Our Shimbun Editor recently received a letter from Walter Scherar requesting information about the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Expert Infantryman Badge.
We contacted the Department of the Army Institute of Heraldry and requested information regarding the origin, genesis, design, etc. in short everything pertinent to the two badges. The people at the Institute, in their usual fashion, answered my request swiftly and thoroughly.
A few guardhouse lawyers, no doubt, will challenge the information herein provided. If they are willing to pay for reproduction costs and postage we will be happy to provide a copy of our research material. There was a time when the Institute complied with requests free of charge. Such is no longer the case. The statement of charges rates are now: Printing $3.50 for the first six pages and 10 cents for each additional page. Color copies are 75 cents per page and the fee for clerical search and processing is $13.50 per hour with a minimum fee of $8.30. Don't blame them. They, too, are victims of cutbacks in defense funding and personnel.
The two badges have a combined interesting evolution. The Combat Infantryman Badge was approved by the Secretary of War on 7 October 1943 and was initially referred to as the Combat Assault Badge; however, the name was changed to Combat Infantryman Badge as announced in
War Department Circular 269 dated 27 October 1943. On 8 February 1952, the Chief of Staff, Army, approved a proposal to add stars to the Badge to indicate award of the Badge in separate wars. Regulations are now in place that provide for eight such awards. The first four prescribe the Badge to be silver with an additional star attached for each award subsequent to the first award. The fifth award is gold without stars and gold stars added for subsequent awards. The Badge is one inch in height (without stars) and three inches in width. The bar is blue, the color associated with the infantry branch. The musket is adapted from the infantry insignia of branch
and represents the first official U.S. shoulder arm, the 1975 Springfield Arsenal musket. It was adopted as the official infantry branch insignia in 1924. The Oak wreath symbolizes steadfastness, strength and loyalty.
The CIB is awarded "to personnel in the grade of Colonel or below with an infantry MOS who have satisfactorily performed duty while assigned as a member of an infantry unit, brigade or smaller size during any period subsequent to 6 December 1941 when the unit was engaged in active ground combat." There is absolutely no mention of length of time such engagement has to be.
On 5 April 1963 the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, in message no. DA333969, advised that "the newly established criteria in DA327892 for award of the CIB would be printed as a change to AR672-5-1 Awards." The message said in part ". . . Any officer, warrant officer or enlisted man whose branch is other than infantry who, under appropriate orders, is assigned to advise a unit (South Vietnamese) will be eligible for this award provided all other requirements for such award have been met." Public Law 393, 78th Congress as reflected in War Department circular no. 271 dated 3 July 1944
provides that "During the present war (WWII) and for 6 months thereafter any enlisted man of the Combat Ground Forces of the Army who is entitled, under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of War to wear the Expert Infantryman Badge or the Combat Infantryman Badge shall be paid additional compensation at the rate of $5.00 per month for the EIB and at the rate of $10.00 per month when entitled to wear the CIB provided that compensation for both may not be paid at the same time." Combat Ground Forces is described as "Infantry, Cavalry, Field Artillery, Coast Artillery, Armored and Tank Destroyer units and Combat Engineers."
The Expert Infantryman Badge is described as being 7/16" in height and 3 inches in width. It is the same as the CIB except that there is no oak wreath. It was approved concurrent with the CIB.
Currently, for award eligibility, "personnel must meet Department of the Army established testing requirements and must possess a military occupational specialty within Career Management Field 11 (Infantry)."
The above information reflects thirteen pages of information we received from the Institute of Heraldry.
FRANK C. SCHOCH
Triple Awards of the C.I.B.