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Small Craft Insignia

The Small Craft Insignia (more commonly known as the Small Craft Pin) is a decoration of the United States Navy which was first created in the 1970s following the close of the Vietnam War. The intent in creating the Small Craft Pin was to give recognition to the specially trained naval personnel who comprised the inshore boat units and river assault commands.

The Small Craft Pin (commonly called the 'Coxswain Pin' or 'Boat Pin' by U.S. Navy Sailors) is issued in two grades for both officers and enlisted. The gold (officer) or silver (enlisted) metal pin consists of a small craft circumscribed by an anchor flukes on the sides and bottom and a three star pennant on top.

The three stars represent the three main areas of U.S. Navy Riverine operations in Vietnam; OPERATION GAME WARDEN, OPERATION MARKET TIME, and OPERATION SEALORDS.

To qualify for the Small Craft insignia, a service member must complete full qualifications at every watch station of a small craft. This normally includes positions as engineer, coxswain, gunner, and boat commander. Enlisted personnel must be the Petty Officer in Charge (POIC) of a small craft for six months before they qualify. Officers must hold the additional qualification of Watch Officer in order to be awarded the Small Craft Pin.

Sailors who have earned the silver pin while enlisted and later become commissioned officers are authorized to begin wearing the gold pin (this is the only enlisted device that is authorized to change color upon the wearer's commissioning without further qualification). Any officer who has earned the Surface Warfare insignia may automatically be awarded the gold Small Craft Pin upon joining a small boat command. The pin is also awarded, by default, to any officer given command of a unit which utilizes small boats, upon receipt of the Command Ashore Pin, regardless of previous qualifications. Some warrant officers who earn the pin while enlisted continue to wear the insignia as warrant officers.

The Small Craft Pin is authorized by local commanders and is not considered the same as a warfare qualification badge, such as the Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) insignia. The Small Craft Pin may also be retroactively awarded to the Second World War, upon request of the service member to the Department of the Navy.

The U.S. Navy maintains a similar pin, known as the Craftmaster Badge, intended for those qualified in the operation of non-combat support small craft such as tugs and barges.

See also[]


  • "Awards and Decorations Instruction", Naval Coastal Warfare group one

External links[]

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