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Reprise - Combat Badges

#1
Combat Badges have been referred to quite a bit, not least here : Afghan Bling Thread

I thought I could add to the discussion with some more info and my thoughts by comparing the origins of the US CIB and CAB with the German equivalents from WW2.

The US CIB had the following four tenets in mind; do they ring any bells? My bold.

(a) The need for large numbers of well-trained infantry to bring about a successful conclusion to the war and the already critical shortage of infantrymen.

(b) Of all soldiers, it was recognized that the infantryman continuously operated under the worst conditions and performed a mission which was not assigned to any other soldier or unit.

(c) The infantry, a small portion of the total Armed Forces, was suffering the most casualties while receiving the least public recognition.

(d) General Marshall's well known affinity for the ground forces soldier and, in particular, the infantryman. All these factors led to the establishment of the CIB, an award which would provide special recognition of the unique role of the Army infantryman, the only soldier whose daily mission is to close with and destroy the enemy and to seize and hold terrain. The badge was intended as an inducement for individuals to join the infantry while serving as a morale booster for infantrymen serving in every theater.
Requirements:

(1) A soldier must be an Army infantry or special forces Officer (SSI 11 or 18) in the grade of colonel or below, or an Army enlisted soldier or warrant officer with an infantry or special forces MOS, who subsequent to 6 December 1941 has satisfactorily performed duty while assigned or attached as a member of an infantry, ranger or special forces unit of brigade, regimental, or smaller size during any period such unit was engaged in active ground combat. Eligibility for special forces personnel (less the special forces medical sergeant) accrues from 20 December 1989. Retroactive awards for special forces personnel are not authorized.

(2) A recipient must be personally present and under hostile fire while serving in an assigned infantry or special forces primary duty, in a unit actively engaged in ground combat with the enemy. The unit in question can be of any size smaller than brigade. For example, personnel possessing an infantry MOS in a rifle squad of a cavalry platoon in a cavalry troop would be eligible for award of the CIB. Battle or campaign participation credit alone is not sufficient; the unit must have been in active ground combat with the enemy during the period.

(3) Personnel with other than an infantry or special forces MOS are not eligible, regardless of the circumstances. The infantry or special forces SSI or MOS does not necessarily have to be the soldier's primary specialty, as long as the soldier has been properly trained in infantry or special forces tactics, possesses the appropriate skill code, and is serving in that specialty when engaged in active ground combat as described above. Commanders are not authorized to make any exceptions to this policy.

(4) Awards will not be made to general officers nor to members of headquarters companies of units larger in size than brigade.
More Here

Combat Action Badge

In keeping with the spirit of the Warrior Ethos, the Combat Action Badge provides special recognition to Soldiers who personally engage the enemy, or are engaged by the enemy during combat operations. The bayonet and grenade are associated with active combat. The oak wreath symbolizes strength and loyalty.
Specific Eligibility Requirements:

a. May be awarded to any soldier.

b. Soldier must be performing assigned duties in an area where hostile fire pay or imminent danger pay is authorized.

c. Soldier must be personally present and actively engaging or being engaged by the enemy, and performing satisfactorily in accordance with the prescribed rules of engagement.

d. Soldier must not be assigned/attached to a unit that would qualify the soldier for the CIB/CMB.
My bold - being bombed, shelled, mortared doesn't cut it - the opportunity to take the battle to the enemy does.

More here

Wehrmacht Close Combat Clasp

Class I – Bronze, earned after 15 days of close combat, reduced to 10 days if the candidate had been wounded;

Class II – Silver, earned after 30 days of close combat, reduced to 20 days if the candidate had been wounded;

Class III – Gold, earned after 50 days of close combat, reduced to 40 days if the candidate had been wounded.
Only around 600 (depending on your source) wehrmacht soldiers were awarded the Gold clasp.

Administration

There are likely to be major complaints about these awards because of it being potentially divisive, but quite frankly so it should be. As far as cooks and bottle washers are concerned the CIB wouldn't be available because they are not infantry and the CAB would not be available because they wouldn't be returning fire. The CIB wouldn't go to an RLC driver but he could get the CAB where he was sharing the risks.

