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Army Officers and marksmanship badges...


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#1 DutchInfid3l

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 10:00 PM

I had a question regarding officers and their seemingly not wearing any marksmanship badges on their service greens.
Is is some unwritten rule that they don't?
For example...it's an unwritten rule in the AF that unless you were prior enlisted, officers don't wear their ribbons on their blues shirts. Jackets, yes... not the shirt.
I had been looking through some google images and I can't find an officer wearing their marksman badges.



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#2 willysmb44

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 11:10 PM

Nope, it's never done, although the regs clearly call for it, including graphics for marksmen badges on officer uniforms. I could never find anyone to explain to me why. The only officer I ever saw with on was a Florida National Guard Major who presented me with an award when I was still a ROTC cadet. If you need it badly, I know where the photo is and could scan it. But other than him, I never saw anyone do it.
As a college Army ROTC cadet, we wore them, but heck, we desperately wanted to show our skills off at that stage, so we wore anything we'd earned! But even when we all pinned our "gold bars of obedience" nobody ever wore them again. I don't recall anyone ever saying not to do it, but you picked up on it pretty quickly by seeing others in their class As.
I served active duty in a mech brigade, worked with Rangers, SF, 101st AB, and various reserve units as well. We didn't break out the Class As all that much but I wore my blues an awful lot. In all that time, never saw one worn by any officer except that REMF O-4 back in Florida...
That bugged me because once I pinned on, I never shot below an expert level. I bought the sta-bright badge because I'd earned it, but they went into a box with all the other stuff I never used...

Edited by willysmb44, 21 April 2010 - 11:18 PM.


#3 DutchInfid3l

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 12:18 AM

Nope, it's never done, although the regs clearly call for it, including graphics for marksmen badges on officer uniforms. I could never find anyone to explain to me why. The only officer I ever saw with on was a Florida National Guard Major who presented me with an award when I was still a ROTC cadet. If you need it badly, I know where the photo is and could scan it. But other than him, I never saw anyone do it.
As a college Army ROTC cadet, we wore them, but heck, we desperately wanted to show our skills off at that stage, so we wore anything we'd earned! But even when we all pinned our "gold bars of obedience" nobody ever wore them again. I don't recall anyone ever saying not to do it, but you picked up on it pretty quickly by seeing others in their class As.
I served active duty in a mech brigade, worked with Rangers, SF, 101st AB, and various reserve units as well. We didn't break out the Class As all that much but I wore my blues an awful lot. In all that time, never saw one worn by any officer except that REMF O-4 back in Florida...
That bugged me because once I pinned on, I never shot below an expert level. I bought the sta-bright badge because I'd earned it, but they went into a box with all the other stuff I never used...


Nah, I don't need a photo of it, it was merely an observation. Thanks for your reply!
I wonder if there are any other unwritten rules about other things, or from other services for that matter!

#4 KurtA

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 07:53 AM

It is an “unwritten rule”, but it is certainly done. I was in the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood back in the 1980’s. ALL officers of the division were instructed by the Assistant Division Commander to wear marksman badges. (And we did.)
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#5 gwb123

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 07:43 PM

It is an “unwritten rule”, but it is certainly done. I was in the 2nd Armored Division at Fort Hood back in the 1980’s. ALL officers of the division were instructed by the Assistant Division Commander to wear marksman badges. (And we did.)
Kurt



I'm guessing that was a local policy due to some quirk of the Assistant Division Commander. I wasn't being done at Fort Hood in the late 1970's nor in Europe in the early 1980's.

I once heard an explanation that while officers were expected to qualify with their weapons, in practice they did not maintain the proficiency with them that was expected of the troops. I was in the Army when medals were few and far in between, and I would have been happy to of had something extra to wear!

