The Parachutist Badge, also commonly referred to as "Jump Wings" or "Snow Cone", is a military badge of the United States Armed Forces which is awarded to members of the United States Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy. The United States Coast Guard is the only service which does not issue a Parachutist Badge, however Coast Guard members are entitled to receive the Parachutist Badge of another service, if the proper training was received.
The Army Parachutist Badge is awarded to all military personnel in any service who complete United States Army Airborne School, 3 weeks of training at Fort Benning, Georgia. It signifies that the soldier is a trained Army Parachutist, and is qualified to conduct airborne operations.
The original Army Parachutist Badge was designed in 1941 by Lieutenant General (then Major) William P. Yarborough and approved by the Department of the Army in March of that year. The Parachutist Badge replaced the Parachutist Patch which had previously worn as a large patch on the right side of a Paratrooper's garrison cap. The flash that is worn behind the badge is also a contribution of William P. Yarborough
The Army Parachutist Badge is issued in three degrees, being that of Basic, Senior, and Master Parachutist. The various degrees are signified by a star and wreath above the decoration. The current awards criteria are:
To be eligible for award of the basic Parachutist Badge, an individual must have satisfactorily completed the prescribed proficiency tests while assigned or attached to an airborne unit or the Airborne Department of the Infantry School, or have participated in at least one combat parachute jump as follows:
To be eligible for the Senior Parachutist Badge, an individual must have been rated excellent in character and efficiency and have met the following requirements:
To be eligible for the Master Parachutist Badge, an individual must have been rated excellent in character and efficiency and have met the following requirements:
Although not an official Parachutist rating, any soldier who completes an airborne jump into a combat zone can wear the Combat Parachutist Badge which is the standard Parachutist Badge upgraded to include service stars pinned on the decoration. In such cases, the Parachutist retains the title as Basic, Senior, or Master Parachutist but is said to possess the Combat Parachutist Badge. The maximum number of combat awards that may be shown on the Army Parachutist Badge is five. These service stars are commonly referred to as "Mustard Stains".
Army units with airborne status wear background trimming, an oval cloth insignia, underneath the parachutist badge. Each airborne unit has a unique design that often shares design with that unit's beret flash. The original flash was a contribution of William P. Yarborough
Training is accomplished by successful completion of the prescribed course of instruction while attending the:
The right to wear the Basic Parachute Insignia, which is a silver metal pin with an open parachute flanked on either side by wings that curve upward, is awarded to personnel who complete the prescribed training. MCO 3500.20B is the only current Naval doctrine dictating the minimum requirements for the Basic Airborne course of instruction.
When an enlisted member initially qualifies as a static-line parachutist, an entry shall be made on NAVPERS 1070/613 (commonly referred to as a "Page 13" entry) of the service record indicating the date of qualification, type(s) of aircraft in which qualified, and unit at which the training was received. Enlisted members are authorized the parachutist (PJ) designator added to their rating.
A qualified Static-Line Parachute Jumper who successfully completes the prescribed program of instruction while attending a formal, interservice training facility including a minimum of 10 military free-fall parachute jumps, at least 2 of which must have been conducted carrying full combat equipment (1 day/1 night), may qualify. Enlisted members are authorized the military free-fall parachutist (FPJ) designator added to their rating.
When an officer initially qualifies as a static-line parachutist, an entry will be made into the officer's record via their detailer (NAVPERS). An officer and qualified static-line parachute jumper will carry the additional qualification designator (AQD) of BT1. A free-fall parachute qualified officer will carry the AQD of BT2.
All military free-fall parachutists will meet the basic parachutist requirement as well as the additional five jumps required to wear the Naval Parachutist breast insignia. Therefore all military free-fall parachutists are Naval Parachutists.
For both the Static-Line and Military Free-Fall Parachutist Jumper qualified personnel, a service record entry shall also indicate whether or not the member is HALO-qualified.
The Basic Parachutist Badge is a prerequisite for the Special Warfare Badge since parachutist training is an integral part of the Navy’s Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) program. SEAL personnel generally do not wear the Basic badge once they earn their Special Warfare Badge, but will wear their Naval Jump Wings in addition to the "Budweiser." Navy EOD technicians are generally also jump qualified with a number of them also being qualified in military free-fall (HALO/HAHO). Currently, due to a recent change, newly pinned EOD techs are required to attend Airborne school upon graduation. As well, a small number of SWCC personnel earn Basic badges in conjunction with their assignment to a Special Boat Team detachment which uses the Maritime Craft Air Delivery System (MCADS), which enables them to drop small watercraft and their crews from C-130 aircraft.
The Navy and Marine Corps Parachutist Insignia (formally known as the Naval Parachutist Insignia) is a gold embroidered or gold metal winged pin with a gold open parachute in the center. Enlisted personnel and officers are authorized for those members who have previously qualified for the Basic Parachutist Insignia, and have, under competent orders, completed a minimum of five additional static-line or P3 jumps.
While all Marines can be awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Parachutist Badge, it in conjunction with the new rebreather, or old SCUBA "bubble" Diving Badge, are the two identifying badges of a Force Recon Marine. Force Recon Marine like their SEAL counterparts, are required to be jump and rebreather certified.
The Air Force Senior Parachutist Insignia consists of the standard Air Force Parachutist with a star atop the parachute.