Special Warfare insignia

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Special Warfare Insignia
US Navy SEALs insignia.png
Type Single-grade badge
Eligibility United States Navy SEALs
Awarded for Completing Basic Underwater Demolitions/SEAL training and SEAL Qualification Training
Established 1970
First awarded Vietnam War
Speciality mark for Special Warfare Operator (SO)

The Special Warfare insignia, also known as the “SEAL Trident” or its more popular nickname, "The Budweiser," recognizes those members of the United States Navy who have completed the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training, completed SEAL Qualification Training (SQT) and have been designated as U.S. Navy SEALs. It is one of the most recognizable military badges of the U.S. Navy.


Established on 16 October 1970,[1] the Special Warfare insignia was initially issued in two grades, being a gold badge for officers and silver for enlisted. In the 1970s, the Silver SEAL badge was abolished and the Special Warfare Badge was issued thereafter in a single grade. The SEAL badge is therefore unusual in the Navy in that it is one of the few badges issued in a single grade for both officers and enlisted personnel. This is partly due to the combined training that both officers and enlisted receive, side by side, when involved in BUD/S training.

The Special Warfare insignia consists of a golden eagle clutching a U.S. Navy anchor, trident, and flintlock style pistol. The decoration is considered a "successor badge" to the obsolete Underwater Demolition Badge.

Designator and title[edit]

An enlisted sailor who qualifies for the Special Warfare insignia is authorized to place the designator (SEAL) after his rating. At the end of 2006, all sailors having completed SEAL training and still serving in Naval Special Warfare had their ratings reclassified to Special Warfare Operator (SO), with a new rating badge. Previously there were more than 20 ratings which SEAL operators could have.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cummings, Dennis J. The Men Behind the Trident: SEAL Team One in Vietnam. Naval Institute Press, 1997, p. 16.