Personally I would like to see infantry soldiers rewarded for the unique role of the Army infantryman, the only soldier whose daily mission is to close with and destroy the enemy and to seize and hold terrain.

I see no objection to the RAC instigating a tank killing badge!
 
#2
Aussies have the ICB - Inf Combat Badge for Inf fellas who have been in combat, they also have the ACB for the rest of the army who have been there too.

Maybe the British Army could follow suit, personally I think it's a bit 'American' to have all these badges for doing, in effect, your job.

It really has gone a stage too far in Aus, where you get a Recruit Instructor Badge and a Military Instructor badge too, if you are in either role...
 
#3
Why do we need to big tme about it. I don't like this idea. We don't need more medals, badges and certificates. It's all very Cold War Russian Tank Commander.

You know yourself what you have done. If Chefs want to go on Myspace and tell women they're sticking it to the fuzzy wuzzys so be it.

I already have three badges I have to sew on my shirt... don't make it any worse!
 
#4
I know what I have done but dressed in combats just like the rest how else will my peers or superiors know? When I stand next to a bloke who stagged on with the rear party we both know what we did, but how can you tell us apart?

Personally I think that the badge system that died with the battle Dress should be brought back. We are a small enough army now to be able to have a decent barrack dress uniform where we can proudly display our hard earned badges
 
#6
BFT-Bandit said:
I know what I have done but dressed in combats just like the rest how else will my peers or superiors know? When I stand next to a bloke who stagged on with the rear party we both know what we did, but how can you tell us apart?

Personally I think that the badge system that died with the battle Dress should be brought back. We are a small enough army now to be able to have a decent barrack dress uniform where we can proudly display our hard earned badges
Why do you need them to know??? I'm proud of myself for some of the things I have done and I'm angry with myself for some things i didn't.

Its not going to make you famous and its not going to earn you anything other than the approval of walts.

As has been suggested on another thread, I don't think i deserve a badge for getting shot at. Why should I earn more for being stood behind a skip taking small arms when there was a chef hiding underneath a bit of canvas sweating her tets off recieving incoming IDF just so I could have some munch when I got back in.
 
#7
madtom said:
join the scouts they have plenty of badges
They also have beautifully smooth, hairless thighs.

Ditto on the penis front too.

We've enough bling and badges as it is. We're going to end up going down the American way of doing things. If you and your mates know what you went through that's good enough. Sod the civvies, they don't know a wound badge from a sherrif's badge.
 
#8
threaders_vm said:
madtom said:
join the scouts they have plenty of badges
They also have beautifully smooth, hairless thighs.

Ditto on the penis front too.

We've enough bling and badges as it is. We're going to end up going down the American way of doing things. If you and your mates know what you went through that's good enough. Sod the civvies, they don't know a wound badge from a sherrif's badge.
I'll drink to that. I suppose the next idea will be logging confirmed kills and recieving a bar on your medal for every 5 BRDM-2's you Destroy.
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
#10
Bad_Crow said:
Why do you need them to know??? ... .Its not going to make you famous and its not going to earn you anything other than the approval of walts
Fair enough, but if you extend that logic, why have ANY medals? After all YOU know that you were on Telic/Herrick/Banner/Whatever, why do you need to wear ribbons etc.?

Given the number of threads generated over the years by people quibbling over qualification rules for the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal and LSGC, I'm surprised that everybody seems to have come over all superior about recognising such a fundamental element of infantry soldiering. My view? Let's have a Combat Infantryman's Badge. There's a world of difference between getting IDF'ed whilst working shifts at the APOD on the one hand, and closing with and killing the enemy on the other.
 
#11
Bad_Crow said:
BFT-Bandit said:
I know what I have done but dressed in combats just like the rest how else will my peers or superiors know? When I stand next to a bloke who stagged on with the rear party we both know what we did, but how can you tell us apart?