#6 hawkdriver

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 08:30 PM

It is unwritten that we don't wear them. All officers are expected to qualify with their assigned weapons. If an officer qualifies expert and wears that badge, then he is portraying himself superior to his subordinates and you never want to nanny-nanny-booboo your troops. If you qualify Marksman, then you are presenting yourself as inferior to your troops and you never want to be the nanny-nanny-booboo to your troops. Best not to display your superiority or inferiority. At least, that is the way it was explained to me by an infantry officer when I was a cadet.
I recently qualified as expert on the M9 pistol, M-16, M-249, M-240, and Sharpshooter on the M2 .50. How would my troops take that if I had the qualification ladder on my uniform when they couldn't make that level. I would never wear the medals, now, on my 2-1, that is another story, I have no problem competing against my fellow officers.

#7 willysmb44

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 10:16 PM

I wonder if there are any other unwritten rules about other things, or from other services for that matter!

I’d have to go back and check the regulations, but as I always understood it, the Airborne wings are traditionally worn above the Air Assault wings, although most people who earned the latter of the two will tell you they’re tougher to earn. But supposedly, neither is of a higher “value” than the other. But with only one exception, I’ve never seen the Air Assault wings worn above the Airborne ones. The one case was a Major I served under, was a Battalion staff guy. At AA school, his Blackhawk crashed while they were repelling from it. He told me that since he came so close to death earning the Assault wings, he valued them more. I pulled a JRTC rotation with the 101st back in 2000, but I don’t recall seeing anyone with both of the wings, everyone I worked alongside had Assault wings only.
I have been told that the SF tab is higher in importance to the Ranger one and I’d think anyone who earned both would value the SF more anyway due to it being so much harder to earn (according to the people I knew who’d earned both). I’m not sure about the “President’s 100” tab, which is extremely rare (only ever met two people who’d earned one). I once saw someone with the tower of power and had all three, the President 100, SF and Ranger tabs, and they were in that order. They also went from widest to most narrow and I’d think in descending order of rarity. But I can’t remember ever reading anything that said which was the highest rated.

I was in the Army when medals were few and far in between, and I would have been happy to of had something extra to wear!

I hear ya there! I was in prior to 9/11 and medals were pretty uncommon then. I did something once I heard later I was put in for a reasonably high up medal, but a O-5 killed that, saying that as a new O-1, I shouldn't start my career out with something like that. I never really wanted medals much anyway but I was pretty ticked to find I was denied one only because some knucklehead thought it wouldn't "look right" when he didn't have one himself!

#8 KurtA

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 03:16 AM

I'm guessing that was a local policy due to some quirk of the Assistant Division Commander. I wasn't being done at Fort Hood in the late 1970's nor in Europe in the early 1980's.

I once heard an explanation that while officers were expected to qualify with their weapons, in practice they did not maintain the proficiency with them that was expected of the troops. I was in the Army when medals were few and far in between, and I would have been happy to of had something extra to wear!

Gil-
Yes, it was only due to our ADC, Brig General John “Doc” Bahnsen insisting that we wear them. He was one totally hard charging, hard core guy. He was in the 11th Armored Cav in Vietnam and was their Air Cav Troop Commander. Was awarded a DSC, 5 Silver Stars, 3 DFC’s and 51 Air Medals in Vietnam.
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#9 101CH47

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 03:45 AM

I did something once I heard later I was put in for a reasonably high up medal, but a O-5 killed that, saying that as a new O-1, I shouldn't start my career out with something like that. I never really wanted medals much anyway but I was pretty ticked to find I was denied one only because some knucklehead thought it wouldn't "look right" when he didn't have one himself!



I had a similar thing happen to me years ago, 1980s. I was put in for a Army Commendation Medal but it was bumped down to an Army Achievement Medal because I did not have the any other awards being a fairly new 2LT. Fairly standard practice at the time.

#10 BEAST

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 04:03 AM

During the 1980s, I never saw combat arms officers wear their bolo badges, but it was not unusual to see JAG officers and other non-combat arms types wear theirs. Made me glad I was Infantry as it was always a pain trying to line up those badges on your pocket. Just one less piece of jewelry to mess with!

