United States Army branch insignia

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ARMY badge. War badge.

Branch insignia of the United States Army refers to military emblems that may be worn on the uniform of the United States Army to denote membership in a particular area of expertise and series of functional areas. Army branch insignia is similar to the line officer and staff corps officer devices of the United States Navy as well as to the Navy Enlisted rating badges. Musket Name, Brown Bess

Army branch insignia is separate from Army qualification badges in that qualification badges require completion of a training course or school, whereas branch insignia is issued to a service member upon assignment to a particular area of the Army.

History[edit]

The first use of Army branch insignia was adopted just prior to the American Civil War in 1858 for use on the black felt hat. A system of branch colors, indicated by piping on uniforms of foot soldiers and lace for mounted troops, was first authorized in the 1851 uniform regulations, with Prussian blue denoting infantry, scarlet for artillery, orange for dragoons, green for mounted rifles, and black for staff. When the U.S. Army begin developing a series of colored rank epaulets for wear by officers of various Army branches, the scheme included yellow for cavalry officers, red for artillery officers, and light blue or white for infantry officers. General officers wore dark blue epaulets.

By the start of the 20th century, Army personnel began wearing various branch insignia on the stand-up collars of the Army dress uniform. Branch insignia was also worn by officers on the wool uniform shirt when worn as outer wear. Enlisted soldiers wore a version enclosed in a brass disk while officers wore a full sized version not enclosed. This has continued to the modern age.

Members of Infantry, Armor (including Cavalry), Special Forces, Aviation, Engineer, Field Artillery and Air Defense Artillery regiments may wear a version of the insignia in which the regimental number is included in the insignia. For Air Defense Artillery and Aviation, the number is mounted on the center of the face. For Infantry, Cavalry, Special Forces and Field Artillery, the number is placed immediately above, but not covering, the intersection of the crossed rifles, sabres, arrows, or cannon, respectively. For Armor, the number is placed immediately above the tank.[1]

Certain special assignment insignia is worn in place of branch insignia to denote the officer's or NCO's particular responsibility. The enlisted versions of these are borne on a golden disk in the same manner as their customary branch device. Officers so assigned continue to wear their basic branch color(s) on the epaulets of the blue Army Service Uniform and the Army Blue Mess uniform.

  • Officers and NCOs serving a term in an Inspector General billet wear Inspector General insignia.
  • Officers assigned to general staff billets wear General Staff insignia.
  • Officers assigned as aides-de-camp wear aide-de-camp insignia which denotes the rank of the officer or official whom they serve.
  • Sergeants major assigned as command sergeants major wear "branch immaterial" insignia
  • The sergeant major assigned as the Sergeant Major of the Army wears unique insignia based upon that of an aide-de-camp to the Army Chief of Staff.
  • If the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman is selected from the Army, that sergeant major wears unique insignia based upon that of an aide-de-camp to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

From 1920, warrant officers, being appointed into the Army "at large", wore the warrant officer device (a larger version of which is still worn on their service caps) rather than branch insignia on their lapels. Likewise, they wore brown as a branch color no matter their basic specialty. In 2004, warrant officers adopted the insignia and colors of the branch corresponding to their specialty.

Typically, general officers wear no branch insignia, as they deal with echelons far above the basic branch level. Exceptions, however exist, as with the commandants of the various branches retain the respective insignia and Dean of the U.S. Military Academy wears the Professor, USMA insignia. <3

How worn[edit]

The 21st century Army displays branch insignia on the blue Army Service Uniform coats; it is similarly worn on the Army Green uniform coat until that uniform is withdrawn from wear in 2014. Branch insignia was also similarly worn on rarely-seen Army White uniform coat prior to that uniform being declared obsolete and unauthorized in 2006. Enlisted soldiers wear the branch insignia disk on the wearer's left coat collar, opposite the "U.S." insignia disk. All officers, apart from most general officers, wear branch insignia on both lapels, beneath the "U.S." insignia on both coat lapels. Most general officers wear only the "U.S." insignia on both coat lapels, and no branch insignia; chaplains, judge advocates, the Chief Engineer, the Quartermaster General, et al. are exceptions to this rule, and wear branch insignia in the same manner as typical officers; other branch chiefs (i.e.: Chief of Infantry, Chief of Artillery, Chief of Intelligence, etc.) may at their option wear the insignia of their branch as other officers; similarly, the Inspector General and Deputy Inspector General wear the inspector general insignia on their lapels in the same manner as other officers serving on inspector general tours.