Personally I think that the badge system that died with the battle Dress should be brought back. We are a small enough army now to be able to have a decent barrack dress uniform where we can proudly display our hard earned badges
Why do you need them to know??? I'm proud of myself for some of the things I have done and I'm angry with myself for some things i didn't.

Its not going to make you famous and its not going to earn you anything other than the approval of walts.

As has been suggested on another thread, I don't think i deserve a badge for getting shot at. Why should I earn more for being stood behind a skip taking small arms when there was a chef hiding underneath a bit of canvas sweating her tets off recieving incoming IDF just so I could have some munch when I got back in.

Good answer mate, it takes all various parts of the Army to win a contact. Why try and belittle a chef, or armskote storeman. Yes it takes guts to close in and kill the enemy, but at the end of the day, is that not your job?
Food, logistics etc are vitaly as important.
As for barrack dress, when in this day and age do you think you will have the time to wear it. My Bn scrapped it in 1986 as it was inpractical. Hard to put in a days training etc wearing barrack dress. More a bullshit factor than anything else. As for proudly displaying your badges, does your campaign medals not do that for you. Not something you can wear everyday of the week, but brings a sense of pride when you wear them.

ps I wonder if we reverted back to this badge system of yours how the SF guys would manage to get all these badges on there nice barrack dress :lol:
 
#12
Nige said:
It really has gone a stage too far in Aus, where you get a Recruit Instructor Badge and a Military Instructor badge too, if you are in either role...
Nige, having a badge you wear only when you are in a specific role, that allows people to spot the DS (really shouldn't be necessary in recruit training but may be helpful on career courses) isn't de facto a bad thing. It shouldn't be a permanent wear badge (and probably not worn on SD or 1s), though.

Like the old wearing of staff gorgets for officers in staff appointments (so you could spot the REMFs coming and hide, I suppose), perhaps?
 
#13
I would like to know what the criteria would be for such a badge, at the moment everyone makes a the asumption that it would be an Infantry only award, bt being a member of the Royal Regiment who very often finds its self plodding the streets I would be a little miffed at people along side me wearing a badge that I am unallowed to wear.

Also are we talking being in the area or actual combat experienced ? The reason I say is how do you measure combat ? If 2 soldiers are in a FOB one in the sagers exchanging tin the other in the CP do they both get the badge or only the rifleman, and where does that leave the mortors? Also willl we be picky with tours ? I haven't been to either Iraq or Afganistan. but I did do 4 tours in NI, will I qualify ? If you say no then how came I had more contacts on one tour whilst in Belfast for 4 months in 92 than a group of our lads who have just finshed 7 months in Basra ? Whos the bigger combat vet ?

I understand the sentiment, but the Chefs, Logies and Scalies are just as soft and vunrable to being turned into a crimson cloud as the next man (or woman)
 
#15
wellyhead,

The answer could be in the first post.

As correctly said before there is so much carping about LS&GCs and Jubillee medals that it would suggest an underlying feeling that service and speciality is no longer acknowledged.

If they are not important why do people insist on wearing wings and daggers - "its just a course", in the same way SNCOs in my experience are fiercely proud of their PSBC and SCBC badges and the little stars that go above them (... actually quite an impressive achievement!). In one of the units I worked in the top student on the JNCO cadre was allowed to wear a SNCO capbadge (yes, we have different ones for SNCOs). These little things do make a difference. Why have a sniper's badge? Why do you need to be acknowledged amongst your peers as a well-disciplined and highly trained battalion asset when you know you've done the course?

Yes, we wear CS95 a lot: probably too much; but that doesn't stop ATs, BDOs, ATOs, Tank Transporters and Divers showing their speciality.

I think a badge to acknowledge combat action approved by the Bde Comd is doable. It would acknowledge that soldiers from all parts of the Army are engaged in close combat - imagine the look on the face of a visiting general who has never heard a shot fired in anger to be faced by three cooks and a clerk wearing a combat action badge (not for being mortared) but for actually taking the fight to the enemy - after all the accounts of 3 PARA in Sangin would suggest that the cooks and bottlewashers were standing up tyo be counted, not to get a medal or a badge, but because it was the right thing to do, to fight alongside their mates. Soldiers don't fight for these mere baubles and trinkets (those that do would be found out quick sharp) but we should acknowledge it.

