|Parachute Rigger Badge
On 9 June 1986, the
Chief of Staff of the Army approved adoption of the parachute
rigger badge as a permanent special skill badge. The
parachute rigger badge is the only special skill badge approved
for a Quartermaster specific Military Occupation Specialty
(MOS). This was a timely achievement that coincided closely with
the official activation ceremony of the Quartermaster Corps
Regiment four days later on 13 June 1986.
History of the Parachute
The first parachute rigger badge
was designed in 1948 by Major Thomas R. Cross and drawn by
Sergeant First Class Ewing of the 11th Parachute Maintenance
Company, 11th Airborne Division at Camp Schimmelpfenning,
Cross was the division parachute
maintenance officer and Ewing worked in the parachute
maintenance section. The first design effort consisted of
a cloth badge, to be worn on the right sleeve of the field
jacket, which depicted a full parachute canopy with a half wing
extending from the right
looked very similar to the pathfinder badge so Major
Cross suspended design efforts until the 11th Airborne
Division moved from Japan to Camp Campbell, KY in 1949.
At Campbell they designed another full color cloth badge
(shown above is the original badge from the collection
of the Quartermaster Museum).
This badge was
designed to be worn on the field jacket and on the red
baseball cap which was adopted by the 11th Parachute
Maintenance Company in late 1949. The badge was
first displayed during Exercise Swarmer at Camp Mackall,
NC in April 1950.
Major Cross wearing the Rigger Badge
during Operation Swarmer, April 1950
Major (later Colonel) Cross
stated, "The purpose of the rigger wings was to promote
esprit de corps among the members of the 11th Parachute
Maintenance Company and the red cap was used to identify rigger
personnel at critical locations such as loading areas and drop
zones." The badge and red cap quickly gained
popularity and spread to riggers in other airborne units.
Prior to the official adoption of
the badge, it had been worn under the MACOM commanderís
authority to authorize the wear of locally designed badges on
the utility uniform.
Official adoption of the
badge had been sought for many years by a variety of
Quartermaster officials. Final
adoption was based on a formal request submitted by Mr. James S.
Emery, Military Analyst, Airborne Department, Quartermaster
School in 1983. This request received unprecedented support from
the field, unfortunately it was disapproved at the time.
In 1986, General Richard H. Thompson, commander of the U.S. Army
Materiel Command and the senior Quartermaster officer in the
Army wrote the Chief of Staff of the Army asking him to
reconsider the 1983 decision. After requesting some field
comments, General Wickham approved the parachute riggers badge
on 9 June 1986.
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