Obsolete badges of the United States military

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"Hap" Arnold wearing (above ribbons) conventional "wings" design and (below ribbons) Military Aviator Badge

Obsolete badges of the United States military are a number of U.S. military insignia which were issued in the 20th and early 21st centuries. After World War II many badges were phased out of the United States Armed Forces in favor of more modern military badges which are used today.

A limited number of badges were also issued in the 19th century. The oldest military badge on record dates to the time of the American Revolutionary War. The following is a listing of obsolete U.S. military badges and the period, or branch of service, to which such badges were specific.

A unique obsolete badge situation occurred with General of the Air Force Henry H. Arnold, who in 1913 was among the 24 Army pilots to receive the first Military Aviator badge, an eagle bearing Signal Corps flags suspended from a bar. Replaced in 1917 by the more conventional "wings" embroidered design (authorized as an oxidized silver badge in 1921), Arnold displayed both types on his uniform throughout his career. The original Military Aviator design can be seen in pictures of him in uniform.

Revolutionary War[edit]

Badge of Military Merit MeritBadge.jpg
Fidelity Medallion FidelityMedallion.jpg


Army Aviation Section/Air Service[edit]

Signal Corps Military Aviator Badge USA - Aviator Wings - 1913.png
Air Service Airplane Pilot Badge USA - Aviator Wings WWII.png
Bombing Aviator Badge USA - WWI Bombadier Wings.png
Aeronaut Badge USA - Balloon Pilot WW.png
Enlisted Aviator Badge USAAF - Enlisted Aviator Badge.png
Observer Badge USA - Balloon Observer WWI.png
Wound Chevron WoundChev.jpg


Army Air Forces[edit]

Aerial Gunner Badge AerialGunnerBadge.jpg
Army Air Forces Aircrew Badge USAAF - Air Crew BW.png
Airship Pilot Badge AirshipPilot.jpg
Balloon Pilot Badge BallonPilot.jpg
Balloon Observer Badge USAAF - Balloon Observer Badge.jpg
Bombardier Badge BombardierBadge 2.jpg
Flight Engineer Badge FlightEnginneerbadge.jpg
Flight Nurse Badge USAAF Flight Nurse Wings.png
Flight Surgeon Badge USAAF Flight Surgeon Wings.png
Flight Surgeon Dentist Badge USAAF - Flight Surgeon Dentist.JPG
Glider Pilot Badge GliderPilot2.jpg
Instructor Badge USAAF - Civilian Flight Instructor.jpg
Liaison Pilot Badge LiaisonWings.jpg
Navigator Badge NavigatorBadge-old.jpg
Observer Badge ObserverBadge.jpg
Pilot Badge USAAF Wings.png
Service Pilot Badge ServicePilotWings.jpg
Technical Observer Badge TechnicalObserverWings.jpg
Women Airforce Service Pilots Badge WASPbadge.jpg
WASP Pilot Badge, Older Version USAAF Wings WASP Pilot Class 43-W-2 1943.jpg
Army Air Forces Technician Badge USAAF - Tech Badge BW.jpg
Distinguished Aerial Badges[1][2] Former US Army Distinguished Aerial Badges.png


Air Force[edit]

