Unofficial badges of the United States military are those badges or emblems that do not appear in United States military regulations but that many individuals serving in the United States military wear or display. Unofficial badges may also be bestowed for a one time action or be authorized under the authority of a local commander.
Unofficial military badges are rare in the modern age due to the stringent and specific regulations regarding the issuance of military badges and the manner of wear on military uniforms. The term may still be used, however, to denote badges that were proposed for creation but never actually distributed as well as the badges that individuals continue to place in personal award displays, wear on civilian clothing, or occasionally wear on their uniform at the risk of reprimand.
|Airmobile Combat Cavalry Badge|
|Combat Armor Badge||Combat Cavalry Badge|
|Combat Engineer Badge||Combat Artillery Badge|
|Close Combat Badge|
The Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) was introduced in 1943 for soldiers in the Infantry Branch of the U.S. Army who personally fought in active ground combat. Other branches argued in favor of their own badges to signify active combat, but a War Department review board just after the war ruled these out. Despite this, unofficial versions of a Combat Artilleryman's Badge, a Combat Tanker's Badge and a Combat Cavalryman's Badge appeared. In some cases, these were made by simply pinning a piece of branch insignia on top of a CIB and repainting the blue field in the appropriate branch color, but others involved making a badge and replacing the rifle of the CIB with crossed cannons (on a red background), a tank (on a green background, which is not the Armor color of yellow, but was during World War Two) or crossed sabers (on a yellow background).
These unsanctioned badges were generally not worn on a soldiers actual uniform, but instead might have been displayed in personal award displays like shadow boxes. Occasionally, if a unit commander saw fit to allow the badges for wear, soldiers may have worn them on their dress uniforms for special events, reviews, inspections, or dinners. It is not likely that many if any soldiers sewed on a subdued version of the badge onto their utility uniforms (as with official army badges), and therefore this badge was likely to only have been worn on dress uniforms. The only truly widespread use of these combat badges was probably on personally owned items, like ballcaps and car decals.
In 2004, Congressman Mark Green, (Republican, Wisconsin) introduced H.R. 3950 to provide for the establishment of a combat artillery badge to recognize combat service by artillerymen.While none of the other unofficial badges were covered in H.R. 3950, the bill ultimately did not make it out of committee anyway. The final demise of these unofficial badges began when the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2005 required the Secretary of the Army to establish a Combat Recognition Ribbon (CRR) to recognize the combat service of all branches. The CRR would therefore provide an official award that fulfilled the role of the unofficial branch-specific badges. A combat recognition ribbon was never developed by the army because it was scrapped in favor of a Close Combat Badge (CCB). The CCB would recognize specific armor, cavalry, field artillery and combat engineer soldiers who served in units purposefully reorganized to routinely conduct infantry-unique close combat missions and were personally present and under fire while conducting those types of missions. This badge would not honor the combat service of soldiers of these branches, but instead signal that their unit had been purposely deployed to fulfill the role of an infantry unit in a combatzone. Finally, these restrictive criteria were scrapped and the army created the Combat Action Badge for soldiers of any branch in any unit who enter into combat with the enemy. This new badge makes obsolete the unofficial branch-specific combat badges.
Recorded instances of the unofficial combat badges actually being worn are rare, but the following comes from the memoir of a Korean war veteran:
At one meal in the mess hall, a young fellow was eating at the same table as I. He was wearing a medal on his left chest. The medal looked similar to a Combat Infantryman Badge, the difference being that the background was red and the weapon an artillery gun barrel. I told him that the US Army did not confer such a medal. He got very mad at me. He was just a little fellow. I repeated my statement that there was no such medal. He said that it was a Combat Artilleryman Badge. I said that there was no such thing. His buddies huddled around him and glared at me. Every time we ran into each other on the ship, he was with his buddies and he gave me an angry look.
The chart below shows the current enlisted rank insignia of the United States Army, with seniority, and pay grade, increasing from right to left. The enlisted ranks of corporal (E-4) and higher are considered non-commissioned officers (NCOs). The rank of specialist is also in pay grade E-4, but does not hold non-commissioned officer status; it is common that a soldier may never hold the rank of corporal, and instead be promoted from specialist to sergeant, attaining NCO status at that time.
The United States Armed Forces awards and decorations are primarily the medals, service ribbons, and specific badges which recognize military service and personal accomplishments while a member of the U.S. Armed Forces. Such awards are a means to outwardly display the highlights of a service member's career.
A Wound Chevron was a badge of the United States Army, United States Navy and United States Marine Corps which was authorized for wear on uniforms between the years of 1918 and 1932. The Wound Chevron was a gold metallic-thread chevron on an Olive Drab backing displayed on the lower right cuff of a US military uniform. It denoted wounds which were received in combat against an enemy force or hospitalization following a gassing.
The Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) is a United States Army military decoration. The badge is awarded to infantrymen and Special Forces soldiers in the rank of colonel and below, who fought in active ground combat while assigned as members of either an Infantry or Special Forces unit of brigade size or smaller at any time after 6 December 1941. For those soldiers who are not members of an infantry, or Special Forces unit, the Combat Action Badge (CAB) is awarded instead. For soldiers with an MOS in the medical field with the exception of a Special Forces Medical Sergeant (18D), the Combat Medical Badge is awarded.
The Expert Infantryman Badge, or EIB, is a special skills badge of the United States Army. Although similar in name and appearance to the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB), it is a completely different award. The CIB is awarded to infantrymen for participation in ground combat while the EIB is presented for completion of a course of testing designed to demonstrate proficiency in infantry skills.
