Parachutist Badge
The Parachutist Badge or Parachutist Brevet is a military badge awarded by the Armed Forces of most countries in the world to soldiers who receive the proper parachute
A parachute is a device used to slow the motion of an object through an atmosphere by creating drag, or in the case of ram-air parachutes, aerodynamic lift. Parachutes are usually made out of light, strong cloth, originally silk, now most commonly nylon...

 training and accomplish the required number of jumps. It is difficult to assess which country was the first to introduce such award. During World War II most belligerent countries used such badges or awards.


The French military awards seven Parachutists Brevets :
  • Military Parachutist Trainee (French
    French language
    French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

    : Brevet de préparation militaire parachutiste (PMP))—awarded for four daytime jumps.
  • Military Parachutist (French: Brevet parachutiste militaire (BPM))—awarded for six jumps, both daytime and nighttime.
  • Military Parachutist Instructor (French: Brevet d'instruction parachutiste militaire (BIPM))
  • Military Parachutist Monitor (Officer) (French: Brevet de moniteur parachutiste)
  • Military HALO Jump Parachutist (French: Brevet de chuteur opérationnel (SOCR)
  • Military HALO Jump Parachutist Instructor (French: Brevet d'instructeur au saut en ouverture commandée retardée (INSOCR))
  • Military Tandem Parachutist (French: Brevet de pilote tandem)


The Polish Odznaka Spadochronowa was based on the previous award called the Odznaka Pilota Wojskowego, or Military Pilot Badge. It was first introduced by notable Polish sculptor Władysław Gruberski in 1919 and was accepted shortly afterwards as the sign of all the pilots of the Polish Air Forces. The badge featured an eagle with wide spread wings, holding a laurel wreath in his bill.

In 1941, after the creation of the UK-trained 1st Independent Parachute Brigade
Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade
The 1st Independent Parachute Brigade was a parachute brigade under command of Maj.Gen. Stanisław Sosabowski, created in Scotland in September 1941, with the exclusive mission to drop into occupied Poland in order to help liberate the country. The British government, however, pressured the Polish...

, a similar symbol was adopted as the sign of all Polish paras. It featured a diving silver eagle. The symbol was also adopted by the cichociemni
Cichociemni were elite special-operations paratroops of the Polish Home Army of the Polish Army in exile, created in Great Britain during World War II to operate in occupied Poland.-The name:...

 and nowadays is used by all branches of the Polish Army. Also, the Polish special unit GROM
GROM is one of five special forces units of the Polish Armed Forces. It was officially activated on July 8, 1990...

 adopted a modified version of the symbol as its emblem. It is commonly (though informally) referred to as gapa (diving Eagle).


The Silver Wings is awarded upon successful completion of the Basic Airborne Course conducted by the Parachute Training Wing
Parachute Training Wing
The Parachute Training Wing is one of two training wings in the School of Commandos of the Singapore Armed Forces in Singapore specialising in airborne courses for the Commando Formation...

, School of Commandos
School of Commandos
The School of Commandos is part of an army unit in the Singapore Armed Forces. It was established in 1967. The school moved to Changi Camp in 1971 and was renamed 1st Commando Battalion.-External links:*...

. First awarded to the pioneering graduating batch of 27 NSFs from Second Company, 1st Commando Battalion (1 Cdo Bn) of the Singapore Commandos Formation, it comprises a pair of outspread wings on both wigs of a deployed parachute, with the words "SINGAPURA" below the canopy. With the design sanctioned by 1 Cdo Bn's Commanding Officer, Tan Kim Peng Clarence
Tan Kim Peng Clarence
Lieutenant Colonel Tan Kim Peng Clarence is a retired officer of the Singapore Armed Forces. He is mostly associated with his work in building up the Singapore Armed Forces Commando Formation during its infancy and early years.-Military career:...

, it is differentiated by a crimson
Crimson is a strong, bright, deep red color. It is originally the color of the dye produced from a scale insect, Kermes vermilio, but the name is now also used as a generic term for those slightly bluish-red colors that are between red and rose; besides crimson itself, these colors include...

Velvet is a type of woven tufted fabric in which the cut threads are evenly distributed,with a short dense pile, giving it a distinctive feel.The word 'velvety' is used as an adjective to mean -"smooth like velvet".-Composition:...

 backing for Commandos, while those of the Commando Parachute Jump Instructors have a golden velvet backing. Non-Commandos wear the badge without any backing.


The British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 has three parachute qualification badges for non SF qualified soldiers:
  • Assistant Parachute Jump Instructor;
  • Parachute Badge with Wings, and
  • Parachute Badge without Wings.

