New Combat Badges to Be Ready Soon

By Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Army's new Combat Action Badge, which honors any soldier who sees combat during the global war on terrorism, is expected to be available by late summer or early fall, according to Army officials.

The design of the badge, which was approved by Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, Army chief of staff, features a bayonet and a grenade.

The badge specifically honors any soldier, regardless of occupational specialty, who engages an enemy or is engaged by an enemy on the battlefield. The Army wanted broad-based criteria for such a badge because of the shifting nature of what it means to be on the front lines of insurgent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The older Combat Infantryman Badge is awarded only to members of infantry units.

Army officials said the badge will provide an opportunity to honor soldiers who are not traditionally in combat -- truck drivers, for example -- but who come under attack or fight off insurgents while performing their missions. The Army announced the creation of the badge earlier this month.

The badge is retroactive to Sept. 18, 2001, when President Bush authorized the war on terrorism. Army officials believe the badge could go to tens of thousands of soldiers who otherwise would not have been eligible for a combat award.

Soldiers who earn the badge will wear it above the left pocket of their dress uniforms.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company