Air Battle Manager Badge
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
The Air Battle Manager Badge is a military badge of the United States Air Force which is issued to officers who have been trained and qualified for airborne command and control, air surveillance, electronic warfare, and airborne weapons capabilities in aircraft such as the E-3 Sentry AWACS, the E-8 JSTARS, and the E-4 Advanced Airborne Command Post. The badge was first proposed in 1990 and was first issued to Air Force officers in 1995 after Air Battle Manager became an Air Force aeronautical rating.
The Air Battle Manager Badge is considered a successor to the Officer Aircrew Badge, which had been awarded to non-aeronautically rated officers assigned to in-flight support duties, such as aircraft systems test engineers. Historically, it was primarily awarded to officers who had completed both Undergraduate Air Battle Manager Training (UABMT) and follow-on courses at one of two locations: Tinker AFB, Oklahoma (for those ABMs assigned to the E-3 AWACS) or Robins AFB, Georgia (for ABMs assigned to the E-8 JSTARS). Graduates of UABMT who were not assigned to flying duties were not awarded ABM wings. As of May 2010, however, the new ABM training syllabus allows for students to receive their wings immediately following the conclusion of their undergraduate training - in the same manner as the other two rated career fields, pilot and navigator-cum-combat systems officer.
Air Battle Managers' career progression generally follow one of three paths: AWACS, JSTARS, or CRCs (Control and Reporting Centers- often referred to as GTACS Ground Theater Air Control Systems). Air Battle Managers are most often assigned to Air Combat Command, but may be assigned to other MAJCOMS (primarily Air Education and Training Command/AETC) as the needs of the USAF dictate.
The Air Battle Manager Badge is issued in three degrees being that of basic, senior, and master. The level of degree is denoted by a star and wreath above the badge and is determined by the number of flight hours accumulated.