The Parachutist Badge or Parachutist Brevet is a military badge awarded by the Armed Forces of most countries in the world to soldiers who receive the proper parachute training and accomplish the required number of jumps. It is difficult to assess which country was the first to introduce such award. During World War II most belligerent countries used such badges or awards.
The French military awards six Parachutists Brevets :
- Military Parachutist Trainee (French: Brevet de préparation militaire parachutiste (PMP)) — awarded for four daytime jumps. This course is offered to prospective recruits and reserve personnel.
- Military Parachuting Initiation (French: Brevet d'initiation au parachutisme militaire (BIPM)) — awarded for four daytime jumps. This course is offered to Air Force personnel.
- Military Parachutist (French: Brevet parachutiste militaire (BPM)) — awarded for six jumps, both daytime and nighttime.
- Parachutist Instructor (French: Brevet de moniteur parachutiste)
- HALO Parachutist (French: Brevet de chuteur opérationnel (SOCR)
- HALO Instructor (French: Brevet d'instructeur au saut en ouverture commandée retardée (INSOCR))
The parachutist badge of the Bundeswehr is awarded upon completion of the parachutist course conducted at the Airborne/Air mobile school at Altenstadt, Germany.
Allied forces who complete the requirements may also be awarded the German parachutist badge.
The badge is awarded in three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold.
The Polish Odznaka Spadochronowa was based on the previous award called the Odznaka Pilota Wojskowego, or Military Pilot Badge. It was first introduced by notable Polish sculptor Władysław Gruberski in 1919 and was accepted shortly afterwards as the sign of all the pilots of the Polish Air Forces. The badge featured an eagle with wide spread wings, holding a laurel wreath in his bill.
In 1941, after the creation of the UK-trained 1st Independent Parachute Brigade, a similar symbol was adopted as the sign of all Polish paras. It featured a diving silver eagle. The symbol was also adopted by the cichociemni and nowadays is used by all branches of the Polish Army. Also, the Polish special unit GROM adopted a modified version of the symbol as its emblem. It is commonly (though informally) referred to as gapa (diving Eagle).
The Silver Wings is awarded upon successful completion of the Basic Airborne Course conducted by the Parachute Training Wing, School of Commandos. First awarded to the pioneering graduating batch of 27 NSFs from Second Company, 1st Commando Battalion (1 Cdo Bn) of the Singapore Commandos Formation, it comprises a pair of outspread wings on both wigs of a deployed parachute, with the words "SINGAPURA" below the canopy. With the design sanctioned by 1 Cdo Bn's Commanding Officer, Tan Kim Peng Clarence, it is differentiated by a crimson velvet backing for Commandos, while those of the Commando Parachute Jump Instructors have a golden velvet backing. Non-Commandos wear the badge without any backing.
All Qualified military parachutists serving in the Royal Navy wear the Army pattern parachutist badge, a parachute with wings. In gold on blue on No 1 Uniform and (in miniature) on No 2 Uniform; in white on blue on RN PCS or light blue on khaki drill on MTP. The badge is worn above the trade badge and 6mm below the shoulder seam on right arm
The British Army has three parachute qualification badges for non Special Forces qualified soldiers:
- Assistant Parachute Jump Instructor;
- Parachute Badge with Wings (also used by the Royal Marines and Royal Navy), and
- Parachute Badge without Wings.
The United States Parachutist Badge (also commonly referred to as "Jump Wings") is a military badge of the United States Armed Forces which is awarded to members of the United States Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy.
After making five more jumps in a jump billet, members of the Navy and Marine Corps are authorized to wear the gold wings of Naval and Marine parachutists in lieu of their initial award of Army wings. There are three versions of the Army Parachutist Badge. The United States Coast Guard is the only service which does not issue a Parachutist Badge and does not have personnel serving on jump status; however, Coast Guard members are entitled to receive the Parachutist Badge of another service if the proper training was received. The badge is awarded to U.S. Armed Forces personnel upon completion of the United States Army Airborne School Basic Airborne Course or freefall (not HALO) parachute training at the United States Air Force Academy, regardless of branch or MOS. The USAFA course is open only to cadets and its training focuses on parachuting for aircrew members who must exit from an aircraft in an emergency. The training is not considered preparation for operational parachute units.
If awarded, Army parachutists who meet the qualifications and jump with a foreign service may also wear one set of foreign wings on their Class A uniform. According to AFI36-2903, page 139 (edition of 2 August 2006), Air Force personnel may wear foreign-awarded jump wings while stationed in the awarding country or attending an official or social function hosted by the awarding government, and if the recipient has already been awarded US jump wings.
The original Army Parachutist Badge was designed in 1941 by Lieutenant General (then Captain) William P. Yarborough and approved by the Department of the Army in March of that year. In addition to the Parachutist Badge, U.S. Army paratroopers wore a "paraglider" patch on the front left side (enlisted) or right side (officers) of the garrison cap. Until the late 1940s, glider units were also included within Airborne divisions, hence the parachute and glider on the cap. The garrison cap with the paraglider patch was replaced by the maroon beret. Troops of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), a former parachute unit, continued to wear the garrison cap with patch until the replacement of garrison caps by the black beret worn by all personnel not already wearing maroon (Airborne) or green (Special Forces). When the black beret was adopted Army-wide, Ranger units switched from black to tan.
In the Argentinian Army, personnel who complete the basic parachutist training receive a badge consisting of a silver winged parachute. A golden badge is awarded to personnel after a certain service time spent at a parachute unit, after a certain number of jumps and upon completion of at least two more parachute-related courses besides the basic one, such as rigger, jumpmaster, free-fall jump, etc. This system replaced the one existing until 1993, when officers wore the golden badge, NCOs the silver one and privates a smaller silver one. Navy, Air Force and Gendarmerie parachutists were similar badges to those of the Army.
The Ecuadorian Army has three parachute qualification badges:
- The Canadian Airborne Regiment is the most well known users of the Canadian Jump Wings from its formation in April 1968 to March 1995. Canadian Paratroopers with Canadian Jump Wings date back to the days of the 1st Special Service Force and 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion of World War II. Currently members of JTF2, foreign service members who complete the Canadian basic parachutist course will receive the jump wings, and after the disbandment of the Canadian Airborne Regiment in 1995, the Canadian army reverted to its former practice of maintaining a parachute company within one of the battalions of each of the regular infantry regiments. The soldiers, at that time, returned to their regimental "homes" and became a company of the light battalion of each of their regiments (the 3rd Battalion The Royal Canadian Regiment, the 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and the 3rd Battalion Royal 22e Régiment).
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