Leaders have been hinting at it for over a year, and it’s finally here: If you’ve completed one of seven of the Army’s master gunner courses, there’s now a badge you can wear on your uniform to show it.
In a Jan. 8 directive, interim Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Raymond Horoho signed off on the badge, which can be worn by those with the appropriate Additional Skill Identifier.
A master gunner requires a “high level of technical competence and a detailed understanding of a projectile producing system that [aids] a command in planning, resourcing, training and executing a gunnery program designed to enhance the combat effectiveness and lethality of a maneuver force,” Horoho wrote in the memo.
Horoho’s signature is one step in a chain that will lead to the Army officially fielding the badge, Army G-1 spokesman Hank Minitrez told Army Times on Tuesday.
The badge proposal still needs to be staffed and signed off by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Army Secretary Mark Esper. There is no projected date for fielding as of now, Minitrez said.
The badge can be worn on the left side of the combat, uniform and dress mess uniforms, according to the directive.
To be eligible a soldier must have completed one of the following courses:
- Field Artillery Master Gunner Course.
- Master Gunnery-M1/M1A1 Tank Course.
- Infantry Fighting Vehicle Master Gunner Course.
- Avenger Master Gunner Course.
- M1A2 SEP Master Gunner Course.
- Stryker Master Gunner Course.
- Patriot Master Gunner Course.
Enlisted soldiers must have the A7, A8, J3, K7, K8, R8 or T4 ASIs in their records, while warrant officers require the H8. Additionally, the Master Gunner Badge must be awarded by the authority who puts on the qualification course.
The badge’s design pays tribute to the technical expertise its wearer provides to a commander, according to Training and Doctrine Command. The four crossed weapons in the center represent all five branches eligible for the award, and the laurel wreath represents “the victory of the Maneuver Force.”
Active Army, National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers are all eligible as long as they’re not under a suspension of favorable action, according to the directive.
And, if you’re retired or a veteran, you can put in a request to receive the badge retroactively. Full instructions, which are different based on year of discharge or death, are available online.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.