Obsolete badges of the United States military

Obsolete badges of the United States military are a number of U.S. military insignia which were issued in the 20th and 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 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.[1] 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 Badge design can be seen in pictures of him in uniform.

The following is a listing of obsolete U.S. military badges and insignia organized by branch of service.

Army Aviation Section/Air Service[1]

Signal Corps Military Aviator Badge
Air Service Airplane Pilot Badge
Bombing Aviator Badge
Aeronaut Badge
Enlisted Aviator Badge
Observer Badge
Wound Chevron

Army Air Forces[1]

Aerial Gunner Badge
Army Air Forces Aircrew Badge
Airship Pilot Badge
Balloon Pilot Badge
Balloon Observer Badge
Bombardier Badge
Flight Engineer Badge
Flight Nurse Badge
Flight Surgeon Badge
Flight Surgeon Dentist Badge
Glider Pilot Badge
Instructor Badge
Liaison Pilot Badge
Navigator Badge
Observer Badge
Pilot Badge
Service Pilot Badge
Technical Observer Badge
Women Airforce Service Pilots Badge
Women Airforce Service Pilots Badge (early version)
Army Air Forces Technician Badge
Distinguished Aerial Badges[2][3]

Air Force

Air Force Command Flight Surgeon Badge Replaced by Chief Flight Surgeon Badge on 1 June 1959[4]
Air Force Parachutist Badges Replaced by Army & Air Force Parachutist Badges in 1963[4]
Air Police Badge Replaced by Security Police Badge in November 1966[5]
Air Force Training Instructor Badges Replaced by Air Education and Training Command Instructor Badges[4]
Gold National Excellence-In-Competition Badges[6][7]
Gold & Silver Elementary Excellence-In-Competition Badges[7][8]
Air Force Aide-de-camp Insignias[4]
Air Force Recruiter Badges Replaced with new designs and additional grades/awards
Air Force Combat Crew Badge Retired in August 1993[9]
Space and Missile Badges Replaced by Space Operations Badges on 1 Nov 2005 [10][11]
Air Force Communications and Information Badges Replaced by Cyberspace Support Badges on 1 Jun 2010 [12]
Air Force Combat Weather Team Crest Replaced by Special Operations Weather Technician Flash
Air Force Honor Guard Badge Replaced with new design
Air Force RPA Sensor Operator Badge Replaced with Enlisted Aircrew Badge on 4 November, 2016 [13]

Army

Marksman Buttons Replaced by Rifle Marksmanship Badges in 1897[14]
Marksmanship Prize Badges Replaced by Team Marksmanship Badges in 1903[15]
Tank Service Insignia Replaced by Tank Corps Insignia on 7 May 1918[16]
Artillery Qualification Badges Retired in 1913 and reintroduced as a qualification clasp for the Marksmanship Qualification Badges in 1921[17][18]
Tank Corps Insignia Replaced by Infantry (Tanks) Insignia on 16 Mar 1921[16]
Rifle Marksmanship Badges Replaced by Marksmanship Qualification Badges in 1921[19]
Pistol Marksmanship Badges 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.[19]
Infantry (Tanks) Insignia Replaced with a new design on 21 March 1922[16]
Team Marksmanship Badges Replaced with new three piece design between 1922 and 1924[20]
Bureau of Insular Affairs Insignia Retired in 1939[21]
Corps of Intelligence Police Identification Badge Replaced by Counterintelligence Special Agent Identification Badge on 13 December 1941
Infantry (Tanks) Insignia Replaced by Armor Force Branch Insignia on 25 February 1942[16]
Tank Destroyer Corps Insignia Retired on 28 November 1944[16]
Counterintelligence Special Agent Identification Badge Replaced with a different design between 1947 and 1948
Distinguished Automatic Rifleman Badge Retired in the late 1940s or early 1950s[20][22][23]
Coast Artillery Corps Insignia Retired on 19 December 1950[24][25]
Armor Force Branch Insignia Replaced by Armor Branch Insignia in February 1951[16]
Team Marksmanship Badges Replaced by Army Excellence-in-Competition Badges in 1958[20][26][27][28]
Glider Badge Retired on 3 May 1961[29]
Military Intelligence (USAR) Insignia Replaced by Military Intelligence Corps Insignia on 1 July 1962[30]
Army Security Branch (USAR) Insignia Replaced by Military Intelligence Corps Insignia on 1 July 1967[31]
Women's Army Corps Insignia Retired on 20 October 1978[32]
Indian Scouts Insignia / 1st Special Service Force Insignia 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.[33]
Counterintelligence Special Agent Identification Badge Replaced with a different design
Nuclear Reactor Operator Badges Retired on 1 October 1990[34]
Reserve Recruiter Identification Badge Replaced with the Army Recruiter Identification Badges in April 2001[35][36][37]
Medical Department Recruiter Identification Badge Replaced with the Army Recruiter Identification Badges in June 2001[38]
Scuba Diver Badge Replaced by the Special Operations Diver Badge on 17 September 2004[39][40][41]
National Guard Recruiter & Retention Identification Badges Replaced with new designs on 12 May 2008[42]
Gold Recruiter Identification Badge Replaced by the Master Recruiter Identification Badge on 1 September 2011[43][44][45]

