The National Guard Bureau unveiled a new badge to celebrate the Guard’s 381st birthday this month.

Air Force Gen. Joseph Lengyel, chief of the bureau, revealed the National Guard Bureau Organizational Badge at the Pentagon last Wednesday.

Those assigned to the National Guard Bureau are authorized to wear it only while assigned there, regardless of duty location, according to a Defense Department news release.

Since personnel with the bureau are spread out, it’s not always clear that it’s one organization, so the badge will help “reinforce organizational identification.”

“The badge is not going to be permanently awarded,” Lt. Col. Jeff Larrabee, the bureau’s chief historian, said in the release. “As a temporary badge, it is equivalent to a joint command badge or an Air Force temporary duty badge.”

It’s designed to be worn on the dress uniform, but a lapel version will be available for civilian clothing, the release said.

The badge features the eagle insignia from the National Guard Bureau seal on top of two stars that represent the Army and Air National Guard. The year 1636, when the Guard was established, is inscribed on the top of the badge.

The images are encircled by 54 chain links representing each state, territory and the District of Columbia that are part of the Guard.

The design recognizes the bureau’s “headquarters-like element,” Larrabee said.

The idea for the badge was first proposed in 1949, two years after the Air Force became a separate service. This established the National Guard as a joint organization, the release said.

“The purpose of a badge, like all heraldry, is to create a sense of organizational identity and to foster esprit de corps and pride in the organization,” Larabee said.

Charlsy is a Reporter and Engagement Manager for Military Times. Email her at

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