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I recently saw on TV an Army Officer wearing what appeared to be a Combat Infantryman's Badge.

As most know, this is awarded to Army Infantry personnel who see actual combat on the ground.
The badge is a long rectangle surrounded by a wreath, with a flint lock rifle in the center. The background is Infantry Blue.

What I saw was an Officer wearing what appeared to be a Combat Infantry Badge, but the background was RED.
????????

As a side note, I'm currently reading Chris Kyle's "American Gun: American History in Ten Guns".
Just finished the chapters on the Kentucky rifle and the Spencer carbine.
Excellent read so far, and none of the mistakes you usually see in this kind of book.

So far, I rate it with "American Rifle: A Biography" by Alexander Rose.
 

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There are several unofficial "combat badges" and the one you describe sounds like it may be the artillery version of the Combat Infantryman Badge. Its similar to the CIB, but has a red background and crossed cannon. There are also combat medics and combat engineers badges. These may be permitted, but are not official badges.

Bob Wright
 

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I believe anyone that qualified for the CIB below the rank of General Officer could wear one. There were unofficial badges for other branches of service that looked like the CIB but had something like a crossed cannon or such on it and a red background.
 

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These, among others, are fakes. The Army's Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB), the Combat Field Medical Badge (CFMB), the Combat Action Badge, and the Combat Parachutist Badge are the only approved combat insignia authorized to be worn over the left breast pocket on the Army uniform. There are exceptions for foreign decorations, such as Thai and Canadian parachutist wings and Republic of Vietnam Ranger insignia, that are authorized for wear above the right breast pocket of US Army uniforms.

As regards the "enameled badge of the unit on the right breast pocket in place of the right shoulder patch", this, too, is erroneous. The right breast pocket unit insignia denotes the Regiment of Affiliation, such as the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, the 7th Cavalry Regiment, the 3rd Infantry Regiment (Old Guard) or the Army Medical Corps, Signal Corps, etc. Units such as the Army's 1st Cavalry Division are not considered regiments and those badges are not authorized for wear above the right breast pocket on the Army uniform. The right shoulder patch is authorized for wear on Army uniforms during and after combat service with divisional, separate brigade and various other Army units, such as the 1st Cavalry Division, 173rd Infantry Brigade, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, etc.
 
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These, among others, are fakes. The Army's Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB), the Combat Field Medical Badge (CFMB), the Combat Action Badge, and the Combat Parachutist Badge are the only approved combat insignia authorized to be worn over the left breast pocket on the Army uniform. There are exceptions for foreign decorations, such as Thai and Canadian parachutist wings and Republic of Vietnam Ranger insignia, that are authorized for wear above the right breast pocket of US Army uniforms.

As regards the "enameled badge of the unit on the right breast pocket in place of the right shoulder patch", this, too, is erroneous. The right breast pocket unit insignia denotes the Regiment of Affiliation, such as the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, the 7th Cavalry Regiment, the 3rd Infantry Regiment (Old Guard) or the Army Medical Corps, Signal Corps, etc. Units such as the Army's 1st Cavalry Division are not considered regiments and those badges are not authorized for wear above the right breast pocket on the Army uniform. The right shoulder patch is authorized for wear on Army uniforms during and after combat service with divisional, separate brigade and various other Army units, such as the 1st Cavalry Division, 173rd Infantry Brigade, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, etc.
As I was told by an Army major, cloth patches are no longer worn on the blue uniform. And the former "right shoulder patch" is an enameled badge worn on the right breast pocket of the tunic. The major wore the 1st Cav badge, and a sergeatn wore the 3rd. Inf. Div, badge. This was at a banquet some months ago honoring those in the public school system who promoted enlistment in the military and as career guidance. My sister was one of those, she received a lifetime achievement award.

http://www.army.mil/asu/ (Open this and click on one of the male NCOs in blue Class A, then click on Combat service badge)

Your mention of the 3rd. Inf (The Old Guard) brought back memories. I served in Korea with the 3rd. Inf., attached to the 7th Inf. Division. Still have my old swagger stick somewhere, carried by all NCOs of the 3rd. Inf.

Bob Wright
 

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Going back to the initial query - the red enameled badge was an unofficial Korean War device for cannon cockers, as was the yellow one for tankers.

After that conflict, they were no longer worn, because they were an unauthorized badge.

The Korean War saw the first of the unauthorized badges being widely worn by those who had no other distinguishing device like the Infantry had - most were made in Japan and were worn on leave, and since there were better things to do, the MPs didn't harass the wearers at that time.

The Infantry Blue circular 'surrounds' that go behind the EM brass, the Infantry Blue Cord at the shoulder and the Combat Infantry Badge (and Expert Infantryman's Badge) are all distinguishing articles of uniform for the 11 Bulletstopper, and other guys resent that, just as the Legs resented the Paratrooper's exclusive wear of the Jump Boot in WWII, and the wear of the beret by elite forces in recent times.

Incidentally - if one has earned the EIB as well as the CIB - the EIB is no longer worn, but is indicated in the 201 File.
 
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