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U.S. Army Glider Badge with background trimming of unknown airborne unit from WWII

The Glider Badge was a qualification badge of the United States Army. According to the U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry, the badge was awarded to personnel who had "been assigned or attached to a glider or airborne unit or to the Airborne Department of the Infantry School; satisfactorily completed a course of instruction, or participated in at least one combat glider mission into enemy-held territory.[1]

Following the close of the Second World War, the Glider Badge was authorized to any service member who had completed glider unit training at the Airborne School.

Glider-borne soldiers wore a wing trimming (a.k.a. oval) behind their Glider Badges to signify assignment to glider units.[2] The color pattern of the trimming varied depending upon the unit. (Note: During World War II the term "Airborne" included parachute, glider, and air-landing units. With the elimination of glider and air-landing units from the force structure in the post-war years, Airborne became synonymous with parachute units only.)

U.S. Army glider units participated in eight glider-airborne operations during World War II. These were the invasion of Sicily (Operation HUSKY, 9-13 JUL 1943), 1st Air Commando Group in Burma (Operation THURSDAY, MAR-MAY 1944), Normandy invasion (Operation NEPTUNE (airborne phase of Operation OVERLORD, 6-8 JUN 1944), invasion of southern France (Operation DRAGOON, 15 AUG 1944), invasion of Netherlands (Operation MARKET, airborne phase of MARKET-GARDEN, 17-23 SEP 1944), re-supply of Bastogne (a flight on 25 DEC 1944 and Operation REPULSE, 26-27 DEC 1944), Rhine River crossing at Wesel (Operation VARSITY, 24 MAR 1945), and finally, at Aparri, Luzon, PI (Operation GYPSY, 23 JUN 1945).[3]

In the post-World War II years, the US Army converted its remaining glider units to parachute. For example, the 325th Glider Infantry Regiment of the 82d Airborne Division was reorganized and redesignated on 15 December 1947 as the 325th Infantry Regiment (neither glider nor regular infantry), and then reorganized and redesignated again on 15 December 1948 as the 325th Airborne Infantry.[4] Likewise, the 319th Glider Field Artillery Battalion,[5] also part of the 82d Airborne Division, was reorganized and redesignated on 15 December 1947 as the 319th Field Artillery Battalion, and then reorganized and redesignated on 15 December 1948 as the 319th Airborne Field Artillery Battalion. Although glider units and glider training had ceased to exist, the badge was not formally rescinded until 3 May 1961; however, it remains authorized for wear by those who earned it.[6][7]

See also[]


  1. Glider Badge, The Institute of Heraldry, Uniformed Services, Army, U.S. Army Badges; last accessed 1 July 2012
  2. Airborne Breast Oval Background Trimmings, Insignia of Airborne Units, U.S. Army, Second World War; last accessed 1 July 2012
  3. Eight Missions, National WWII Glider Pilots Association, Inc; last accessed 1 July 2012
  6. Title 32: National Defense, Section 578.95 - Glider Badge (Rescinded), U.S. Government Printing Office, Code of Federal Regulations, last accessed 21 January 2013
  7. Army Regulation 670-1: Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia, Department of the Army, dated 3 February 2005, revised 11 May 2012, last accessed 21 January 2013

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