary badges may be worn at the right side of the uniform in addition to foreign badges.
SAF Formation/Unit Patches - Army
All uniform personnel will don formation patches on the right sleeve of the No.4 Uniform. it serves to reinforce our servicemen's identity with their own Formation and HQ.
Army Medical Services
Maintenance and Engineering
SAF Ammunition Command
SAF Military Police Command
Singapore Combat Engineer
Supply and Transport
Highest Ranking U.S. Military Medals
Military medals are more complex than you might think. The highest ranking military medals are awarded for valor and heroism, honoring those who serve in combat and perform above and beyond the call of duty.
The three highest-ranking military medals are awarded for exceptional service on the battlefield, while lower ranking (but still quite important) medals are bestowed for both combat and non-combat exceptionalism, depending on the medal and the branch of service awarding it.
There are many different types of military medals. Some are presented to officers only, some are presented to enlisted members only, and some are presented on the basis of performance and/or bravery. What follows is a list of some of the highest ranking military medals awarded for the highest acts of service–exceptional performance in combat above the call of duty.
Awards for valor and heroism get top priority whether presented to the recipient, or posthumously to the recipient’s family.
A Brief History Of Military Medals
On a historic, and world-wide scale, military decorations have been used since the days of antiquity. Egypt had its Order of the Golden Collar, the Roman legions used decorations to honor their elite fighters, and Sweden has the distinction of having quite possibly the oldest military decorations that are still employed to this day.
The Swedish “For Valour in the Field” and “For Valour at Sea” awards were originally created in the late 1700s by King Gustav of Sweden.
Other very old military awards still used today include the Austro-Hungarian Honour Medal for Bravery, created in 1789, by Emperor Joseph II. Another good example is the Poland War Order of Military Valour, presented for the first time in 1792.
On American soil, the Badge of Military Merit was created by General George Washington in 1782, created to honor enlisted soldiers who performed a “singularly meritorious action.”
Circa 1932 the Badge of Military Merit evolved into the Purple Heart, meant to honor the same bravery as the Badge of Military Merit. But the Purple Heart was also intended (at the time) to honor the bicentennial of George Washington’s birthday.
Awards And Decorations
It’s important to note that what people sometimes think of as military medals are actually classified into two separate categories known as “awards and decorations.” The basic difference is that an award can be presented to an individual soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, or members of the Coast Guard. But they can also be presented to a full unit.
By comparison, a decoration can only be presented to an individual and is presented for a specific purpose and/or motivated by a specific incident. The military medals discussed here are decorations, not awards.
The Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military honor presented for valor. It is also the only military award that is congressionally approved for presentation by the President.
Criteria for receiving this award usually involves going above and beyond the call of duty while “engaged in action against an enemy of the United States.”
The Medal of Honor actually comes in three different versions: the U.S. Army version, the Air Force version, and the version for the Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps. The first Medal of Honor was created for the U.S. Navy in 1861. The U.S. Army created its own Medal of Honor the following year. The Air Force version of the Medal of Honor was designed in 1963.
Note: The Medal of Honor is sometimes incorrectly referred to as “The Congressional Medal Of Honor.” This extended name can be attributed to the Congressional Medal Of Honor Society, a nonprofit group chartered by Congress and comprised of Medal Of Honor recipients.
The Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross and the Air Force Cross
Service Crosses are the second-highest military medal awarded for valor. Like the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) has evolved into a medal presented for valor to qualifying service members from any branch of the U.S. military. The Distinguished Service Cross was first awarded by the Army in 1918.
The Navy created its own version in 1919 but the original Navy Cross was awarded for “distinguished service” and not just exceptional performance in combat. Later, the U.S. Congress redesignated the Navy Cross as a medal to be awarded for bravery in combat only, and elevated the medal’s status to a position second only to the Medal Of Honor.
Navy Cross medals are awarded to members of the Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps.
The Air Force Cross was created for that branch of service in 1960, filling the purpose that was filled by the original Distinguished Service Cross. Like the Navy, Air Force officials wanted a service-specific version of the DSC to honor their own for bravery in combat.
The Silver Star
The Silver Star is the third-highest military medal awarded specifically for bravery and exceptional service under fire. It was created in 1918. It was known first as the Citation Star. Around 1932 the Citation Star was redesignated and became the medal we know today.
The Silver Star shares some criteria in common with the Medal Of Honor. Not just anyone can present a Silver Star award; the ceremony must be presided over by a “commander-in-theater” who is at least a three-star general.
Among those who have earned the Silver Star is Colonel David “Hack” Hackworth who stands out from the rest. Hackworth earned a whopping 10 Silver Stars during his military career.
Distinguished Flying Cross
Believe it or not, the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) was created in the early 1900s by and first awarded to the U.S. Army. This military medal is awarded for heroism or extraordinary achievement related to flight and its first recipient was none other than Charles Lindbergh.