Air Force Command Flight Surgeon Badge USAF Command Flight Surgeon Badge-Historical.png Replaced by Chief Flight Surgeon Badge on 1 June 1959[3]
Air Force Parachutist Badges USAF Parachutist Badges - Historical.png Replaced by Army & Air Force Parachutist Badges in 1963[3]
Air Police Badge Historical USAF Air Police Badge.png Replaced by Security Police Badge in November 1966[4]
Air Force Training Instructor Badges USAF Training Instructor Badges-Historical.pngUSAF Master Training Instructor Badge-Historical.png Replaced by Air Education and Training Command Instructor Badges[3]
Gold National Excellence-In-Competition Badges Former USAF Gold National EIC Badges.png
Gold & Silver Elementary Excellence-In-Competition Badges Former USAF Gold and Silver Elementary EIC Badges.png
Air Force Aide-de-camp Insignias[3] Example of an insignia for an Air Force aide to a three-star flag officer
Air Force Combat Crew Badge CombatCrewBadge.jpg Retired in August 1993[5]
Space and Missile Badges USAF - Occupational Badge - Space and Missile.svg Replaced by Space Operations Badges on 1 Nov 2005 [6][7]
Air Force Communications and Information Badges United States Air Force Communications and Information Badge.svg Replaced by Cyberspace Support Badges on 1 Jun 2010 [8]
Air Force Special Operations Weather Technician Crest USAF Special Operations Weatherman Flash.jpg Replaced by Special Operations Weather Team Flash
Air Force Honor Guard Badge USAF Honor Guard Badge.png Replaced with new design


Army[edit]

Marksman Buttons Former US Army Marksman Button.png Replaced by Rifle Marksmanship Badges in 1897[9]
Marksmanship Prize Badges Example-Former US Army Marksmanship Prizes-Division 1st Prize.png Replaced by Team Marksmanship Badges in 1903[10]
Artillery Qualification Badges Former US Army Artillery Qualification Badge.png Retired in 1913 and reintroduced as a qualification clasp for the Marksmanship Qualification Badges in 1921[11][12]
Rifle Marksmanship Badges Former USMC Rifle Marksmanship Badges.png Replaced by Marksmanship Qualification Badges in 1921[13]
Pistol Marksmanship Badges Former US Army Pistol Marksmanship Badges.png In 1915, the expert version of the badge was replaced with a new design, which lives on in today's U.S. Marine Corps Expert Pistol Badge. All pistol badges were replaced by the Marksmanship Qualification Badge with Pistol Clasp in 1921.[13]
Team Marksmanship Badges Former Army Cavalry Team Marksmanship Badge.png Replaced with new three piece design between 1922 and 1924[14]
Bureau of Insular Affairs Insignia BureauInsularAffairsBC.gif Retired in 1939[15]
Corps of Intelligence Police Identification Badge Historical Corps of Intelligence Police Badge circa World War I.jpg Replaced by Counterintelligence Corps Special Agent Identification Badge on 13 December 1941
Tank Destroyer Corps Insignia Tank-Destroyer-Branch-Insig.png Retired on 28 November 1944[16]
Counterintelligence Special Agent Identification Badge Counterintelligence corps badge.jpg Replaced with a different design between 1947 and 1948
Distinguished Automatic Rifleman Badge Former US Army Distinguished Automatic Rifleman Badge.png Retired in the late 1940s or early 1950s[14][17][18]
Coast Artillery Corps Insignia Coast Artilliary Insignia.png Retired on 19 December 1950[19][20]
Tank and Armor Insignias 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
1: Retired on 7 May 1918[16]
2: Retired on 16 Mar 1921[16]
3: Retired on 21 March 1922[16]
4: Retired on 25 February 1942[16]
5: Replaced by Armor Branch Insignia in February 1951[16]
Team Marksmanship Badges Former US Army Team Badge-Bronze Pistol-Coastal Artillery.png Replaced by Army Excellence-in-Competition Badges in 1958[14][21][22][23]
Glider Badge USAAF - Glider Pilot 4.png Retired on 3 May 1961[24]
Military Intelligence (USAR) Insignia Historical US Army Reserve Military Intelligence Insignia.png Replaced by Military Intelligence Corps Insignia on 1 July 1962[25]
Army Security Branch (USAR) Insignia Historical US Army Reserve Security Branch Insignia.png Replaced by Military Intelligence Corps Insignia on 1 July 1967[26]
Women's Army Corps Insignia WomensArmyCorpBC.gif Retired on 20 October 1978[27]
Indian Scouts Insignia / 1st Special Service Force Insignia USA - Special Forces Branch Insignia.png The Indian Scouts Insignia was retired in 1926, brought back into service in 1942 as the 1st Special Service Force Insignia until 1944, then reintroduced as the Special Forces Branch Insignia in 1984.[28]
Counterintelligence Special Agent Identification Badge Ci badge.jpg Replaced with a different design
Reserve Recruiter Identification Badge ReserveRecruiter.gif Replaced with the Army Recruiter Identification Badges sometime in the 1980s[29][30][citation needed]
Nuclear Reactor Operator Badges USA - Nuclear Reactor Operators 2.png Retired on 1 October 1990[31]
Scuba Diver Badge Diver Badge (USN).jpg Replaced by the Special Operations Diver Badge on 17 September 2004[32][33][34]
National Guard Recruiter & Retention Identification Badges USA - Obsolete Recruiting Badges.png Replaced with new designs on 12 May 2008[35]
Gold Recruiter Identification Badge Gold Recruiting Badge.jpg Replaced by the Master Recruiter Identification Badge on 1 September 2011[36][37][38]


