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Special Warfare Insignia
US Navy SEALs insignia.png
Type Single-grade badge
Eligibility United States Navy SEALs
Awarded for Completing Basic Underwater Demolitions/SEAL training and SEAL Qualification Training
Established 1970
First awarded Vietnam War

Speciality mark for Special Warfare Operator (SO)

The Special Warfare insignia, also known as the “SEAL Trident” or its more popular nickname, "The Budweiser" is earned after completion of BUD/S and SQT, is one of the most recognizable military badges of the United States Navy.


Established on 16 October 1970,[1] the insignia recognizes those service members who have completed the Navy’s Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training, completed SEAL Qualification Training and have been designated as U.S. Navy SEALs.

The Special Warfare insignia was initially issued in two grades, being a gold badge for officers and silver for enlisted. In the 1970s, the Silver SEAL badge was abolished and the Special Warfare Badge was issued thereafter in a single grade. The SEAL badge is therefore unique in the Navy in that it is one of the few badges issued in a single grade for both officers and enlisted personnel. This is partly due to the combined training that both officers and enlisted receive, side by side, when involved in BUD/S training.

The Special Warfare insignia consists of a golden eagle clutching a U.S. Navy anchor, trident, and flintlock style pistol. The decoration is considered a "successor badge" to the obsolete Underwater Demolition Badge.

The Trident is one of the few warfare specialty pins that is the same for officers and enlisted. It symbolizes that Navy SEALs are brothers in arms - that they train together and fight together. There are four parts to the Trident. Each one symbolizes an important facet of the warfare community.

1) The anchor symbolizes the Navy, the parent service, the premier force for power projection on the planet and the guarantor of world peace. However, it is an old anchor, which reminds the SEAL's that their roots lie in the valiant accomplishments of the Naval Combat Demolition Unit and Underwater Demolition Teams.

2) The trident, the scepter of Neptune, or Poseidon, king of the oceans, symbolizes a SEAL's connection to the sea. The ocean is the hardest element for any warrior to operate in - it is the one in which SEALs find themselves the most comfortable.

3) The pistol represents the SEAL's capabilities on land - whether direct action or special reconnaissance. If you look closely, it is cocked and ready to fire and should serve as a constant reminder that SEALs must be ready at all times. 4) The eagle, the nation's emblem of freedom, symbolizes the SEAL's ability to swiftly insert from the air. It reminds them that they fly higher in standards than any other force. Normally, the eagle is placed on military decorations with its head held high. On the SEAL insignia, the eagle's head is lowered to remind each of us that humility is the true measure of a warrior's strength.

Designator and title

An enlisted sailor who qualifies for the Special Warfare insignia is authorized to place the designator (SEAL) after his rating. At the end of 2006, all sailors having completed SEAL training and still serving in Naval Special Warfare had their ratings reclassified to Special Warfare Operator (SO), with a new rating badge. Previously there were more than 20 ratings which SEAL operators could have.

See also


  1. Cummings, Dennis J. The Men Behind the Trident: SEAL Team One in Vietnam. Naval Institute Press, 1997, p. 16.


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