Military Freefall Parachutist Badge

The Military Freefall Parachutist Badge is a military badge of the United States Army and United States Air Force awarded to qualified U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force personnel as high-altitude military parachute specialists.[2][3][4]

Military Freefall Parachutist Badge
Awarded by U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force
Awarded forQualification as a high-altitude parachutist
StatusCurrently awarded
First awarded1 October 1994[1]
Last awardedOn going
Next (higher)Parachute Rigger Badge
Next (lower)Army Aviator Badges[2]


To earn the Military Freefall Parachutist Badge, the military member first must receive all necessary ground training, already have earned the Military Parachutist Badge (jump-qualified), and must have completed the requisite freefall (night, combat equipment, oxygen) jumps and graduate from the Military Free-Fall Parachutist Course.[5]

A star and laurel wreath, centered above the badge, called the Master Military Freefall Parachutist Badge, is authorized for U.S. Army Soldiers and U.S. Air Force Airman qualified as a Master Military Freefall Parachutist (Jumpmaster). Such qualification requires completing the Military Free-Fall Jumpmaster Course, wherein the student learns how to be a jumpmaster in military freefall operations.[1][6]

As with the U.S. Army's Military Parachutist Badge, small bronze and gold stars are placed on the badge to represent participation in combat jumps, known as Combat Jump Devices, and can be awarded with either the basic and master versions of the badge. To earn the device, a Military Freefall Parachutist must have conducted a High-altitude/low-opening (HALO) or high-altitude/high-opening (HAHO) jump in a war zone. The stars are awarded as follows:[7]

1 combat jumpA small bronze star centered on the dagger
2 combat jumpsA small bronze star on each wing
3 combat jumpsA small bronze star on each wing and one centered on the dagger
4 combat jumpsTwo small bronze stars on each wing
5 or more combat jumpsA large gold star centered on the dagger
List of published U.S. high-altitude parachute jumps eligible for Combat Jump Devices[8][9][10][11]
Date Unit Operation Troopers Country Dropzone
15 Jan. 1991 Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (HAHO) Desert Storm 12 Iraq Northwest desert
3 Jul. 2004 75th Ranger Regiment, Regimental Reconnaissance Detachment (HALO) Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan Southeastern Region
30 May 2007 10th Special Forces Group, 3rd Battalion, ODA 074 (HALO) Operation Iraqi Freedom 11 Iraq Ninewah Province


The Military Freefall Badge original design was submitted in March 1983 by Sergeant First Class Gregory A. Dailey of SFODA-552, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group. Updates on the design, adding a Master Military Freefall Parachutist Badge were submitted by General Wayne A. Downing of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and James Phillips of the Special Forces Association. The badge was approved for wear by U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) on 1 October 1994. Unrestricted wear was approved on 7 July 1997 by General Dennis Reimer.[1]

Symbolism of the badge's design:[1]


The U.S. Military Free-Fall School (MFFS) is operated by the USASOC's John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne), 2nd Battalion, Company B at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) in Arizona, which is the USSOCOM proponent for military freefall.[12][13] The MFFS conducts three primary training courses, the Military Free-Fall Parachutist Course, the Military Free-Fall Jumpmaster Course, and the Military Free-Fall Advanced Tactical Infiltration Course.[13] The U.S. Air Force also conducts the Military Free-Fall Jumpmaster Course—certified by the MFFS—at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base for airman that are not able to attend the MFFS's jumpmaster course.[14] Alternatively, detachments from the MFFS conduct the Military Free-Fall Jumpmaster Course via mobile training teams (MTT) for military freefall units that have difficulty attending the course at the Yuma Proving Ground.[15]

MFFS students and an instructor fall from a C-130 practicing freefall techniques over YPG
Two MFFS instructors (in gray) assist a student as he freefalls over YPG

The Military Free-Fall Parachutist Course (MFFPC) is open to special operations forces assigned to military freefall coded positions, parachute riggers, and select DoD civilian personnel or allied personnel assigned to military freefall positions. To attend MFFPC, students must have graduated from the U.S. Army Airborne School and must meet specific medical requirements. Week one of the four-week course focuses on vertical wind tunnel body stabilization training, parachute packing, and an introduction to military freefall operations. The remaining weeks focuses training on varying jump profiles using three airborne operations per training iteration, totaling 30 military freefall operations per course encompassing various conditions and equipment loads. At the end of the course, students will have learned how to:[5]

  • Pack the RA-1 Military Free-Fall Advanced Ram-Air Parachute System main parachute and don the system
  • Rigging/jumping procedures for weapons, combat equipment, night vision goggles and portable oxygen equipment
  • Aircraft procedures
  • Exit an aircraft from the door and ramp using dive and poised exit positions
  • Emergency procedures and body stabilization
  • HALO and HAHO parachute jumps from altitudes of 10,000 ft (3,048 m) to 25,000 ft (7,620 m)

Upon graduation of the MFFPC, students are awarded the Military Freefall Parachutist Badge.