Unlike the medals awarded above, combat is not the only reason the DFC was created. It could be awarded for achievements in flight as well as bravery. Amelia Earhart is one such Distinguished Flying Cross recipient who earned her medal through achievement rather than on the battlefield.
The Bronze Star
The Bronze Star has the distinction of being an award for heroism or achievement, offered to both U.S. troops and qualifying members of foreign military organizations. The Bronze Star was created in 1944 and can be presented for both valor and/or meritorious service.
While the Bronze Star is considered a “Ground Medal”, the Air Medal, created in 1942, is an award equivalent to the Bronze Star, but presented for heroism and meritorious achievements in aerial flight operations.
Similar to the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star is not a combat-specific award and can be presented for achievement or meritorious service as well as combat performance above the call of duty.
The Purple Heart
This military medal awarded for wounds or loss of life in combat “as the result of an act of any opposing force” has its origins in the American Revolution. Originally created and presented as the Badge of Military Merit initiated by George Washington in 1782, the Purple Heart was created in 1932 based on Washington’s design and intent.
It has remained an important recognition of military service in combat and is awarded for meeting a specific set of criteria. This makes the Purple Heart different from other military medals since the service member must be recommended for a Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, etc.
The Purple Heart requires no such recommendation and only requires the servicemember meet the criteria for the award which include being injured or killed during combat by forces that oppose the United States, and even via friendly fire.
Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Identification Badge
US military badge awarded to Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Honor Guard members
The Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Identification Badge is a military badge of the United States Army which honors those soldiers who have been chosen to serve as members of the Honor Guard, known as "Sentinels", at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is the third-least awarded badge in the US Military, after the Military Horseman Identification Badge and the Astronaut Badge. As of August 2021[update], 688 soldiers have been awarded this badge.
The badge itself is made of heavy sterling silver approximately two inches in diameter. The obverse design consists of an inverted wreath, a sign of mourning, and the East face of the Tomb which contains the figures of Peace, Valor and Victory. Superimposed on the bottom of the Tomb under the three figures are the words "Honor Guard".
The badge was designed in 1956 and first issued to members of the Honor Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on February 7, 1958. The badge was first issued only as a temporary wear item, meaning the Soldiers could only wear the badge during their tenure as members of the Honor Guard. Upon leaving the duty, the badge was returned and reissued to incoming Soldiers. In 1963, regulations were changed to allow the badge to be worn as a permanent part of the military uniform after the Soldier's completion of duty at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was also permanently awarded to those who had previously earned it.
The bestowing authority of the Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Identification Badge is the Commanding Officer, 4th Battalion, 3rd U.S. Infantry in accordance with Army Regulation 600-8-22. For a service member to permanently receive the badge, they must serve nine months as a member of the Honor Guard and receive a recommendation from the Commanding Officer of the Honor Guard Company.
The Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Identification Badge can be revoked if a Soldier disgraces him or herself in a manner that brings dishonor on the Tomb. This action can happen even after the Soldier completes his or her tour as a member of the Honor Guard.
The first recipient of this badge was William Daniel, a former prisoner of war who served as a tomb sentinel and sergeant of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from February 1957 to June 1960. He retired with the rank of Master Sergeant in 1965 after 22 years of Army service. Daniel died in 2009 and is interred in Section 35 at Arlington National Cemetery, located just south of the Tomb.
Women were not eligible to receive the badge until a woman in a military police unit was assigned to The Old Guard in 1993, thus enabling women to volunteer for guard duty at the Tomb. The first female soldier to earn the badge was Sgt. Heather Lynn Johnsen.
- ^ ab"Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier "Tomb Guard" list".
- ^U.S. Army Pamphlet 670–1: Uniform and Insignia, Guide to the Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and InsigniaArchived 2014-05-06 at the Wayback Machine, Department of the Army Publications and Forms, dated 31 March 2014, last accessed 23 June 2014
- ^U.S. Army Regulation 600-8-22, Military Awards, Official Department of the Army Publications and Forms, dated 11 Dec 06, revised 15 Sep 11, last accessed 4 Oct 11
- ^ abMcVeigh, Alex (February 11, 2009). "First Tomb Badge recipient laid to rest". Pentagram. McLean, VA: U.S. Army. Retrieved February 22, 2010.
- ^ ab"The Sentinels of the Tomb". 3rd U.S. Army Infantry Regiment. Archived from the original on 2010-02-28. Retrieved February 22, 2010.
- ^ abc"Sec. 578.110 Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Identification Badge". Code of Federal Regulations, Title 32, Volume 3. U.S. Government Printing Office. January 1, 2008. Retrieved February 22, 2010.