Branch insignia is also worn by commissioned and warrant officers on the left collar of the hospital duty uniform and the arctic fatigues; rank is worn on the right collar. Chaplains wear branch insignia above the right breast pocket of Class B shirts; no other personnel wear branch insignia on Class B uniforms. Similarly, chaplains are the only soldiers who wear branch insignia on the Army Combat Uniform; chaplains also wear branch insignia on helmets and patrol caps in the place of rank insignia.

Branch of service insignia[edit]

The following are the currently used branch insignia emblems of the United States Army:

Branch Insignia Color Description
Acquisition Corps

AC

Acquisition-Corps-Branch-In.png Black A gold color metal device 1 inch (2.54 cm) in height overall consisting of the Alpha and Omega interlaced, superimposed by an eagle’s head erased, all enclosed around the top with a gold tripartite scroll inscribed “INNOVATION” “EXCELLENCE” “DEDICATION” in incised letters; around the bottom entwined by the scroll ends are two laurel branches crossed at base all gold. Enlisted only.
Adjutant General's Corps

AG

AdjGenBC.svg Dark Blue and Scarlet Piping A silver metal and enamel shield 25 millimeters (one inch) in height on which are 13 vertical stripes, seven silver and six red; on a blue chief one large and 12 small silver stars. The enlisted version is entirely gold-colored metal.
Air Defense Artillery

AD

USAADA-BRANCH.svg Scarlet A missile surmounting two crossed field guns, all of gold colored metal, 30 millimeters (1 1/8 inches) in height.
Armor Branch

AR

Armor-Branch-Insignia.png Yellow The front view of an M26 Pershing tank, gun slightly raised, superimposed on two crossed cavalry sabers in scabbards, cutting edge up, 20 millimeters (13/16 inch) in height overall, of gold color metal.
Aviation

AV

US Army Aviation Branch Insignia.svg Ultramarine Blue and Golden Orange Piping A silver propeller in a vertical position between two gold wings in a horizontal position, 30 millimeters (1 1/8 inches) in width. The enlisted version is entirely gold color metal.
Army Bands ArmyBand Collar Brass.PNG Old Glory Blue A lyre, on a 25 millimeters (one inch) disk, all in gold color metal. Enlisted only. [A division of the Adjutant General's Corps, commissioned and warrant officers wear Adjutant General insignia, shown above.]
Cavalry US-Cavalry-Branch-Insignia.png Yellow Two crossed sabers in scabbards, cutting edge up, 17 millimeters (11/16 inch) in height, of gold color metal.
Chemical Corps

CM

Chemical Branch Insignia.svg Cobalt blue and Golden Yellow Piping A benzene ring of cobalt blue enamel superimposed in the center of crossed gold color retorts, 13 millimeters (1/2 inch) in height and 45 millimeters (1 13/16 inches) in width overall. The enlisted version lacks the enamel.
Civil Affairs Corps

CA

USA - Civil Affairs.png Purple and White Piping On a globe 15 millimeters (5/8 inch) in diameter, a torch of liberty 25 millimeters (one inch) in height surmounted by a scroll and a sword crossed in saltire, all of gold color.
Electronic Warfare

EW

USA - Electronic Warfare Insignia.png Golden Yellow and Black Piping A gold colored and enameled metal shield 25mm (1 inch) in height, on which a black pale is charged with a crossed key, ward down and pointing in, and a lightning bolt, both of gold color. The enlisted version lacks the enamel.
Corps of Engineers

EN

USA - Engineer Branch Insignia.png Scarlet and White Piping A gold color triple-turreted castle, 17 millimeters (11/16 inch) in height.
Field Artillery

FA

USA - Army Field Artillery Insignia.svg Scarlet Two crossed field guns, gold color metal, 20 millimeters (13/16 inches) in height.
Finance Corps