Marine Corps[edit]

Marksmanship Competition Badges Former USMC Gold Rifle Marksmanship Competition Badge.png Replaced with new designs between 1910 and 1930.[39]
Rifle Marksmanship Badges Former USMC Rifle Marksmanship Badges.png Replaced by the Marksmanship Qualification Badges in 1924, reinstituted in 1937, and replaced by the Marine Corps's current Rifle Qualification Badges in 1958[40][41]
Marksmanship Qualification Badges Armyqual.jpg Replaced by Rifle Marksmanship Badges and Basic Badge in 1937[40][41]
Adjutant and Inspector's Department Insignia[18][42] Former USMC Adjutant & Inspector's Department Insignia.png
Paymaster's Department Insignia[18][42] Former USMC Paymaster's Department Insignia.png
Quartermaster's Department Insignia[18] Former USMC Quartermaster's Department Insignia.png
Aide-de-Camp Insignias[18][42] Army or Marine Corps aide to a one-star flag officerArmy or Marine Corps aide to a two-star flag officerArmy or Marine Corps aide to a three-star flag officer
Basic Badge Former USMC Basic Badge.png Retired in December 1968[40][41]
Military Police Badge USMC MP.jpg Replaced with a new design


Coast Guard[edit]

Coast Guard Flight Officer Badge CGFO.jpg Discontinued on 22 November 1991[43]
Office of the Secretary of Transportation Badge Office of DoT ID Badge.png Discontinued in 2003
Command Identification Badges for a Sector USCG Command CPO Identification Badge of a Sector.png Removed from Uniform Regulations in March 2012[44][45]


Navy[edit]

Sharpshooter's Badge Former US Navy Sharpshooters Badge.png Replaced with Marksmanship Ribbons in 1920.[18][21][46][47]
Expert Team Rifleman Badge[18] Former US Navy Expert Team Rifleman Badge.png
Naval Aviation Observer Insignia NavyEnlistedPilot.jpg Replaced with new design in October 1929[48]
Naval Aviation Observer (Tactical) Insignia Naval Aviation Observer (Tactical) Insignia.png Replaced with Naval Aviation Observer Insignia in 1947[48]
Naval Aviation Observer (Radar) Insignia Naval Aviation Observer (Radar) Insignia.png Replaced with Naval Aviation Observer Insignia in 1947[48]
Naval Aviation Observer (Navigator) Insignia WWIINavyNav.jpg Replaced with Naval Aviation Observer Insignia in 1947[48]
Naval Flight Surgeon Insignia WWII Naval Flight Surgeon Insignia.png Replaced with new design in 1952[48]
Naval Flight Nurse Insignia WWII Naval Flight Nurse Insignia.png Replaced with new design in 1952[48]
Dirigible Pilot Insignia Navyballoonbadge.jpg Retired in 1978[48]
Enlisted Special Warfare Insignia USN - SEAL Enlisted.jpg Replaced with Special Warfare Insignia
Underwater Demolition Officer Insignia USN - UDT Officer.png Replaced with Special Warfare Insignia in 1975
Underwater Demolition Enlisted Insignia USN - UDTBadge.png Replaced with Special Warfare Insignia in 1975
Scuba Officer Insignia ScubOffBadge.jpg
Navy Reserve Merchant Marine Insignia USNR Qualification Pin.jpg Replaced by Strategic Sealift Officer Warfare Insignia in June 2011[49][50]
MAA/Law Enforcement Badges Former Navy Law Enforcement Badges.png Some replaced and some discontinued in June 2011[50]