- ^Zongker, Brett (February 19, 2010). "For 1st time, brothers guard Tomb of the Unknown". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved February 22, 2010.[dead link]
- ^Fogg, Sam (May 29, 1977). "Guards Walk Extra Mile At Tomb Of Unknown". The Pittsburgh Press. United Press International. p. H1. Retrieved February 22, 2010.
- ^"Tomb guard thinks first of his duty". Lawrence Journal-World. N.Y. Times News Service. May 31, 1985. p. 5. Retrieved February 22, 2010.
- ^Popplewell, Louise (June 11, 2006). "Tomb of the Unknowns". Victoria Advocate. Retrieved February 22, 2010.[dead link]
Military badges rarest
Badges of the United States Army
Military decorations issued by the United States Department of the Army
Badges of the United States Army are military decorations issued by the United States Department of the Army to soldiers who achieve a variety of qualifications and accomplishments while serving on active and reserve duty in the United States Army.
As described in Army Regulations 670-1 Uniforms and Insignia, badges are categorized into marksmanship, combat and special skill, identification, and foreign. Combat and Special Skill badges are further divided into five groups.
A total of six combat and special skill badges are authorized for wear at one time on service and dress uniforms; this total does not include special skill tabs or special skill tab metal replicas.
Personnel may wear up to three badges above the ribbons or pocket flap, or in a similar location for uniforms without pockets. Personnel may only wear one combat or special skill badges from either group 1 or group 2 above the ribbons. Soldiers may wear up to three badges from groups 3 and 4 above the ribbons. One badge from either group 1 or group 2 may be worn with badges from groups 3 and 4 above the ribbons so long as the total number of badges above the ribbons does not exceed three.
Only three badges (from groups 3, 4, or 5), to include marksmanship badges, can be worn on the pocket flap at one time. This total does not include special skill tab metal replicas. Personnel will wear the driver and mechanic badges only on the wearer's left pocket flap of service and dress uniforms, or in a similar location on uniforms without pockets. Personnel may not attach more than three clasps to the driver and mechanic badges. The driver and mechanic badges are not authorized for wear on utility uniforms.
The order of precedence for combat and special skill badges are established only by group. There is no precedence for combat or special skill badges within the same group. For example, personnel who are authorized to wear the Parachutist and Air Assault badges may determine the order of wear between those two badges.
The 21st century United States Army issues the following military badges (listed below in order of group precedence) which are worn in conjunction with badges of rank and branch insignia.
Combat and Special Skill Badges and Tabs
- Marksmanship Badges
Main article: Marksmanship badges (United States)
Distinguished International Shooter Badge
Distinguished Shooter Badges
Interservice Competition Badges
Marksmanship Qualification Badges
Main article: Identification badges of the Uniform Services of the United States
National Guard Badges
- * = also issued to Air Force airmen
- ** = also issued to airmen and Space Force guardians
- No asterisk indicates that the badge is issued only to soldiers
- ^"AR670-1, Chapter 29, Section 15"(PDF). United States Army. Retrieved 2009-10-11.
- ^"AR670-1, Chapter 29, Section 17, Paragraph a"(PDF). United States Army. Retrieved 2009-10-11.
- ^"DA PAM 670–1 • 1 July 2015"(PDF).
- ^Department of the Army Pamphlet 670–1, Uniform and Insignia Guide to the Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia, Department of the Army, dated 26 January 2021, last accessed 27 January 2021
- ^"Vermont National Guard Permanent Order 121-01". Archived from the original on 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2011-04-21.
- ^National Guard Regulation 672-3 and Air National Guard Regulation 900-1, National Guard Chief's 50 Marksmanship BadgeArchived 2013-05-31 at the Wayback Machine, dated 1 February 1978, last accessed 26 March 2014
- ^Tabs and Badges a Measure of Missouri Guardmembers' MarksmanshipArchived March 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Missouri National Guard Public Affairs, by Ann Keyes, last accessed 1 March 2015
- ^Tabs and Badges a Measure of MarksmanshipArchived 2014-05-18 at the Wayback Machine, Missouri National Guard, dated 14 December 2010, last accessed 18 May 2014
The Astronaut Badge is the rarest award given to members of the US Army. What is the second rarest US Army badge awarded?
A special Army decoration, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Guard Identification Badge is authorized for wear after passing a detailed test of 100 questions (from a pool of more than 300), a uniform test with two gigs (errors) or fewer (measured to the 1/64"), and a test on the guard changing sequence. After serving honorably for a period of nine months, and having passed the sequence of tests, a Tomb Guard is permanently awarded the Badge. Since 1959, many men have completed training and been awarded this Badge, as well as three women. A small number of Tomb Guard Identification Badges have also been retroactively awarded to soldiers who served as Guards before 1959. Those numbers make the Badge the second rarest award currently issued in the United States Army; only the Army Astronaut Badge is rarer.
The White House is guarded by US Marines, so there is no specific badge for Army personnel assigned to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
More Info: en.m.wikipedia.org
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