FI

USA - Army Finance Corps.png Silver Gray and Golden Yellow Piping A gold color diamond, 25 millimeters (1 inch) by 19 millimeters (3/4 inch), short axis vertical.
General Staff

GS

USA - Army General Staff Branch Insignia.png None The coat of arms of the United States, 15 millimeters (5/8 inch) in height, of gold color metal superimposed on a five-pointed silver color star, 25 millimeters (one inch) in circumscribing diameter. The shield to be in enamel stripes white and red, chief of blue, and the glory blue. Commissioned and warrant officers only; but see similar branch immaterial insignia worn by command sergeants major.
Branch Immaterial and
Command Sergeant Major
USA - Army Immaterial Command Insignia.png Teal blue and Yellow Piping The coat of arms of the United States, on a 25 millimeters (one inch) disk, all in gold color metal. Enlisted only.
Infantry

IN

USA - Army Infantry Insignia.png Infantry Blue Two gold color crossed 1795 Springfield muskets, 19 millimeters (3/4 inch) in height.
Inspector General USA - Inspector General Branch Insignia.png Dark Blue and Light Blue Piping A sword and fasces 19 millimeters (3/4 inch) in height, crossed and wreathed in gold color metal with the inscription "DROIT ET AVANT" (Right and Forward) in blue enamel on the upper part of the wreath. The enlisted version lacks the enamel.
Judge Advocate General's Corps

JA

JAGC Staff Corps Insignia Army.gif Dark Blue and White Piping A gold color sword and pen crossed and superimposed on a laurel wreath, 17 millimeters (11/16 inch) in height.
Logistics

LG

USA - Logistics Branch Insignia.png Soldier Red and Bronze Piping A diagonally crossed cannon, muzzle up and key, ward down and pointing in, surmounted by a ship’s steering wheel, all in gold colored metal; bearing on the hub a stylized star and inscribed on the ship’s wheel in Latin, above “SUSTINENDUM” and below “VICTORIAM” all in soldier red. Overall dimension is 1 inch (2.54 cm) in height. Commissioned officers only; officers continue to wear their basic branch colors.
Medical Corps

MC

USA - Army Medical Corps.png Maroon and White Piping A gold color medal caduceus, 25 millimeters (one inch) in height. All enlisted soldiers serving in medical, dental, or veterinary specialties wear the enlisted version of the Medical Corps insignia without the letters described below, all in gold color metal.
Medical Service Corps

MS

USA - Army Medical Specialist Corps.png Maroon and White Piping A silver color medal caduceus, 25 millimeters (one inch) in height, bearing a superimposed 'MS' monogramme in black enamel, centered. Commissioned and warrant officers only.
Dental Corps

DC

USA - Army Medical Dental.png Maroon and White Piping A gold color medal caduceus, 25 millimeters (one inch) in height, bearing a 'D' in black enamel, centered. Commissioned officers only.
Veterinary Corps

VC

USA - Army Medical Veterinary.png Maroon and White Piping A gold color medal caduceus, 25 millimeters (one inch) in height, bearing a 'V' in black enamel, centered. Commissioned officers only.
Medical Specialist Corps

SP

USA - Army Medical Specialist.png Maroon and White Piping A gold color medal caduceus, 25 millimeters (one inch) in height, bearing an 'S' in black enamel, centered. Commissioned and warrant officers only.
Nurse Corps

AN

USA - Army Medical Nurse.png Maroon and White Piping A gold color medal caduceus, 25 millimeters (one inch) in height, bearing an 'N' in black enamel, centered. Commissioned officers only.
Military Intelligence Corps

MI

MI Corps Insignia.svg Oriental Blue and Silver Gray Piping On a gold color metal dagger, point up, 32 millimeters (1 1/4 inches) overall in height, a gold color metal heraldic sun composed of four straight and four wavy alternating rays surmounted by a gold heraldic rose, the petals are dark blue enamel. The enlisted version lacks the enamel.
Military Police Corps

MP

USAMPC-Branch-Insignia.png Green and Yellow Piping Two crossed gold color metal pistols 19 millimeters (3/4 inch) in height.
National Guard Bureau

