Example of USMC Badges, from top to bottom: Scuba Diver Insignia, Navy and Marine Corps Parachutist Insignia, Marine Corps Annual Rifle Squad Combat Practice Competition Badge (Gold), Marine Corps Rifle Expert Badge (with multiple award clasp), and Marine Corps Pistol Expert Badge (with multiple award clasp).

Insignia and badges of the United States Marine Corps are military "badges" issued by the United States Department of the Navy to Marines who achieve certain qualifications and accomplishments while serving on both active and reserve duty in the United States Marine Corps.

As described in Chapters 4 and 5 of Marine Corps Uniform Regulations,[1] "badges" are categorized as breast insignia (worn immediately above ribbons/medals),[2] identification badges (usually worn at breast pocket level),[3] and marksmanship badges (worn immediately below ribbons).[4]

For the purpose of this article, the term "badge" shall be used exclusively to describe identification badges and marksmanship badges,[3] and the term "insignia" shall be used for other worn accoutrements,[5] according to the language in Marine Corps Uniform Regulations.

The modern-day United States Marine Corps currently maintains the following breast insignia and identification badges:

Breast Insignia

As per Marine Corps Assignment, Classification and Travel Systems Manual (ACTS MANUAL) MCO P1000.6,[6] Marines wear the appropriate breast insignia for qualification or designation in aviation, parachutist, explosive ordnance disposal, and diving.[7]

Authorized breast insignia are worn on the left breast of all service and dress coats. They may optionally be worn on khaki shirts when the shirt is the outermost garment, utility coats or maternity work uniform coats. Miniature versions exist for evening dress jackets.[8]

When worn alone, it is worn in the same position a single ribbon would be worn. When worn with ribbons, medals, or marksmanship badges, it is positioned 18 in (0.32 cm) above such awards. On combat utility uniform coats with slanted pockets, it is worn above a horizontal line tangent to the highest point of the pocket or "U.S. MARINES" service tape.[9]

No more than two USMC-approved breast insignia shall be worn at any one time. When two insignia are worn they are ordered from top to bottom in the following order with 18 in (0.32 cm) separation in between: diver, EOD, parachutist, aviation. A Marine with more than one insignia within the parachutist, EOD and diver groups may only wear the senior insignia of the group. Marines may wear two insignia from the aviation group.[8] If the Marine Special Operator Insignia is worn, no other insignia shall be worn.

Aviation Insignia

U.S. Marine Corps Aviation Insignia

Aviation Insignia are breast insignia that are issued to Marines who are qualified or designated to perform duties related to operation and support of Marine aircraft.

Officer insignia include the Naval Aviator insignia and Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Officer insignia for pilots and the Naval Flight Officer (NFO) insignia for non-piloting officers. There is also an astronaut version of the aviator and NFO Insignia, known as the Naval Astronaut and Naval Astronaut (NFO), respectively.

The Marine Aerial Navigator insignia is issued to enlisted personnel qualified to act as navigators aboard Marine aircraft; the Naval Aviation Observer insignia is issued to flight support personnel; and the Aircrew insignia and UAS Operator insignia are issued to enlisted personnel designated to operate equipment aboard aircraft.

Parachutist Insignia

Military Parachutist Insignia

Main article: Parachutists insignia

The Parachutist Insignia, also known as "lead sleds" or "lead wings", is awarded to personnel upon successful completion of the Basic Airborne Course at the Army Airborne School. The silver Basic Parachutist Insignia is issued for completion of basic parachutist training, five qualifying jumps. The gold Navy and Marine Corps Parachutist Insignia (first authorized for Marines in 1963 and Navy Parachute Riggers in 1941) are issued after five additional qualifying jumps. Graduation of US Navy Parachute Rigger school is no longer mandatory to earn the device.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Insignia

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Insignia

Main article: Explosive Ordnance Disposal insignia

The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Breast Insignia, also known as the "Crab", is awarded to personnel who have successfully completed training at the Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal (NAVSCOLEOD), Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. Personnel are trained to deal with the render-safe and disposal of conventional and unconventional munitions ranging from unserviceable small arms ammunition, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), to chemical/biological and nuclear munitions.

Diver Insignia

U.S. Marine Corps Diving Insignia

Main article: Uniform Service Diver Insignia (United States)

Diver Insignia are issued to personnel who are qualified divers and is given in several degrees. The first degree of diver insignia is SCUBA Diver. The remaining insignia are awarded for deep sea dive qualifications and are issued in the degrees of Second Class, First Class, and Master Diver.

Combatant diver insignia is issued to graduates of the Combatant Diver Course, who are typically in the recon community. This badge features a Dräger LAR-V rebreather and low-profile diving mask.[10]

Marine Special Operator Insignia

Marine Special Operator insignia

Main article: Marine Special Operator Insignia

In August 2016, the Marine Corps approved a new Marine Special Operator Insignia for wear by graduates of the five-phase Individual Training Course (ITC).[11]

The pin device will first be issued to the next ITC graduating class of critical skills operators. Critical skills operators and special operations officers already in the field will receive their pins later.[11]

Marksmanship Badges

U.S. Marine Corps marksmanship qualification badges

Main article: Marksmanship Badge (United States)

Marine Corps marksmanship qualification badges are suspended beneath a bar reading the type of weapon and qualification received. The badge is also different in appearance, depending on which weapon qualification has been obtained. For a marksmanship qualification badge to be obtained, a service member must obtain a passing score and will receive a qualification level depending on the score obtained. Once a qualification has been obtained, and the marksmanship badge issued, the badge may be worn for the remainder of a military career, or until a different level of qualification (higher or lower) is achieved.[4]

Examples of U.S. Marine Corps marksmanship competition badges (not inclusive)

In addition to the standard marksmanship badges, the Marine Corps has numerous marksmanship competition badges that are authorized for wear on the Marine Corps uniform as permanent awards. These badges are awarded alongside trophies that are present to the top-performing Marines at Marine Corps sponsored marksmanship competitions. The following marksmanship competition badges are authorized for wear on Marine Corps service uniforms and are listed in order of precedence:[4]

Identification Badges

Main article: Identification badges of the Uniform Services of the United States

Other accoutrements

See also


  1. ^ "MCO P1020.34, Marine Corps Uniform Regulations". United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 2009-10-08. Retrieved 2009-10-16.
  2. ^ "Uniform Regulations, Chapter 4, Paragraph 4002". United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 2 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-30.
  3. ^ a b "Uniform Regulations, Chapter 4, Paragraph 4007". United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 2 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-30.
  4. ^ a b c "Uniform Regulations, Chapter 5, Paragraph 5501". United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 2008-12-26. Retrieved 2008-09-30.
  5. ^ "Uniform Regulations, Chapter 4, Insignia and Regulations for Wear". United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 2 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  6. ^ "Assignment, Classification and Travel Systems Manual MCO P1000.6" (PDF). United States Marine Corps. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  7. ^ "Uniform Regulations, Chapter 4, Figure 4-4". United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 2009-03-04. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  8. ^ a b "Uniform Regulations, Chapter 4, Subparagraph 4002.3". United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 2 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  9. ^ "Uniform Regulations, Chapter 4, Figure 4-15". United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 2009-03-04. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  10. ^ USMC Uniform Regulations, January 21, 2009 Archived October 2, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ a b MARSOC TO RECEIVE NEW BREAST INSIGNIA; by OUSMCC, Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, marines.mil, dated 22 August 2016, last accessed 12 March 2017 Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.