#11 12A54

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 11:26 AM

When I was a 2LT/1LT, my Platoon Sergeant "made" me wear my marksmanship badge whenever we wore Class A's (which was fairly rare). He believed that by an officer not wearing it, the message sent to their Soldiers is that it isn't important. Interesting perspective from a great NCO. Also - I always wore my jump wings above air assault, but knew lots of guys in/from the 101st who would wear the air assault on top.

#12 bobgee

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 11:46 AM

I know that this thread is about Army officers and Marksmanship badges but in view of the comments made about "why" I feel a need to chime in about the USMC.

In the Corps, every Marine is a rifleman first, regardless of any other MOS. That's why every Marine proudly wears their rifle/pistol qual badges, from the lowliest Pvt. to the Commandant and weapons requal is expected of every Marine on an annual basis. :packin heat:
Semper Fi------Bobgee

#13 F50lrrp

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 12:18 PM

I served with an officer that wore both of his weapons qualification medals! Colonel Sydney Hines was a distinguished master with both rifle and pistol. He was also SF and President's 100.

#14 ehrentitle

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 02:21 PM

The only place I wore my bolo badge was in the Berlin Brigade. Their policy was that you qualified expert on your assigned weapon, or stayed on the range until your fingers bled from firing until you did. Here is a photo of me wearing it on the right side of the pocket with the parachute badge on the left:

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#15 Sal

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 06:04 PM

It is unwritten that we don't wear them. All officers are expected to qualify with their assigned weapons. If an officer qualifies expert and wears that badge, then he is portraying himself superior to his subordinates and you never want to nanny-nanny-booboo your troops. If you qualify Marksman, then you are presenting yourself as inferior to your troops and you never want to be the nanny-nanny-booboo to your troops. Best not to display your superiority or inferiority. At least, that is the way it was explained to me by an infantry officer when I was a cadet.
I recently qualified as expert on the M9 pistol, M-16, M-249, M-240, and Sharpshooter on the M2 .50. How would my troops take that if I had the qualification ladder on my uniform when they couldn't make that level. I would never wear the medals, now, on my 2-1, that is another story, I have no problem competing against my fellow officers.

Agree completely. As a young LT it was instilled in us that we were expected to qualify expert and, as stated above, didn't need to be advertised, it's just the way it was. The standard was expected to be exceeded so there was no need to advertise that you were anything less than expert in everything. Your troopers assume it by the nature of your rank and to show anything less was a morale buster....according to my troop and squadron commanders in 2ACR.

Also, ALWAYS saw 101st with AA badge above paratrooper wings when they were a double bubble. ANd when I was in the 82d....it goes without saying what was on top...

#16 Dirty175

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 08:57 PM

Here's a picture of COL Bob Howard wearing a marksmanship badge. Obviously nobody is going the man. On a separate note, AR 670-1 does not prohibit the wearing of marksmanship badges by officers.

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#17 Pogranichnik92

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 02:08 PM

The only physical example I have seen is a uniform in my collection, to a 1st Lt. from the 47th ID. Despite his rank, the only two awards the guy had was an Expert Marksman Badge and American Defense Ribbon, both of which luckily already came on the uniform when the man himself gave it to me.



#18 willysmb44

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 02:21 PM

On a separate note, AR 670-1 does not prohibit the wearing of marksmanship badges by officers.

 

 

Nobody is disagreeing there, the regs even show an officer's class A jacket laid out with one in place.

Just one of those 'unwritten rule' things.

Another I noticed was in the few cases when someone earned a set of foreign jump wings, they were never to wear them if they didn't have the US jump wings (it was more common than you might think). That never made sense to me either as the regs didn't seem to prohibit that, either.