Joint Service[edit]

The National Match Team ("Dogs of War") Badge Dogs of War Trophy Badge.png Replaced with gold, silver, and bronze medals in 1919.[14]
White House Service Badge WHServiceBadge.jpg Replaced by the Presidential Service Badge on 1 September 1964[51]
Vice Presidential Service Badge Former Vice Presidential Service identification badge.png Replaced with new design on 19 July 1976[41][52]


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Distinguished Bomber and Aerial Gunner Badges, U. S. Army Insignia, William K. Emerson, last accessed 25 January 2013
  2. ^ U.S. Army Air Corps - Between The Wars, Aviation Wings and Badges of World War II, last accessed 25 January 2013
  3. ^ a b c d U.S. Air Force Obsolete Insignia, last accessed 24 August 2012
  4. ^ History of the Air Force Security Badge„ 25th Infantry Division Shotgun Program website, last accessed 1 April 2014
  5. ^ History of Combat Service Insignia; Air Force Enlisted Heritage Research Institute; by CMSgt Malcolm W. McVicar JR., TSgt Sharee A. Hileman, and William I. Chivalette; dated 29 August 2006; last accessed 20 January 2013
  6. ^ New space badge wear begins today, Air Force Space Command, dated 1 November 2005, last accessed 20 January 2013
  7. ^ Space badge renamed, new guidance issued, U.S. Air Force News, by Master Sgt. Kevin Williams, dated 11 December 2013, last accessed 31 December 2013
  8. ^ New cyberspace support career field stood up Nov. 1, Air Force News Service, dated 5 November 2009, last accessed 20 January 2013
  9. ^ Marksman Buttons, Weapons Badges, U.S. Army Insignia, by William K. Emerson, last accessed 19 May 2013
  10. ^ Marksmanship Prizes, 1881-1902, Weapons Badges, U.S. Army Insignia, by William K. Emerson, last accessed 24 April 2014
  11. ^ U.S. Army Artillery Qualification Badges, 1891-1913, U. S. Army Insignia, William K. Emerson, last accessed 25 January 2013
  12. ^ Weapons Qualification, U.S. Army Badges, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 22 April 2014
  13. ^ a b U.S. Army Weapons Qualification Badges and Certificates, 1880-1921, U. S. Army Insignia, William K. Emerson, last accessed 25 January 2013
  14. ^ a b c d Marksmanship in the U.S. Army: A History of Medals, Shooting Programs, and Training, by William K. Emerson, dated 17 May 2004, last accessed 25 January 2013
  15. ^ Insular Affairs (Obsolete), Insignia and Plaques, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 23 February 2014
  16. ^ a b c d e f Tank and Armor Obsolete, U.S. Army Badges, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 23 February 2014
  17. ^ 1941 Supplement to the Code of Federal Regulations of the United States of America (page 1,506), last accessed 24 April 2014
  18. ^ a b c d e f g National Geographic Magazine, October 1943, published October 1943, last accessed 24 April 2014
  19. ^ Coast Artillery (Obsolete), Insignia and Plaques, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 23 February 2014
  20. ^ U.S. Artillery Insignia, Turn of the Century, by William K. Emerson, last accessed 24 April 2014
  21. ^ a b Army Shooting Prizes, Post 1916, U.S. Army Insignia, William K. Emerson, last accessed 25 January 2013
  22. ^ A Short History of the Distinguished Shooter Program, by Hap Rocketto, dated 28 Sep 10, last accessed 4 Oct 11
  23. ^ Army Excellence-in-Competition Badge (post yours too!), U.S. Militara Forum, last accessed 31 December 2012
  24. ^ Title 32: National Defense, Section 578.95 - Glider Badge (Rescinded), U.S. Government Printing Office, Code of Federal Regulations, last accessed 21 January 2013