Marine Corps

Marksmanship Competition Badges Replaced with new designs between 1910 and 1930.[46]
Rifle Marksmanship Badges Replaced by the Army's Marksmanship Qualification Badges in 1924, reinstituted in 1937, and replaced by the Marine Corps's current Rifle Qualification Badges in 1958[47][48]
Marksmanship Qualification Badges Replaced by Rifle Marksmanship Badges and Basic Badge in 1937[47][48]
Adjutant and Inspector's Department Insignia[23][49]
Paymaster's Department Insignia[23][49]
Quartermaster's Department Insignia[23]
Aide-de-Camp Insignias[23][49]
Expert Team Rifleman Badge[23]
Basic Badge Retired in December 1968[47][48]
Military Police Badge Replaced with a new design

Coast Guard

For a list of obsolete rating badges/insignia, visit
List of U.S. Coast Guard ratings

Coast Guard Flight Officer Badge Discontinued on 22 November 1991[50]
Office of the Secretary of Transportation Badge Discontinued in 2003
Sector Command Identification Badges Removed from Uniform Regulations in March 2012[51][52]
Unit Command Identification Badges Removed from Uniform Regulations in August 2018[52][53]
Rating Force Master Chief Identification Badge Replaced with a new design in August 2018[52][53]
For a list of obsolete rating insignia, visit
List of U.S. Navy ratings

Sharpshooter's Badge Replaced with Marksmanship Ribbons in 1920.[23][54][55]
Naval Aviation Observer Insignia Replaced with new design in October 1929[56]
Expert Team Rifleman Badge[23]
Naval Aviation Observer (Tactical) Insignia Replaced with Naval Aviation Observer Insignia in 1947[56]
Naval Aviation Observer (Radar) Insignia Replaced with Naval Aviation Observer Insignia in 1947[56]
Naval Aviation Observer (Navigator) Insignia Replaced with the Naval Aviation Observer Insignia in 1947;[56] this badge is still in use by the U.S. Marine Corps as the Marine Aerial Navigator insignia.
Naval Flight Surgeon Insignia Replaced with new design in 1952[56]
Naval Flight Nurse Insignia Replaced with new design in 1952[56]
Dirigible Pilot Insignia Retired in 1978[56]
Enlisted Special Warfare Insignia Replaced with Special Warfare Insignia
Underwater Demolition Officer Insignia Replaced with Special Warfare Insignia in 1975
Underwater Demolition Enlisted Insignia Replaced with Special Warfare Insignia in 1975
Scuba Officer Insignia
Navy Reserve Merchant Marine Insignia Replaced by Strategic Sealift Officer Warfare Insignia in June 2011[57][58]
MAA/Law Enforcement Badges Some replaced and some discontinued in June 2011[58]
Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman Insignia Replaced with three different skill level insignias on 19 August 2016[59]

