The Glider Badge was a qualification 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 badge was authorized on 22 July 1944 A cloth circle with a glider similar to the parachute cap insignia was worn on the overseas cap.
Glider-borne soldiers wore a wing trimming (a.k.a. oval) behind their Glider Badges to signify assignment to glider units. The color pattern of the trimming varied depending upon the unit. (Note: During World War II the term "Airborne" included parachute, glider, and air-landing units. With the elimination of glider and air-landing units from the force structure in the post-war years, Airborne became synonymous with parachute units only.)
In the post-World War II years, the US Army converted its remaining glider units to parachute. For example, the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment of the 82d Airborne Division was reorganized and redesignated on 15 December 1947 as the 325th Infantry Regiment (no longer glider infantry), and then reorganized and redesignated again on 15 December 1948 as the 325th Airborne Infantry. Likewise, the 319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion, also part of the 82d Airborne Division, was reorganized and redesignated on 15 December 1947 as the 319th Field Artillery Battalion, and then reorganized and redesignated on 15 December 1948 as the 319th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion. Although glider units had ceased to exist, the badge was not formally rescinded until 3 May 1961; however, it remained authorized for wear by those who earned it.
By 1949 glider training still took place but was included in the basic Airborne course, which was then five weeks long. The first week of the course covered air transportability training, which included glider training. During late summer of that year, a glider crashed, killing many of those on board, and glider training came to an end.
Glider Operations during World War II
U.S. Army glider units participated in eight glider-airborne operations during World War II:
- Invasion of Sicily (Operation HUSKY) July 9-13, 1943
- 1st Air Commando Group in Burma (Operation THURSDAY) March-May 1944
- Invasion of Normandy (Operation NEPTUNE, airborne phase of Operation OVERLORD) June 6-8, 1944
- Invasion of southern France (Operation DRAGOON) August 15, 1944
- Invasion of Netherlands (Operation MARKET, airborne phase of Operation MARKET GARDEN) September 17-23, 1944
- Re-supply of Bastogne (a flight on December 25, 1944 and Operation REPULSE) December 26-27, 1944
- Rhine River crossing at Wesel (Operation VARSITY) March 24, 1945
- Aparri, Luzon, PI (Operation GYPSY) June 23, 1945
- Obsolete badges of the United States military
- Badges of the United States Army
- Parachutist Badge (United States)
- Air Assault Badge
- Military glider
- Glider Badge, The Institute of Heraldry, Uniformed Services, Army, U.S. Army Badges; last accessed 1 July 2012
- p.15 Hagerman, Bart War Stories: The Men of the Airborne Turner Publishing Company, 1993
- Airborne Breast Oval Background Trimmings, Insignia of Airborne Units, U.S. Army, Second World War; last accessed 1 July 2012
- (CMH), U.S. Army Center of Military History. "325th Infantry Regiment - Lineage and Honors - U.S. Army Center of Military History (CMH)". www.history.army.mil.
- (CMH), U.S. Army Center of Military History. "2d BATTALION, 319th FIELD ARTILLERY REGIMENT - Lineage and Honors - U.S. Army Center of Military History (CMH)". www.history.army.mil.
- Title 32: National Defense, Section 578.95 - Glider Badge (Rescinded), U.S. Government Printing Office, Code of Federal Regulations, last accessed 21 January 2013
- Army Regulation 670-1: Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia, Department of the Army, dated 3 February 2005, revised 11 May 2012, last accessed 21 January 2013
- Eight Missions, National WWII Glider Pilots Association, Inc; last accessed 1 July 2012