  25. ^ Insignia and Plaques, Military Intelligence USAR (Obsolete), The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 23 February 2014
  26. ^ Insignia and Plaques, Army Security USAR (Obsolete), The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 23 February 2014
  27. ^ Women's Army Corps (Obsolete), Insignia and Plaques, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 23 February 2014
  28. ^ Special Forces, Insignia and Plaques, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 23 February 2014
  29. ^ U.S. Army Regulation 600-8-22, Military Awards, U.S. Army, updated 15 Sep 11, last accessed 20 Nov 11
  30. ^ U.S. Army Reserve Recruiter Badge, Identification Badges, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 22 April 2014
  31. ^ Nuclear Reactor Operator Badges, Qualification Badges, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 13 January 2013
  32. ^ Diver Badges, Qualification Badges, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 22 April 2014
  33. ^ Army Regulation 600-8-22 Military Awards (24 June 2013).
  34. ^ AR611-75, Management of Army Divers; dated 20 July 2007; retrieved 27 August 2011
  35. ^ Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Identification Badges, Identification Badges, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 22 April 2014
  36. ^ Supplement 1 to AR600-8-22, Military Awards, U.S. Army Recruiting Command, dated 1 Jun 11, last accessed 23 Jun 12
  37. ^ Master Recruiter Badge OK’d for officers, NCOs, Army Times, By Jim Tice, dated 9 May 2011, last accessed 24 August 2012
  38. ^ U.S. Army Recruiter Badge, Identification Badges, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 22 April 2014
  39. ^ USMC Shooting Prizes, Weapons Badges, U.S. Army Insignia, by William K. Emerson, last accessed 19 May 2013
  40. ^ a b c U.S. Marine Corps Marksmanship Badges from 1912 to the Present, History and Museums Division, Headquarters Marine Corps, by Michael D. Visconage, dated 1982, last accessed 19 January 2013
  41. ^ a b c d Complete Guide to United States Marine Corps Medals, Badges and Insignia World War II to Present, Medals of America, last accessed 17 January 2013
  42. ^ a b c WWII U.S. MARINE CORPS PAYMASTER INSIGNIA DEVICE - USMC, WorthPoint, last accessed 22 February 2014
  43. ^ Air Station St. Augustine, Florida, U.S. Coast Guard, last modified 2 August 2012, last accessed 9 May 2014
  44. ^ U.S. Coast Guard Uniform Regulation COMDTINST M1020.6F, dated February 2009, last accessed 27 January 2013
  45. ^ U.S. Coast Guard Uniform Regulation COMDTINST M1020.6G, dated March 2012, last accessed 27 January 2013
  46. ^ Uniform Regulations United States Navy, 1913, Navy Department, dated 1913, last accessed 2 February 2013
  47. ^ Navy Expert Rifle Medal, MilitaryVetsPX.com, last accessed 2 February 2013
  48. ^ a b c d e f g Evolution of Naval Wings, Naval History and Heritage Command, last accessed 17 January 2013
  49. ^ ‘Sea chicken’ pin to be replaced, NavyTimes, by Sam Fellman, dated 2 July 2011, accessed 27 December 2012
  50. ^ a b U.S. Navy Uniform Board Update, accessed 19 August 2012
  51. ^ Executive Order 11174, Establishing the Presidential Service Certificate and the Presidential Service Badge, dated 1 September 1964, Wikisource, page last modified 5 November 2009, last accessed 13 January 2013
  52. ^ Executive Order 11926--The Vice Presidential Service Badge, National Archives, Federal Register, dated 19 July 1976, last accessed 21 January 2013