Master Gunner Identification Badge

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Master Gunner Identification Badge
US Army Master Gunner Identification Badge.png
U.S. Army Master Gunner Identification Badge
TypeIdentification Badge
Presented byU.S. Army
EligibilityGraduation from a U.S. Army master gunner certification program [1]
StatusCurrently awarded
Established31 January 2019 [1]
First awarded8 January 2018 [2]
Last awardedOngoing
Next (higher) Driver and Mechanic Badge [3]
Related Identification badges [3]

The United States Army's Master Gunner Identification Badge (MGIB) recognizes soldiers who complete one of eight U.S. Army master gunner courses and is an indicator for commanders and soldiers to value the master gunner's advice regarding the training and employment of weapon systems. [4]

According to a U.S. Army article, the master gunner is the technical and tactical experts for their weapon's platform. They advise the commander on everything related to the vehicle platform and weapon systems. They also develop training materials to conduct gunnery and live-fire exercises. "I rely on my master gunners. I probe them for information based on how best to maintain our weapons as well as train our crews... They are there every step of the way from the time we put those crews together until the time we qualify them...," said Captain Kevin Zhang of the 1st Cavalry Division (1st Cav). "Master gunners are trained in methodology... What it boils down to is knowing the standard and being that person in the unit to enforce the standard, and to make sure that people are qualifying correctly... We're also experts in current gun maintenance so we can troubleshoot and fix a lot of problems and issues that may occur at the range, on the spot, instead of having to fall back to unit mechanics," explained Sergeant 1st Class Nathan Quarberg of 1st Cav. [5]

The final design of the MGIB was officially approved by the United States Army Institute of Heraldry (TIOH) on 31 January 2019 [1] but was awarded to the first graduating classes of key U.S. Army fires schools on 8 January 2018. [2] According to the U.S. Army's NCO Journal, the MGIB was designed to recognize both the schools and different U.S. Army branch histories with gunnery: [4]

Original design concept for the Master Gunner Badge--note the difference between this and the TIOH approved version US Army Master Gunner Badge Concept.png
Original design concept for the Master Gunner Badge—note the difference between this and the TIOH approved version

A laurel wreath will represent victory of the maneuver force, a symbol of victory since ancient Greek mythology featured the god Apollo wearing a laurel wreath around his head.

Inside the wreath, a sabre will highlight the Armor Branch, a symbol since 1851 adopted after the American Civil War when the mounted cavalry had great success on the battlefield swinging the curved, 36 in (91 cm) long, single-edged blade.

The 1795 model Springfield musket will honor the Infantry Branch, a symbol of the first official model of musket originally built at the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts.

The crossed 19th-century-style cannon will continue to symbolize the Field Artillery Branch just as it has since 1834, when individual field artilleryman wore the insignia on their cap.

The missile in the center will represent the Air Defense Artillery Branch, just as it has for 50 years when they adopted the Field Artillery cross-cannons and added a missile, evolving from the Coast Artillery Corps whose insignia featured cross-cannons with a projectile in the center.

Soldiers from the 1st Armored Division are awarded the Master Gunner Identification Badge at a ceremony on Fort Bliss, 4 February 2020 US Army 1st Armored Division soldiers receive Master Gunner Identification Badge.png
Soldiers from the 1st Armored Division are awarded the Master Gunner Identification Badge at a ceremony on Fort Bliss, 4 February 2020

The approved design of the MGIB comes in three versions: regular size, regular size–subdued (both at 3 in (8 cm)), and a miniature version (at 1.5 in (4 cm)). The non-subdued version is made of polished nickel silver with a scroll at its base covered in a black textured epoxy. [7]

The eight U.S. Army master gunner courses eligible to award the MGIB to its graduates are: [8]

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  1. 1 2 3 Master Gunner identification Badge, U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry, dated 31 January 2019, last accessed 4 February 2020
  2. 1 2 First soldiers pin on the Master Gunner Identification Badge, Army Times, by Todd South, dated 26 November 2019, last accessed 4 February 2020
  3. 1 2 "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 24 September 2022
  4. 1 2 Master Gunner Identification Badge, A history of mastery in gunnery, NCO Journal (Army University Press), by Sergeant 1st Class Aaron M. Smith (U.S. Army), dated 10 June 2019, last accessed 4 February 2020. PD-icon.svgThis article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain .
  5. Master gunners bring expertise to brigade combat team,, by Staff Sergeant Jennifer Bunn (U.S. Army), dated 2 January 2019, last accessed 5 February 2020. PD-icon.svgThis article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain .
  6. Master gunners recognized for expertise, knowledge [Image 4 of 5], Defense Visual Information Distribution Service, by Private First Class Matthew Marcellus (U.S. Army, 1st Armored Division), dated 4 February 2020, last accessed 29 February 2020
  7. Detail Specification Sheet Badge, Identification, Master Gunner, U.S. Army, MIL-DTL-3628/280; Department of the Army, The Institute of Heraldry; dated 16 July 2019; last accessed 5 February 2020
  8. Design and Development of the Master Gunner Identification Badge (MGIB); Department of the Army, The Institute of Heraldry; SAAA-IHS; dated 2 September 2019; last accessed 14 April 2020