NG

NatlGuardBureauBC.gif Dark Blue Two crossed gold color metal fasces superimposed on an eagle displayed with wings reversed, 19 millimeters (3/4 inch) in height. The insignia is authorized for wear; however, almost all officers wear their respective branch insignia. Commissioned and warrant officers only.
Ordnance Corps

OD

Ordnance Branch Insignia.svg Crimson and Yellow Piping A gold color metal shell and flame, 25 millimeters (one inch) in height.
Psychological Operations USA - Psych Ops Branch Insignia.png Bottle Green and Silver Gray Piping Crossed daggers with blade forming a lightning bolt, superimposed by a knight chess piece.
Public Affairs PublicAffairsBC.svg Teal blue and Yellow Piping A vertical broadsword set against a cross quill with pen and a lightning bolt, on a 25 millimeters (one inch) disk, all in gold color metal. Enlisted only.
Quartermaster Corps

QM

USA - Quartermaster Corps Branch Insignia.png Buff A gold color eagle with wings spread perched on a wheel with a blue felloe set with 13 gold stars, having 13 gold spokes and the hub white with a red center; superimposed on the wheel a gold sword and key crossed diagonally hilt and bow up. The insignia is 19 millimeters (3/4 inch) in height. The enlisted version is entirely gold color metal.
Signal Corps

SC

Insignia signal.svg Orange and White Piping Two signal flags crossed, dexter flag white with a red center, the sinister flag red with a white center, staffs gold, with a flaming torch of gold color metal upright at center of crossed flags; 22 millimeters (7/8 inch) in height. The enlisted version is entirely gold color metal.
Special Forces

SF

USA - Special Forces Branch Insignia.png Jungle Green Two crossed arrows 19 millimeters (3/4 inch) in height and 35 millimeters (1 3/8 inches) in width all gold color. It formerly was the branch insignia of the United States Army Indian Scouts and later the 1st Special Service Force.
Staff Specialist USAR/ARNG

SS

StaffSpecUSAR ARNGBC.gif Green A sword 35 millimeters (1 3/8 inches) in length laid horizontally across the upper part of an open book. Below the sword and across the lower corners of the book two laurel branches cross at the stems. Insignia 19 millimeters (13/16 inch) in height of gold color metal. Commissioned officers only.
Transportation Corps

TC

USA - Transportation Corps Branch Insignia.png Brick Red and Golden Yellow Piping A ship's steering wheel, superimposed thereon a shield charged with a winged car wheel on a rail, all of gold color metal, 25 millimeters (one inch) in height.
Chaplain Corps - Christian Faith

CH

ChristChaplainBC.gif Black A silver color Latin Cross, 25 millimeters (one inch) in height. Commissioned officers only.
Chaplain Corps - Jewish Faith

CH

JewishChaplainBC.gif Black The Decalogue, bearing Hebrew numerals from 1 to 10 surmounted by a Star of David, all of silver color, 25 millimeters (one inch) in height. Commissioned officers only.
Chaplain Corps - Buddhist Faith

CH

BuddhistChaplainBC.gif Black A silver color Dharmacakra, 25 millimeters (one inch) in height. Commissioned officers only.
Chaplain Corps - Chaplain Candidate

CH

Chaplain Candidate Metal.jpg Black Over the lower corners of an open book, two laurel branches crossed at the stems overall a shepherd’s crook, all gold. The insignia is 1 inch (2.54 cm) in height and 1 1/4 inches (3.18 cm) in width. Commissioned officers only.
Chaplain Corps - Hindu Faith

CH

Hindu Faith Branch Insignia.jpg Black A silver color Aum, 25 millimeters (one inch) in height. Commissioned officers only.
Chaplain Corps - Muslim Faith

CH

MuslimChaplainBC.gif Black A silver color Crescent, 25 millimeters (one inch) in height. Commissioned officers only.
Chaplain Corps - Chaplain Assistant ChaplainAsstBC.gif Black Stylized hands supporting a chapel, doors open, on a 25 millimeters (one inch) disk of gold color metal. Enlisted only.


