Special Warfare insignia

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Special Warfare Insignia
United States Navy Special Warfare insignia.png
TypeUniform breast insignia
Awarded forCompleting Basic Underwater Demolitions/SEAL training and SEAL Qualification Training
EligibilityUnited States Navy SEALs
First awardedVietnam War
Speciality mark for Special Warfare Operator (SO)
Navy SEAL receiving the pin after graduating training

The Special Warfare insignia, also known as the "SEAL Trident" or its popular nickname in the Navy community, "The Budweiser",[1] 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 breast insignias of the U.S. Navy.


Established on 16 October 1970,[2] the Special Warfare insignia was initially issued in two grades, gold for officers and silver for enlisted. In 1978 the Silver SEAL insignia was abolished after which the Special Warfare insignia was issued thereafter. The SEAL insignia is therefore unusual in the Navy being as it is one of the very few breast insignia issued identically for both officers and enlisted personnel. This is partly due to the combined training both officers and enlisted receive, side by side, when involved in BUD/S training.

The Special Warfare insignia consists of an eagle clutching a U.S. Navy anchor, trident, and flintlock-style pistol. This gold badge is considered a successor to the obsolete Underwater Demolition Insignia.

The general design was likely derived from the British Combined Operations badge.

Designator and title[edit]

Sailors who complete BUD/S training at Coronado California are reclassified to the Special Warfare Operator (SO) rating. Sailors must complete SEAL Qualification Training (SQT) before receiving Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) 5326 Combatant Swimmer (SEAL) or, in the case of commissioned naval officers, the designation 1130 Naval Special Warfare (SEAL) Officer. Prior to the establishment of the SO rating in 2006, SEAL operators were sourced from regular Naval ratings, with the title of SEAL treated like a warfare qualification, attaching (SEAL) after the rating.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ismay, John (2019-11-21). "Edward Gallagher, the SEALs and Why the Trident Pin Matters". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-12-23.
  2. ^ Cummings, Dennis J. The Men Behind the Trident: SEAL Team One in Vietnam. Naval Institute Press, 1997, p. 16.