Joint Service

The National Match Team ("Dogs of War") Badge Replaced with bronze, silver, and gold medals in 1919.[20]
White House Service Badge Replaced by the Presidential Service Badge on 1 September 1964[60]
Vice Presidential Service Badge Replaced with new design on 19 July 1976[48][61]

See also

References

  1. The Mark of an Eagle, Air Force Magazine, by TSgt Harold L. Craven, dated October 1963, last accessed 14 October 2019
  2. Distinguished Bomber and Aerial Gunner Badges, U. S. Army Insignia, William K. Emerson, last accessed 14 October 2019
  3. U.S. Army Air Corps - Between The Wars, Aviation Wings and Badges of World War II, last accessed 25 January 2013
  4. U.S. Air Force Obsolete Insignia, last accessed 14 October 2019
  5. History of the Air Force Security Badge„ 25th Infantry Division Shotgun Program website, last accessed 1 April 2014
  6. Box, Presentation, Badge, National Rifleman, United States Air Force and Box, Presentation, Badge, National Pistol, United States Air Force, Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, last accessed 8 September 2018
  7. Air Force Instruction 34-271, Air Force Shooting Program and Excellence-in-Competition, Department of the Air Force, dated 30 August 2018, last accessed 14 October 2019
  8. Badge, Non-National Rifleman, United States Air Force, Badge, Pistol, Non-National United States Air Force, Badge, Rifleman, Non-National, United States Air Force, and Box, Presentation, Badge, Pistol, Non-National, United States Air Force; Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum; last accessed 8 September 2018
  9. 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
  10. New space badge wear begins today, Air Force Space Command, dated 1 November 2005, last accessed 20 January 2013
  11. 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
  12. New cyberspace support career field stood up Nov. 1, Air Force News Service, dated 5 November 2009, last accessed 20 January 2013
  13. AFI11-402_AFGM2016-01: Air Force Guidance Memorandum to AFI 11-402, Aviation and Parachutist Service, Aeronautical Ratings and Aviation Badges U.S. Air Force, dated 4 November 2016, last accessed 30 November 2016
  14. Marksman Buttons, Weapons Badges, U.S. Army Insignia, by William K. Emerson, last accessed 19 May 2013
  15. Marksmanship Prizes, 1881-1902, Weapons Badges, U.S. Army Insignia, by William K. Emerson, last accessed 24 April 2014
  16. Tank and Armor Obsolete, U.S. Army Badges, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 23 February 2014
  17. U.S. Army Artillery Qualification Badges, 1891-1913, U. S. Army Insignia, William K. Emerson, last accessed 25 January 2013
  18. Weapons Qualification, U.S. Army Badges, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 22 April 2014
  19. U.S. Army Weapons Qualification Badges and Certificates, 1880-1921, U. S. Army Insignia, William K. Emerson, last accessed 25 January 2013
  20. 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
  21. Insular Affairs (Obsolete), Insignia and Plaques, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 23 February 2014
  22. 1941 Supplement to the Code of Federal Regulations of the United States of America (page 1,506), last accessed 24 April 2014
  23. National Geographic Magazine, October 1943, published October 1943, last accessed 24 April 2014
  24. Coast Artillery (Obsolete), Insignia and Plaques, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 23 February 2014
  25. U.S. Artillery Insignia, Turn of the Century, by William K. Emerson, last accessed 24 April 2014
  26. Army Shooting Prizes, Post 1916, U.S. Army Insignia, William K. Emerson, last accessed 14 October 2019
  27. A Short History of the Distinguished Shooter Program, by Hap Rocketto, dated 19 April 2014, last accessed 1 March 2018
  28. Army Excellence-in-Competition Badge (post yours too!), U.S. Militara Forum, last accessed 31 December 2012