Aide-de-camp[edit]

Although not considered a branch of service, U.S. Army Officers assigned as aides to flag or equivalent grade officers replace their branch of service insignia for a special aide-de-camp insignia that denote the grade or position of the officer the aide supports. Because these collar insignia are branch immaterial, officers continue to wear their original branch of service colors and Army Regimental System insignia.

Obsolete insignia[edit]

The following insignia are no longer used:

Branch Insignia Color Dates Description
Army Security Branch (USAR) Historical US Army Reserve Security Branch Insignia.png Teal Blue and White 1954-1967 The insignia was authorized on 1 February 1954 as a result of the Reserve Army Security Branch being created by General Order 110 dated 15 December 1952. The lightning bolt signifies communications and the crossed keys represent secrecy, authority, and guardianship. The Army Security Branch (USAR) was merged with the newly established Army Intelligence and Security Branch on 1 July 1962. The branch was subsequently redesignated to the Military Intelligence Branch on 1 July 1967, now called the Military Intelligence Corps.[2]
Bureau of Insular Affairs BureauInsularAffairsBC.gif Dark blue 1902–1939 A bunch of seven arrows, points up, superimposed on a pair of wings, all gold.[3]
Coast Artillery Corps Coast Artilliary Insignia.png Scarlet 1901–1950 Two crossed field guns, gold colored metal, with a scarlet oval with a gold projectile at the intersection of the field guns, 13/16 of an inch in height overall. {Consolidated into Field Artillery Branch 1950}[4]
Indian Scouts USA - Special Forces Branch Insignia.png White and Scarlet Piping 1866–1947 No unique insignia authorized until 1890, at which point Scouts would wear silver crossed arrows and U.S.S. collar insignia. In 1921 the crossed arrows hat insignia became a collar insignia in place of the previous. This insignia was then adopted by the 1st Special Service Force, and then by the Special Forces branch.[5]
Military Intelligence (USAR) Historical US Army Reserve Military Intelligence Insignia.png Golden Yellow and Purple 1923-1962 The insignia was authorized on 30 July 1923. The thirteen stripes on the shield converge toward a common point at the center where sits the sphinx, the symbol of wisdom and strength, thus symbolizing the collection of information by the Military Intelligence; and conversely from the center after evaluation, the military information is disseminated. The Military Intelligence Branch (USAR) was merged with the newly established Army Intelligence and Security Branch on 1 July 1962, now called the Military Intelligence Corps.[6]
Tank and Armor 1)First-Tank-Corps-Branch-Insignia.png
2)2nd-Tank-Corps-Branch-Insig.png
3)3rd-Tank-Corps-Branch-Insig.png
4)4th-Tank-Corps-Branch-Insig.png
5)Armored-Force-Branch-Insign.png
Yellow 1917–1951 On 29 December 1917, paragraph 36 change 1 to War Department Special Regulations No. 42, established the first Tank Service collar insignia (graphic 1) which was unpopular with the service; so, on 7 May 1918, change 2 to the Service Regulation announced a new design (graphic 2) that was popular with the troops. On 16 Mar 1921, the new Tank Service insignia was eliminated and paragraph 13b of AR 600-35 prescribed a new collar insignia designated as Infantry (Tanks) (graphic 3). On 21 March 1922, the Adjutant General approved a new design for the Infantry (Tanks) insignia (graphic 4). However, roughly twenty years latter, on 25 February 1942, a new insignia was authorized for all Armored Forces which was announced in War Department Circular 56 (graphic 5). This version of the collar device remained in use until the Armor Branch was established in February 1951.[7]
Tank Destoyer Corps Tank-Destroyer-Branch-Insig.png Burnt Orange and Black Piping 1942–1945 No unique insignia authorized until 1942 when the Tank Destroyer Corps became independent due to a dispute over whether the infantry, artillery or cavalry would have responsibility for the Tank Destoyer Corps.[8]
Women's Army Corps WomensArmyCorpBC.gif Mosstone Green and Old Gold Piping 1942–1978 The head of "Pallas Athene", 1 1/8 inches in height, of gold color metal.[9]


See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]