The Special Forces Tab is a service school qualification tab of the United States Army, awarded to any soldier completing the Special Forces Qualification Course at the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Soldiers who are awarded the Special Forces Tab are authorized to wear it and the green beret for the remainder of their military careers, even when not serving in a Special Forces command.
The Glider Badge was a special skills badge of the United States Army. According to the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry, the badge was awarded to personnel who had "been assigned or attached to a glider or airborne unit or to the Airborne Department of the Infantry School; satisfactorily completed a course of instruction, or participated in at least one combat glider mission into enemy-held territory.
The U.S. military issues instructor badges to specially training military personnel who are charged with teaching military recruits the skills they need to perform as members of the U.S. Armed Forces or teach continuing education courses for noncommissioned officers and officers in the military. With the exception of the U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard, these badges are considered temporary military decorations and must be surrendered upon completion of one's duty as a military instructor. Because of this, the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine Corps award Drill Instructor Ribbons as a permanent decoration to recognize service members who have qualified and performed as military instructors.
The Parachutist Badge, also commonly referred to as "Jump Wings" is a military badge of the United States Armed Forces. The United States Space Force and United States Coast Guard are the only branches that do not award the Parachutist Badge, but their members are authorized to receive the Parachutist Badges of other services in accordance with their prescribed requirements. The DoD military services are all awarded the same Basic Parachutist Badge. The U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force issue the same Senior and Master Parachutist Badges while the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps issue the Navy and Marine Corps Parachutist Badge to advanced parachutists. The majority of the services earn their Basic Parachutist Badge through the U.S. Army Airborne School.
The Combat Recognition Ribbon was a tentative military award of the United States Army which was first proposed in the mid 1980s as an Army equivalent to the United States Navy’s Combat Action Ribbon.
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.
The Combat Action Badge (CAB) is a United States military award given to soldiers of the U.S. Army of any rank and who are not members of an infantry or special forces MOS, for being "present and actively engaging or being engaged by the enemy, and performing satisfactorily in accordance with prescribed rules of engagement" at any point in time after 18 September 2001.
The black beret is a type of headgear. It is commonly worn by paramilitaries and militaries around the world, particularly armored forces such as the British Army's Royal Tank Regiment (RTR), the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps (RCAC), and the Royal Australian Armoured Corps (RAAC). Notable non-armored military units to wear the black beret include the non-military police and non-special forces elements of the Irish Defence Forces, Russian Naval Infantry and Russian OMON units, the United States Air Force (USAF) Tactical Air Control Party (TACP), Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) members, and the Royal Canadian Navy. It was also worn by the United Kingdom's Royal Observer Corps (ROC) with their Royal Air Force (RAF) uniform, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
A shoulder sleeve insignia is an embroidered patch worn on some uniforms of the United States Army. It is used by major formations of the U.S. Army; each formation has a unique formation patch. The U.S. Army is unique among the U.S. Armed Forces in that all soldiers are required to wear the patch of their headquarters as part of their military uniforms.
The uniforms of the British Army currently exist in twelve categories ranging from ceremonial uniforms to combat dress. Uniforms in the British Army are specific to the regiment to which a soldier belongs. Full dress presents the most differentiation between units, and there are fewer regimental distinctions between ceremonial dress, service dress, barrack dress and combat dress, though a level of regimental distinction runs throughout.
In the United States Army, soldiers may wear insignia to denote membership in a particular area of military specialism and series of functional areas. Army branch insignia is similar to the line officer and staff corps officer devices of the U.S. Navy as well as to the Navy enlisted rating badges. The Medical, Nurse, Dental, Veterinary, Medical Service, Medical Specialist, Chaplains, and Judge Advocate General's Corps are considered "special branches", while the others are "basic branches".
Type 07 is a group of military uniforms used by all branches of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the paramilitary Chinese People's Armed Police Force. Introduced in 2007, the Type 07 uniforms replaced the Type 87 service uniforms used by regular units and the Type 97 Service Dress uniforms of the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison and the People's Liberation Army Macau Garrison. The Type 07 uniforms were first seen in late June 2007 during a celebration ceremony for the 10th anniversary of the Transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong.
Troops began wearing berets as a part of the headgear of military uniforms in some European countries during the 19th century; since the mid-20th century, they have become a component of the uniforms of many armed forces throughout the world. Military berets are usually pushed to the right to free the shoulder that bears the rifle on most soldiers, but the armies of some countries, mostly within Europe, South America, and Asia, have influenced the push to the left.
In the United States Army, tabs are cloth and/or metal arches displaying a word or words signifying a special skill that are worn on U.S. Army uniforms. On the Army Combat Uniform and Army Service Uniform, the tabs are worn above a unit's Shoulder Sleeve Insignia (SSI) and are used to identify a unit's or a soldier's special skill(s) or are worn as part of a unit's SSI as part of its unique heritage. Individual tabs are also worn as small metal arches above or below medals or ribbons on dress uniforms.
The United States Army has used berets as headgear with various uniforms beginning in World War II. Since June 14, 2001, a black beret is worn by all U.S. Army troops unless the soldier is approved to wear a different distinctive beret. A maroon beret has been adopted as official headdress by the Airborne forces, a tan beret by the 75th Ranger Regiment, a brown beret by the Security Force Assistance Brigades, and a green beret by the Special Forces.