#19 VolunteerArmoury

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 11:34 AM

There's always an exception which often is a needle in the stack but in this case it's a handful of needles in the haystack. Regs sometimes seem to be a "recommendation" to some folks rather than regulations. At once time it was uncommon for officers who qualified to not wear them but that's to refer to an earlier time than you're asking about I've seen many photos of officers up till the 1940s wearing their marksmanship badges. I have seen them worn by officers while I was in the 90s & 2000s but not often & generally thought of someone wanting stuff on their uniform. As for wings, most often than not during my career I saw jump wings over Air Assault but did see some exceptions. The reg is that they're categorized together along with Pathfinder, HALO, Space Ops, & seems the metal tabs were in there too. I don't think the reg states in that group is higher than the others we just gave them a preference. I seem to recall seeing one guy wearing Pathfinder over his Air Assault but never saw anyone wear it above jump wings, nor HALO nor recall seeing anyone wear HALO under Air Assault. Saw plenty wear jump wings & HALO which I didn't understand why wear both. Kinda like Rigger wings (different category) but why wear Rigger & jump wings since unless I don't know correctly all riggers are to be jump qualed. One last exception was while I was at PLDC at Ft. Jackson in 1999 or 2000, another student had Canadian jump wings on his Class As when we had to be inspected in the, but no US wings just an EIB.

Edited by VolunteerArmoury, 25 April 2014 - 11:35 AM.


#20 Baron3-6

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 12:06 PM

I’d have to go back and check the regulations, but as I always understood it, the Airborne wings are traditionally worn above the Air Assault wings, although most people who earned the latter of the two will tell you they’re tougher to earn.

 

At the 101st wearing of AASLT over Airborne is quite common....not required, but probably 50/50 split. Many guys who are career 101 guys continue to wear them this way - especially if they have the eagle on their right arm to match. I have mine sewn on traditionally, mostly because I don't want hassle with swapping them at the next installation.



#21 willysmb44

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Posted 25 April 2014 - 01:54 PM

Everyone I ever talked with who'd earned both jump and air assault wings said that AA was by far the more difficult school to complete.

That said, I never saw anyone wearing 'dope on a rope' wings above the jump wings.

But I bet around 101st folks, that was pretty common. I only ever worked with them once, on a horrible JRTC rotation when i was as sick as I've ever been, so my memory is hazy on who was wearing what wings, the majority of people I recall seeing only had AA wings anyway...



#22 rdjmchris

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 11:12 AM

There's always an exception which often is a needle in the stack but in this case it's a handful of needles in the haystack. Regs sometimes seem to be a "recommendation" to some folks rather than regulations. At once time it was uncommon for officers who qualified to not wear them but that's to refer to an earlier time than you're asking about I've seen many photos of officers up till the 1940s wearing their marksmanship badges. I have seen them worn by officers while I was in the 90s & 2000s but not often & generally thought of someone wanting stuff on their uniform. As for wings, most often than not during my career I saw jump wings over Air Assault but did see some exceptions. The reg is that they're categorized together along with Pathfinder, HALO, Space Ops, & seems the metal tabs were in there too. I don't think the reg states in that group is higher than the others we just gave them a preference. I seem to recall seeing one guy wearing Pathfinder over his Air Assault but never saw anyone wear it above jump wings, nor HALO nor recall seeing anyone wear HALO under Air Assault. Saw plenty wear jump wings & HALO which I didn't understand why wear both. Kinda like Rigger wings (different category) but why wear Rigger & jump wings since unless I don't know correctly all riggers are to be jump qualed. One last exception was while I was at PLDC at Ft. Jackson in 1999 or 2000, another student had Canadian jump wings on his Class As when we had to be inspected in the, but no US wings just an EIB.

 

 

 

 

Nobody is disagreeing there, the regs even show an officer's class A jacket laid out with one in place.

Just one of those 'unwritten rule' things.

Another I noticed was in the few cases when someone earned a set of foreign jump wings, they were never to wear them if they didn't have the US jump wings (it was more common than you might think). That never made sense to me either as the regs didn't seem to prohibit that, either.

