Badges of the United States Air Force are military awards authorized by the United States Air Force that signify aeronautical ratings, special skills, career field qualifications, and serve as identification devices for personnel occupying certain assignments. The newest badge to be authorized for wear is the Cyberspace Operator Badge, first awarded to qualified officers on April 30, 2010 at Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, DC.
Most Air Force badges are awarded in three degrees or skill levels. Aeronautical rating badges for Pilots (including operators of remotely-piloted aircraft), Navigators/Combat Systems Officers/Observers, and Air Battle Managers are awarded at Basic, Senior, and Command levels; while flight nurses and flight surgeons are awarded ratings at the Basic, Senior, and Chief levels. All other aviation badges are awarded at the Basic, Senior, and Master levels. Occupational badges are normally issued in Basic, Senior, and Master level for officers. Enlisted occupational badges reflect skill levels: 3-level apprentice/5-level Journeyman (same badge), 7-level craftsman, and 9-level superintendent. A star and wreath system, worn above the Air Force badge, denotes which degree or skill level a service member currently holds.
Chaplain, aviation, space, and cyberspace operator badges are mandatory for wear on Air Force uniforms. Wear of all other badges is optional. Unless otherwise stated, the badges listed below are presented in order of precedence. Precedence of badges within the same category depends on the airman's current assignment.
The Air Force is the most restrictive service with regards to which Air Force badges may be worn on the uniforms by other branches of the US Armed Forces. Most Air Force badges may only be displayed on Air Force uniforms. The exception to this rule is the Space Badge and Cyberspace Operator Badge.
The Air Force previously authorized continued use of a number of aviation badges originally issued by the U.S. Army during World War II. Such badges are no longer authorized and are now categorized as obsolete badges.
- 1 Aviation Badges
- 2 Joint Service Qualification Badges
- 3 Occupational Badges
- 4 Duty Badges
- 5 Award Badges
- 6 See also
- 7 References
Aeronautical Rating Badges
Joint Service Qualification Badges
An Air Force Occupational Badge is a military badge of the United States Air Force which is awarded to those members of the Air Force community who are engaged in duties “other than flying”. The purpose of the Air Force Occupational Badge is to denote and recognize training, education and qualifications received in a particular career field and to provide recognition in an outwardly displayed badge.
The first Air Force Occupational Badges began appearing on Air Force uniforms in the late 1950s. Prior to this time, the only Air Force badges authorized were the Pilot’s Badge and other aeronautical rating badges such as the Navigator Badge and Flight Surgeon Badge.
Operations Career Group
The following Special Operations insignia are worn as flashes or crests on unique Air Force berets vs. the left breast of Air Force uniforms. Both the breast insignia and the following flashes/crests signify the same thing, an Air Force occupational specialty.
Logistics Career Group
Support Career Group
Special Investigations Career Group
Professional Career Group
Acquisition Career Group
Medical Career Group
- AFI36-2903: Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel; dated July 18, 2011; accessed August 21, 2011
- New Air Force cyberspace badge guidelines released, posted 27 Apr 10, accessed 16 Jan 12
- SMDC-OPZ-FB, ASPDO Procedural Guide #1 - Procedures for Awarding the Space Badge to Army Space Cadre Personnel, dated 15 Feb 11, accessed 16 Jan 12
- AFI11-402: Aviation and Parachutist Service, Aeronautical Ratings and Badges; dated December 13, 2010; accessed August 20, 2011
- First Air Force Dive Course Graduates 17 Airmen, U.S. Air Force Official Website, posted 16 March 2006, last accessed 13 April 2013
- Air Force Officials Release Uniform Board Results, Mountain Home Air Force Badge Website, posted 16 June 2009, last accessed 13 April 2013
- Airmen Vie for Slots in Army Air Assault Course, U.S. Air Force Official Website, posted 7 February 2011, last accessed 13 April 2013
- AFI36-2101: Classifying Military Personnel (Officer and Enlisted); dated June 14, 2010; accessed August 21, 2011
- Air Force Special Operations Command, Special Tactics Units; accessed August 21, 2011
- AFI34-143: Excellence-In-Competition (EIC), dated 21 Feb 12, last accessed 06 Jan 13
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