Student takes exam on HAHO operation planning at YPG
MFFJMC student gives jump commands on a KC-130 during the MTT's first overseas course
Students from the U.S. Air Force MFFJMC conduct jumpmaster personnel inspection at Davis–Monthan AFB

To attend the Military Free-Fall Jumpmaster Course (MFFJMC), students must have graduated from the U.S. Army Airborne School, the MFFPC, the U.S. Army Jumpmaster School, be a current military freefall parachutist, served as a military freefall parachutist for a minimum of one year, and must have completed at least 50 military freefall jumps. The three-week MFFJMC focuses on training students on jumpmaster duties and responsibilities, such as:[6]

  • Nomenclature
  • Jumpmaster personnel inspection
  • Emergency procedures
  • Oxygen equipment
  • Wind drift calculations
  • Altimeter calculations
  • Emergency automatic activation device calculations
  • Jump commands
  • Aircraft procedures
  • Techniques of spotting
  • HAHO techniques
  • Ram-air parachute system packing and rigging

Upon graduation of the MFFMJC, students are awarded the Master Military Freefall Parachutist Badge.

A MFFATIC student practises various freefall techniques with different mission-specific equipment in a wind-tunnel at YPG
MFFATIC instructors and students conduct a HAHO water insertion operation from a C-23 off the coast of Key West, Florida

To attend the Military Free-Fall Advanced Tactical Infiltration Course (MFFATIC), students must have the same qualifications and completed the same prerequisites required of the MFFJMC. The three-week MFFATIC focuses on educating and training joint special operations forces and other selected personnel in the planning and conduct of night military freefall tactical infiltrations as a group onto unknown and unmarked drop zones. Training includes:[16]

  • Following GPS guided bundles
  • Carrying combat equipment
  • Communications
  • Wearing night vision devices
  • Non-standard weapons while using oxygen equipment
  • Utilization of various parachutist navigational devices

Upon graduation of the MFFATIC, students are presented a certificate of completion; there is no badge or badge device awarded for completion of the MFFATIC.

See also


  1. "Military Free Fall Parachute Badge". Army Quartermaster Museum. United States Army. Retrieved 2008-11-22.
  2. Army Regulation 600-8-22 Military Awards (24 June 2013). Table 8-1, U.S. Army Badges and Tabs: Orders of precedence. p. 120 Archived 17 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Army Regulation 670-1, Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia Archived 2015-04-06 at the Wayback Machine, dated 3 February 2005, revised 11 May 2012, accessed 1 June 2012
  4. AFI 11-402, Aviation and Parachutist Service, Aeronautical Ratings and Badges Archived 2014-01-12 at the Wayback Machine, U.S. Air Force Instructions, dated 13 December 2010, last accessed 11 January 2014
  5. MFFPC ATRRS Information Changes, U.S. Army Special Operations Center of Excellence, last accessed 22 April 2017
  6. Military Free-Fall Jumpmaster Course (MFFJMC), U.S. Army Special Operations Center of Excellence, last accessed 22 April 2017
  7. Qualification Badges, Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge, United States Army Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 22 April 2017
  8. United States Combat Jumps,, last updated 7 May 2011, last accessed 6 January 2019
  9. Units Credited With Assult Landings, General Orders No. 10, Department of the Army, dated 25 September 2006, last accessed 6 January 2019
  10. Hitting the ground with coalition partners; Special Warfare Magazine; Valume 21, Issue 6; dated November–December 2008, last accessed 6 January 2019
  11. History of Military Operational Parachute Jumps, Special Forces Association, dated 7 March 2013, last accessed 6 January 2019
  12. Special Forces Qualification Course to incorporate military free-fall training,, by MAJ James Branch (USA), dated 4 October 2012, last accessed 22 April 2017
  13. 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne), U.S. Army Special Operations Center of Excellence, last accessed 22 April 2017
  14. Mastering the jump, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base official page, by Airman Nathan H. Barbour, dated 1 July 2016, last accessed 22 April 2017
  15. Talley, LCpl Jordan (21 April 2017). "First Ever Military Freefall Jumpmaster Course Hosted Overseas". dvids. Camp Courtney. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  16. Military Free-Fall Advanced Tactical Infiltration Course (MFFATIC), U.S. Army Special Operations Center of Excellence, last accessed 22 April 2017
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