The Parachute Badge with Wings insignia is only to be worn by a qualified parachutist who has subsequently been on the posted strength of a unit where he may be ordered in the course of his duties to parachute. Those who do not serve with a parachute unit are permitted to wear the Parachute Badge without Wings, colloquially known as the 'Lightbulb'

Special Forces

The parachutists badges for personnel of the SAS
Special Air Service
Special Air Service or SAS is a corps of the British Army constituted on 31 May 1950. They are part of the United Kingdom Special Forces and have served as a model for the special forces of many other countries all over the world...

Special Boat Service
The Special Boat Service is the special forces unit of the British Royal Navy. Together with the Special Air Service, Special Reconnaissance Regiment and the Special Forces Support Group they form the United Kingdom Special Forces and come under joint control of the same Director Special...

 and Special Forces Communicators are of different designs.


Qualified RAF Regiment personnel wear a badge similar to the Army's Parachute Badge with Wings, but on an RAF blue backing, there is an RAF equivalent to the 'lightbulb'. The Parachute Jump Instructor badge is categorised as a Flying Badge.

United States

The United States Parachutist Badge
Parachutist Badge (United States)
The Parachutist Badge, also commonly referred to as "Jump Wings" or "Snow Cone", is a military badge of the United States Armed Forces awarded to members of the United States Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy...

 (also commonly referred to as "Jump Wings") is a military badge
Military badges of the United States
Military badges of the United States are awards authorized by the United States armed forces that signify rating, qualification, or accomplishment in several career fields, and also serve as identification devices for personnel occupying certain assignments. Personal recognition is granted to...

 of the United States Armed Forces
United States armed forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

 which is awarded to members of the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

, Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

, Marine Corps and Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...


After making five more jumps in a jump billet, members of the Navy and Marine Corps are authorized to wear the gold wings of Naval and Marine parachutists in lieu of their initial award of Army wings. There are three versions of the Army Parachutist Badge. The United States Coast Guard
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

 is the only service which does not issue a Parachutist Badge and does not have personnel serving on jump status; however, Coast Guard members are entitled to receive the Parachutist Badge of another service if the proper training was received. The badge is awarded to U.S. Armed Forces personnel upon completion of the United States Army Airborne School
United States Army Airborne School
The United States Army Airborne School — widely known as Jump School — conducts the basic paratrooper training for the United States armed forces. It is operated by the 1st Battalion , 507th Infantry, United States Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia...

 Basic Airborne Course or freefall (not HALO) parachute training at the United States Air Force Academy
United States Air Force Academy
The United States Air Force Academy is an accredited college for the undergraduate education of officer candidates for the United States Air Force. Its campus is located immediately north of Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado, United States...

, regardless of branch or MOS. The USAFA course is open only to cadets and its training focuses on parachuting for aircrew members who must exit from an aircraft in an emergency. The training is not considered preparation for operational parachute units.

If awarded, Army parachutists who meet the qualifications and jump with a foreign service may also wear one set of foreign wings on their Class A uniform. According to AFI36-2903, page 139 (edition of 2 August 2006), Air Force personnel may wear foreign-awarded jump wings while stationed in the awarding country or attending an official or social function hosted by the awarding government, and if the recipient has already been awarded US jump wings.

The original Army Parachutist Badge was designed in 1941 by Lieutenant General (then Captain) William P. Yarborough
William P. Yarborough
Lieutenant General William Pelham Yarborough was a United States Army officer and a 1936 graduate of West Point. General Yarborough designed the parachutist badge, paratrooper or 'jump' boots, and the airborne jump uniform. He is known as the 'Father of the Modern Green Berets.' He is descended...

 and approved by the Department of the Army in March of that year. In addition to the Parachutist Badge, U.S. Army paratroopers wore a "paraglider" patch on the front left side (enlisted) or right side (officers) of the garrison cap. Until the late 1940s, glider units were also included within Airborne divisions, hence the parachute and glider on the cap. The garrison cap with the paraglider patch was replaced by the maroon beret. Troops of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), a former parachute unit, continued to wear the garrison cap with patch until the replacement of garrison caps by the black beret worn by all personnel not already wearing maroon (Airborne) or green (Special Forces). When the black beret was adopted Army-wide, Ranger units switched from black to tan.

Other countries

  • Argentina
    Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

    : In the Argentinian Army, personnel who complete the basic parachutist training receive a badge consisting of a silver winged parachute. A golden badge is awarded to personnel after a certain service time spent at a parachute unit, after a certain number of jumps and upon completion of at least two more parachute-related courses besides the basic one, such as rigger, jumpmaster, free-fall jump, etc. This system replaced the one existing until 1993, when officers wore the golden badge, NCOs the silver one and privates a smaller silver one. Navy, Air Force and Gendarmerie parachutists were similar badges to those of the Army.
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