Combat Badges for All branches, MOSs under fire — retroactive

Date Published: 09 May 2005

Combat Badges for All branches, MOSs under fire — retroactive

ArmyTimes reports the Army’s decision to award a combat badge to all soldiers who were actively engaged by or engaging the enemy since September 18th, 2001, when the Global War on Terror began. The award will be called the Combat Action Badge, and “may be awarded to any soldier — branch and military occupational specialty immaterial — performing assigned duties in an area where hostile fire pay and imminent danger pay is authorized, who is personally present and actively engaging or being engaged by the enemy,” according to a press release outlining the eligibility critera for the award.

Personally, I think it’s a good thing to recognize all soldiers who are in direct combat action with the enemy. I do think it’s important to distinguish between combat arms soldiers and others, too, but really in Iraq there was little difference much of the time. All kinds of MOS’s are out on what I consider the front lines there, which are the roads. Transportation Corps personnel probably are seeing more direct action than many IN/AR/EN soldiers simply because IEDs targeting convoys are one of the enemy’s primary tools. So it really is a difficult decision the Army is making here, and it will be impossible for them to make everybody happy. If they can recognize those soldiers who are seeing active combat while still keeping the Infanty happy, a big challenge, they will have succeeded.

On thing I’ve never understood is why the Infantry and medics were alone in getting combat badges, when other branches, in particular Armor but also any combat arms branch, are as much in the fight at the front lines as the Infantry are. It’s widely known that Field Artillery inflicts more casualties on the battlefield than any other (Army) weapon, yet they don’t receive a combat badge (or didn’t). And Armor are always a key part of any land war since WWII, usually fighting side by side with the infantry, but no badge for them, either. I’m happy to see the new badge rectify this discrepancy.

Steve Smith

About Ardalis

Software Architect

Steve is an experienced software architect and trainer, focusing on code quality and Domain-Driven Design with .NET.