  29. Title 32: National Defense, Section 578.95 - Glider Badge (Rescinded), U.S. Government Printing Office, Code of Federal Regulations, last accessed 21 January 2013
  30. Insignia and Plaques, Military Intelligence USAR (Obsolete), The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 23 February 2014
  31. Insignia and Plaques, Army Security USAR (Obsolete), The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 23 February 2014
  32. Women's Army Corps (Obsolete), Insignia and Plaques, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 23 February 2014
  33. Special Forces, Insignia and Plaques, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 23 February 2014
  34. Nuclear Reactor Operator Badges, Qualification Badges, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 13 January 2013
  35. Reserve Recruiter, 1971-2001, by William K. Emerson, last accessed 29 December 2014
  36. U.S. Army Regulation 600-8-22, Military Awards, U.S. Army, updated 25 June 2015, last accessed 1 March 2018
  37. U.S. Army Reserve Recruiter Badge, Identification Badges, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 22 April 2014
  38. Army Medical Department Recruiter, by William K. Emerson, last accessed 29 December 2014
  39. Diver Badges, Qualification Badges, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 22 April 2014
  40. Army Regulation 600-8-22 Military Awards (24 June 2013).
  41. AR611-75, Management of Army Divers; dated 20 July 2007; retrieved 27 August 2011
  42. Army National Guard Recruiting and Retention Identification Badges, Identification Badges, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 22 April 2014
  43. Supplement 1 to AR600-8-22, Military Awards, U.S. Army Recruiting Command, dated 1 Jun 11, last accessed 23 Jun 12
  44. Master Recruiter Badge OK’d for officers, NCOs, Army Times, By Jim Tice, dated 9 May 2011, last accessed 24 August 2012
  45. U.S. Army Recruiter Badge, Identification Badges, The Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 22 April 2014
  46. USMC Shooting Prizes, Weapons Badges, U.S. Army Insignia, by William K. Emerson, last accessed 19 May 2013
  47. 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
  48. Complete Guide to United States Marine Corps Medals, Badges and Insignia World War II to Present, Medals of America, last accessed 17 January 2013
  49. WWII U.S. MARINE CORPS PAYMASTER INSIGNIA DEVICE - USMC, WorthPoint, last accessed 22 February 2014
  50. Air Station St. Augustine, Florida, U.S. Coast Guard, last modified 2 August 2012, last accessed 9 May 2014
  51. U.S. Coast Guard Uniform Regulation COMDTINST M1020.6F, Department of Homeland Security, dated February 2009, last accessed 27 January 2013
  52. U.S. Coast Guard Uniform Regulation COMDTINST M1020.6G, Department of Homeland Security, dated March 2012, last accessed 27 January 2013
  53. U.S. Coast Guard Uniform Regulation COMDTINST M1020.6J, Department of Homeland Security, dated 2 August 2018, last accessed 10 September 2018
  54. Uniform Regulations United States Navy, 1913, Navy Department, dated 1913, last accessed 2 February 2013
  55. Navy Expert Rifle Medal, MilitaryVetsPX.com, last accessed 2 February 2013
  56. Evolution of Naval Wings, Naval History and Heritage Command, last accessed 17 January 2013
  57. ‘Sea chicken’ pin to be replaced, NavyTimes, by Sam Fellman, dated 2 July 2011, accessed 27 December 2012
  58. U.S. Navy Uniform Board Update, accessed 19 August 2012
  59. Uniform Policy Update, NAVADMIN 174/16, CNO Washington DC, dated 4 August 2016, last accessed 11 September 2016
  60. 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
  61. Executive Order 11926--The Vice Presidential Service Badge, National Archives, Federal Register, dated 19 July 1976, last accessed 21 January 2013
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