Pulled up this thread while searching another topic.  As to wearing of foreign jump wings without having US wings, it is clearly a no-go according to AR 600-8-22.  This reg states Soldiers who are not airborne qualified by the US Army are not permitted to even attend foreign airborne training, much less accept and wear the wings.  FWIW any Super Duper Paratrooper that doesn't wear his US wings needs an adjustment to his/her head-space timing.

 

Also, HALO and jump wings are two different skill sets.  Why not wear both?



#23 willysmb44

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Posted 11 December 2014 - 11:34 AM

 

 

As to wearing of foreign jump wings without having US wings, it is clearly a no-go according to AR 600-8-22.  This reg states Soldiers who are not airborne qualified by the US Army are not permitted to even attend foreign airborne training, much less accept and wear the wings. 

 

I never went back and read the reg, I only knew from officers I'd served with who had foreign jumps wings but not the US ones, and how bitter they were that they couldn't wear 'em.

But as for them not being allowed to go to a foreign jump school, I knew several people who had other nation jump wings who never made it to Benning. Heck, one had Russian jump wings, awarded for some mass jump in the mid 90s. I never knew the specific details, but he wasn't a poser, he had the paperwork and a photo of him in formation being awarded them by a Russian airborne officer.

This was all in the pre-9/11 budget Army and you didn't get a jump school slot back then unless you were in a unit that required jump school or were enlisted and demanded it as part of retention for re-enlistment (I gave that idea to several soldiers who were looking for something 'cool' when pondering re-upping).



#24 Usa1918

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 08:20 AM

I once heard an explanation that while officers were expected to qualify with their weapons, in practice they did not maintain the proficiency with them that was expected of the troops. I was in the Army when medals were few and far in between, and I would have been happy to of had something extra to wear!

 

Exactly.  As a ROTC cadet we were expected to wear our Qualification badges, but while at my Officer Basic Course, we were told that it was allowed, but as officers we were expected to qualify with all our assigned weapons and that it was not encouraged to wear the badges

 

Keith
 



#25 Usa1918

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Posted 12 December 2014 - 08:27 AM

I’d have to go back and check the regulations, but as I always understood it, the Airborne wings are traditionally worn above the Air Assault wings, although most people who earned the latter of the two will tell you they’re tougher to earn. But supposedly, neither is of a higher “value” than the other. But with only one exception, I’ve never seen the Air Assault wings worn above the Airborne ones. The one case was a Major I served under, was a Battalion staff guy. At AA school, his Blackhawk crashed while they were repelling from it. He told me that since he came so close to death earning the Assault wings, he valued them more. I pulled a JRTC rotation with the 101st back in 2000, but I don’t recall seeing anyone with both of the wings, everyone I worked alongside had Assault wings only.
I have been told that the SF tab is higher in importance to the Ranger one and I’d think anyone who earned both would value the SF more anyway due to it being so much harder to earn (according to the people I knew who’d earned both). I’m not sure about the “President’s 100” tab, which is extremely rare (only ever met two people who’d earned one). I once saw someone with the tower of power and had all three, the President 100, SF and Ranger tabs, and they were in that order. They also went from widest to most narrow and I’d think in descending order of rarity. But I can’t remember ever reading anything that said which was the highest rated.I hear ya there! I was in prior to 9/11 and medals were pretty uncommon then. I did something once I heard later I was put in for a reasonably high up medal, but a O-5 killed that, saying that as a new O-1, I shouldn't start my career out with something like that. I never really wanted medals much anyway but I was pretty ticked to find I was denied one only because some knucklehead thought it wouldn't "look right" when he didn't have one himself!

 

And as a MSC officer, the CMB is usually valued more than either (much like the CIB is for the Infantry guys).  As far as medals...I ,too, was 9/11 prior and was turned down for a fairly high medal because "Officers don't get medals, they get good OERs"

 

Keith

 




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