I am very impressed by how understated about it the Americans actually are. You can look at a US soldier in his ACUs and glean a lot of information about him and actually build up a rapport pretty quickly - how often do you see a supply officer with a CAB? That's worth a dit over a coffee and a smoke isn't it? I would like other people and look at my scraggly soldiers and make an assessment based on a greater analysis that "oh, look! another undernourished jock".

Oh and before we go down the 'we'll start to look like americans' gag, remember that they acknowledge their soldiers' service far better than we do, award a greater range of medals and awards for service to individuals and units than we do and teh understand that which we are trying to get our head around (as a nation) i.e., what the military covenant is.
 
#16
barbs,

You missed my point, not hard as I probably hid it well. I for one am not against badges. infact I'm all for them as it gives you an instant CV on your chest/arm I myself am a Signals Instructor and am fiercly proud of my crossed flags and wear them at every opputunity (yes I have a rank slde with them on) why ? Because it was a fecking hard course and I can.

My comment is more about how we select who is worthy of one, using the guidelines set down may be difficult to warrant, who would you gauge say 20 days of conflict ? 20 days of pinging rounds at each other or 20 days in an area where you are in danger of being shot at ? And how do you collate thet info. I'll give you an example, what if we are told that a badge in coming in for anyone who has served in a "Combat Role" for x amount of days and what if it was backdated to previous tours like NI, as I said I did 4 tours of which 3 were on the ground but how would I prove it ? All my record states was I was in the province, not what I did. Now you could say "were you in contact?" I would say yes but again how can you prove if an individual was on so and so patrol at so and so time when this happened, if you are lucky there might be a report with the team or multiple commanders name on it and thats about it. I just feel such an item could easily be abused. Perhaps I'm being selfish but I would be seriously narked if guys started turning up for parades wearing a guady new vets badge and I'm not allowed to play becuase the records aren't up to date (FFS a medal and one of my NI tours aren't even on my record)
 
#17
The Germans thought of this, too (I am surprised they don;t have a word for it):

Because the award was instituted so late in the war retroactive serviced was recognized as follows,

Eight Months of Service – five Combat days credit.
Twelve months of service – ten combat days credit.
Fifteen months of Service – fifteen combat days credit.
I know that may not be fair, but it probably is!

Who decides? The chain of command.
 
#18
barbs said:
remember that they acknowledge their soldiers' service far better than we do, award a greater range of medals and awards for service to individuals and units than we do and teh understand that which we are trying to get our head around (as a nation) i.e., what the military covenant is.
Absolutely. Hence the petition.
 
#19
Given that the Army took three years to give me my Telic medal and its record on pay is pretty patchy, I don't think we should introduce any more grit into the system.

If you think that a CI badge would be good for esprit de corps, imagine how bad it would be for morale to be denied your CI badge due to some admin clusterfcuk, while all around you are larging it. It strikes me as divisive and unnecessary.

On a separate note, one of the first kills by 4 RIFLES was by the company clerk. I'd be more tempted to award comat action badges to non-teeth arms.
 
#20
Nige said:
Aussies have the ICB - Inf Combat Badge for Inf fellas who have been in combat, they also have the ACB for the rest of the army who have been there too.

Maybe the British Army could follow suit, personally I think it's a bit 'American' to have all these badges for doing, in effect, your job.

It really has gone a stage too far in Aus, where you get a Recruit Instructor Badge and a Military Instructor badge too, if you are in either role...
So true. When training on the SIMNET in Fort Knox, Kentucky, I had the opportunity to chat with a few of my Septic counterparts.One young private (like 18 yo or so, had about 8 ribbons on his chest. Thinking he must have been a war-hero, I enquided as to their meaning. .He informed me that among them was his Pistol Qual ribbon, his machine gunner ribbon, etc.Not quite sure whether he was nails enough to have earned the Magazine Loading decoation (MLD) with clasp.... Utter Septic bollocks
 

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