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”)

myArmoury.com

myArmoury.com

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

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]

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    

Badge Medal Diamond Serbia Order Montenegro Yugoslavia Antique Russian SerbianWw1 Territorial Force War Medal Trio Group 905 Sgt Watkins R A Badge InsigniaWw2 Japanese Navy Name Stamp Kit Case Wwii Rank Japan Medal Badge Hanko InkanItalian Fascist Black Shirts Fez Hat Italy Fascista Wwii Original Fascio Badge Old Aussie Diggers Slouch Hat & Raising Sun Badge Ww2?1864 Original United States Colored Troops Civil War Corps Badge 25th CorpsVintage Lot Of ( 8 ) Ww Ii Military Sterling Silver Wing Pins / Badges Parachute Badge ( J.r. Gaunt, London)) Full Size *theater Made*Original Ww2 Sterling Us Parachutist Badge / Jump Wings AirborneNorth Waterloo/scots Fusiliers Officer's Cap Badge M.161.World War 1 German Austria Hungary Aviator Pilot Badge Great For Your CollectionCirca 1893 The Cavalry School Corps Helmet Plate Badge Hp.40 Scarce British Reme Royal Electrical & Mechanical Palestine Reme Badge PatchSoviet Ussr Russian Ww2 Badge Order Group Kutuzov Nevsky Gpw 1stH M S Orpheus Ww1 Sterling Silver Torpedo Badge Or BroochWw2 Japanese Wounded Badge Medal War Wwii Wound Japan Army Navy Samurai Soldier100% Genuine Ww2 British Army Officers, Bomb Disposal Arm Band & Cloth BadgeWwii Imperial Japanese Military Dog Tag Id Army Navy Japan Badge Medal Vtg Ww2Lot Of 171 British Canadian Military Badges, Buttons, Buckles Ww1/ww2 And RecentUcv Confederate Veterans Badge 1899 Wheelers Cavalry Camp A 1861-18652 Piece Combat Infantryman Badge Full Size "theater Made?" *rare*Vintage World War Two Home Front Badge Free French France Libre Numbered 1850Panzer German Medal Badge Condor Legion Ww1Italian Fascist Colonial Long Service Badge Pin Africa Aoi Mvsn Pnf Ww2Canada Seaforth Highlanders Officer's 4 Piece Sterling Silver Cap Badge DeRare Silver Badge - Singapore Police ForceRare Ww1 Or Ww2 Australian His Majesty's Customs Uniform Officers Cap Badge Bullion Combat Infantryman Badge (german/english Made?) Full Size "theater Made"Original Wwii Us Navy Officer Hat Band W/ Bullion Insignia BadgeUsaaf World War Ii Army Air Corps Caterpillar Club BadgeRare Original Ww2 Raf Officer's Royal Air Force Black Plastic Economy Cap BadgeAntique 2nd World War Nickel Silver German Badge Brooch PinRare Ww1 Or Ww2 Australian Army Collar Badge 39th Infantry Battalion Officer SetWw1 French Army Artillery Adrian Helmet Badge 17pImperial German Austria Hungary Naval Pilot BadgeSoviet Ussr Russian Ww2 Badge Order Suvorov 2nd ClassWw1 18th Battalion London Regiment,bronze Officers Service Dress Cap BadgeWwii The Greater East Asian War Commemorative Medal Badge Japanese Japan Ww2Ww2 American Air Force Silver Pilots Badge / WingsWw2 Japanese Machine Gun Marksmanship Shooting Badge Army Navy Medal Wwii Vtg Mg2 Piece Combat Infantryman Badge Full Size "theater Made?" *rare*1940 National Shrine Foundation Medal Japanese Ww2 Manchuria China Badge Vtg 40sWw2 German Eastern Peoples Badge 1st Class Without Swords Medal AwardWwi Imperial German Knights Iron Cross Award Medal Badge 800 Silver With RibbonRare Boer War Veterans Association Badge With Miniature Medal Ribbon RosettePre Ww2 Japanese Medal Document Russo-japan War Navy Seamen Award Antique BadgeOriginal Wwii Sterling Silver Pb Paratrooper Wing BadgePre Wwii Japanese Medal Document Manchuria China War Navy Award Vtg Badge TankWw1 World War 1 Canada Officer's Cap Badge The 236th (the New Brunswick Kilties)Military Officer Candidate Imperial Russian University Graduation BadgeAuthentic, Civil War 1861 "old Canteen" Badge Pinback F+ (5 Photos)Trio British 1914/15 Star & Silver War Badge Medal Group.(original Packaging.) Imperial Japanese Shooting Honor Badge Japan Medal Marksmanship Army Navy Ww2T5 Lf - Lancashire Fusiliers World War I Shoulder Title Badge100% Genuine Ww2 Royal Navy Chief Petty Officers Cap Badge & Hat Band1903-21 Us Army Coast Artillery Silver Color "marksman A" Badge W/t-bar FastenerRare Ww1 Or Ww2 Australian Army Collar Badge 4th Infantry Battalion A.i.f. AnzacWwii Polish Army Exile British Uniform Badge Photo Id Book Coat German Pow Ww2 Japanese Golden Kite Medal Badge Army War Navy Officer Award Silver Wwii CapOriginal Ww2 Canada Parachute Corps Miniature Badge Sterling Silver & Enamel