The Drill Sergeant Identification Badge is a military badge of the United States Army which was first issued on January 15, 1958. It is also nicknamed the "pumpkin" patch due to its appearance when worn in the non-subdued pin-on version and in the color sew-on version worn before insignia was subdued in the 1950's and 60's. The badge is presented to any NCO who has completed the Drill Sergeant Course at any U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School, and has been assigned as an active duty drill sergeant at a U.S. Army training command.
The drill sergeant identification badge is worn by all qualified drill sergeants. Each element of the badge has a specific meaning. It consists of 13 stars representing the original colonies. The torch, burning brightly, in the center symbolizes liberty. The snake is derived from the original ”Don’t Tread On Me” serpent on the Gadsden flag, a symbol of American independence during the 18th century. Together with the torch and breastplate, it indicated readiness to defend. The breastplate is a symbol of strength. The green background is a vestment worn under the breastplate. It's called a Jupon, which represents the new Army. The snake grasps, with his tail and teeth, a scroll inscribed “This We’ll Defend.” The inscription summarizes the meaning of all the symbols on the badge, depicting the determination, devotion, and constant readiness of the American Soldier.
The Drill Sergeant Identification Badge (nonsubdued) is worn on the lower right uniform pocket of the U.S. Army Class A uniform. On the Army Combat Uniform (ACU), the black subdued pin on version is worn centered on the ACU coat pocket. The badge is authorized for wear upon successful completion of the Drill Sergeant Course. During this tour of duty the Drill Sergeant badge is considered a temporary decoration pending successful completion of the tour as a drill sergeant. The award is authorized by the Commandant of the Drill Sergeant School, and the Drill Sergeant Identification Badge may be worn for the duration of a military member’s career. Any drill sergeant who is relieved of drill sergeant duties for cause may be required to surrender the badge and in this case would not eligible for any further display of the decoration.
The United States Air Force equivalent of the Drill Sergeant Identification Badge is known as the Air Education and Training Command Instructor Badge.
In addition the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps issues a Drill Instructor Ribbon. United States Coast Guard drill instructors, called Company Commanders, wear a gold badge for the remainder of their career.