Graduates of the Army’s master gunner courses now have a badge to show it off, according to a service-wide message published on May 8.
The Master Gunner Identification Badge, which was first approved by the Army’s acting assistant secretary for manpower and reserve affairs in January 2018, will now be awarded to graduates of the seven schools, and is retroactive to October 1975, according to Milper message 19-144.
The badge represents 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,” Assistant Secretary Raymond Horoho wrote in last year’s directive.
Graduates of the following ― put on by the U.S. Army Field Artillery, Armor, Air Defense Artillery or Infantry schools, or the Aviation Center of Excellence ― can pin one on to the left side of their combat, service and dress/dress mess uniforms:
- 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 additional skill qualifiers, while warrant officers require the H8.
“Division Commanders may approve awards of the MGIB up to six months from the release date of this message,” according to the Milper message. “After that, all retroactive requests for current members must be submitted though the commandant of the corresponding school.”
The badge itself is still in the works, Maneuver Center of Excellence spokesman Ben Garrett confirmed to Army Times on Wednesday. The infantry school is the proponent for the badge, according to the Milper message.
Once prototypes are finalized, it’ll take about 60 days to get the decorations into clothing and sales stores. The earliest target date for that is Aug. 15, Garrett said.
The badges will also be in the Defense Logistics Agency System’s supply chain, but assigning it a stock number and building up an inventory can take about a year, so that process will finish no earlier than August 2020.
To request a retroactive award, soldiers must submit a packet through the commandant of the corresponding school, and include a DA Form 4187 with the course name, class number and graduation date, as well as copies of the graduation certificate, order for the ASI, a copy of their student training record and their Soldier’s Record Brief.
Veterans can submit their requests to the Human Resources Command awards and decorations branch.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.