In the lexicon of United States militaria, badges worn by members of the armed forces are similar to those worn by police officers or firefighters. Like civilian-service badges, military badges encompass insignia awarded to convey rank, as well as qualifications for various skills—from "wings" in the Air Force for pilots to "diver" badges in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines to signify a person qualified for underwater operations.

To serious military medal collectors, though, the word “badge” can be parsed even more precisely. For them, “badge” is the word given to Orders (governmental acknowledgements of acts performed by citizens, civilian or military, occurring during a war or not) that are meant to hang from a ribbon. That’s different from a decoration, which can also be a medal and can also hang from a ribbon, but is only awarded for acts performed by military personnel during combat.

This distinction seems simple enough, but many militaria collectors find themselves reverting to the sheriff/firefighter association of the word when talking about badges, using the term to describe just about any metal insignia that is pinned to a uniform rather than hung from a ribbon.

Some of the easiest military badges to identify without fear of contradiction are those worn by military police, or MPs. Often made of stamped brass, these shield-shaped badges have all the usual elements and devices seen on regular police badges—an eagle at the top, a liberty cap hoisted on a pole, an American flag.

Other badges are smaller, resembling what most people might call a pin, and meant to be worn on either a jacket or cap. These badges frequently do little more than signify one’s skill as, say, a welder or surgeon. Other small badges note one’s ability to jump out of airplanes (a parachutist’s badge) or play the trumpet (as seen in a badge for a company’s bugler).


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Comic Character Pinbacks

Comic Character Pinbacks

Mark Lansdown's excellent collection of over 800 pinbacks representing 200+ comic characters from 100+ strips. Beau… [read review or visit site]

myArmoury.com

myArmoury.com

This resource for historic arms and armour collectors provides exhaustive information on modern reproductions (cust… [read review or visit site]

The Civil War

The Civil War

Paul McWhorter’s amazing reference site tells the story of the Civil War through high resolution scans of Harpers… [read review or visit site]

Mikes Tanks

Mikes Tanks

Mike Seeber’s extensive collection of over 500 diecast tanks and military vehicles, dating back to WWII. Browse b… [read review or visit site]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Rare Original Ww2 German Iron Cross 1939 Wwii Medal BadgeWw2 Near Mint German Badge Pin MedalSeaforth Highlanders Officers Silver Cap Badge Hallmarked 1918German Army Panzer Tank Collar Tab Badge Insignia Matching PairWw2 Us Navy Named Submarine Grouping Pictured Id Badge Dog Tags Submariner PinRare Original Ww2 German Iron Cross 1939 Wwii Medal BadgeLot Of Usmc Wwii Sterling Shooting Marksmanship Award Medal - Basic Badge (5) ++(27) Original*ww2*italian Fascist*enamel*badge*pin* Mega*collection*magnificentSoviet Russian Order Medal Badge Red Star # 22351Wwi Canadian 1st Tank Battalion Cef Overseas Battalion Badge Genuine Ww2 Wwii German, Russian Front Medal Order BadgeSerbia Yugoslavia Saint Sava Order Medal Badge SerbianDifferent Type Of German Winged Eagle Pin, Badge Etc. Has Numbers On The Back1936 National Youth Meeting Pin Badge German Nazi World War Ii Ww2 Near Mint German Badge Pin MedalImperial Russian Bulgarian Diamond Badge Gold Russia Antique Medal Bulgaria OldWwi Ww1 Cap & Shoulder Badges/pin Overseas Battalion Niagara Rangers 176 CanadaItalian Wwii Africa Tropical Helmet Fascist Insignia Badge Black Shirts Fascio 2Original Russian Imperial St. George's Cross, #197201, Silver, Medal BadgeWw1 Rising Sun Hat Badge As Worn By The Australian Light Horse With Long Slider Italian Wwii Africa Tropical Helmet Fascist Insignia Badge Black Shirts FascioWwii Ww2 Canadian Parachute Corps Battalion Airborne Para Cap Badge - 1st Bn Orig. Russian Ussr Osoaviahim Activist Badge #4649 Silvered Bronze Medal 1930sVintage 27th Battalion South Australian Scottish Regiment Hat Badge -70mm AcrossItalian Wwii Africa Campaign Divisione Trieste Badge Insigniajohnson Milano Ww2Ww1 Imperial German Submarine Uboat BadgeRare Genuine Anson Naval Wwi Cap Badge With J.r.gaunt London Makers TabletOrig. Russian Ussr Excellent Artillery Training Badge #1116, Gilded, 1930sWw1 Brass Rising Sun Hat Badge For Australian Light Horse Style And Long Slider Soviet Russian Wwii Red Star Order #2798069 Medal Badge SilverGenuine Ww2 Wwii German, Russian Front Medal Order BadgeOrig Ww1 Pair Of Matching Collar Badges 50th Battalion Calgary Regiment W ScullyGerman Army Assaul Gunner Collar Tab Badge Insignia Matching PairGenuine Ww1 Trench Art Tankard Mug Notts & Derby Sherwood Foresters Regiment NrFull Size Ww1 Star Trio, Silver Arp Badge & British Legion Badge In Period FrameSoviet Russian Order Of Glory Medal Badge SilverOrig Ww2 Officers Cap Badge Ppcli Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry'for King & Country / The Dardanelles' Gallipoli Enamelled Badge / FobWwii The Greater East Asian War Commemorative Medal Badge Japanese Japan Ww2Us Wwii Lot Of 15 Military Pins Badges Insignia U.s.army Wwii Ww1 Royal Flying Corps Rfc Sweetheart Brooch VgcSoviet Russian Excellent In Rkka Badge No. 19395 Order MedalM1937 Blue Denim Pull-over Shirt Airborne Armor Hat Hbt Cavalry Patch BadgeCivil Air Patrol Grouping Thirty Five (35) Pieces Wings Hat BadgesWwii French Model 1926 Adrian Helmet W/ Rf Flaming Bomb Infantry Badge Genuine Brass Ww1 Rising Sun Hat Badge With Long Slider Worn By Aif Light HorseWw2 Japanese Wounded Association Badge Japan Medal Order Wound Army Navy WwiiVintage And Early Employee Id Badge - New York Navy YardItalian Wwii Paratrooper Pin Badge Italy Ww2 Para Paracadutisti Folgore NemboWwi Imperial German Fireman Helmet-leather W/ Brass Comb & Hassendorf Badge Wwi Wwii Newfoundland Cap BadgeGerman Badge Ww2 BronzeUnited States 75th Anniversary Battle Of Gettysburg 1938 Attendant Badge Inv7666Australian Ww1 Aif Brass Rising Sun Hat Badge With Long Slider For Light Horse Russian Soviet Badge Of Honorable Railroad WorkerUs Wwii Lot Of 5 Pinback Colonel Insignia Badge Pin Eagles U.s. Army Ww2 UniformGerman Army Artillary Collar Tab Badge Insignia Matching PairWw1 Australian Silver War Badge Swb A42363 Wound Badge / Services Rendered BadgeEstate Militaria Ww Ii Japanese Army Air Force Student Pilot Badge Or Watch FobBeautiful Orig Ww2 Cap Badge The Calgary Highlanders Scully Ltd Montreal