GENERAL HARRY KINNARD, first C.G. of the 1st Cavalry Division, Airmobile, wrote in the January 2002 issue of the
SABER, re: original AIR ASSAULT BADGE. Quoted in part, "So proud of the men and officers in the 11th Air Assault
Division, (Test Division for Air Mobility and predecessor of the 1st Cav Div), the Air Assault Badge was created and issued to
the 1st Abn Brigade and later the 2nd Brigade. Never officially approved by the Army, later the second and current Air
Assault Badge was submitted by the 101st Air-Mobile Div and approved."
I wear my original Air Assault Badge proudly, as may anyone in the first shift of the Jumping Mustangs and as far as the rest
of you, I personally authorize it. I doubt if anyone will question you.
(JM6 17 Feb 02)
"ORIGINAL AIR ASSAULT BADGE”
With the activation of the 11th Air Assault Division (Test) on 15 February 1963 at Fort Benning, Georgia, the division
commander, then Brigadier General Harry W. O. Kinnard, began to fashion an operational reality from a vision – what later
came to be called “airmobility”.
Part of this mission was to create a ‘state of mind’ among the members of the division – “sky soldiers” as they were called –
to instill in them belief in the new airmobile concept. Airmobility had to do more than merely provide Infantry troops with
helicopters for rides – it needed to train all ground elements in conjunction with all air elements to create a well-honed combat
To differentiate 11th Air Assault Division “sky soldiers” from other Army units, General Kinnard had designed and
established a ‘special’ badge’ that his “sky soldiers” could wear as a mark of their airmobility expertise. This became the
11th Air Assault Division (Test) “Air Assault Badge”, first issued in the spring of 1964.
In order to qualify for this badge, each soldier had to successfully rappel from a helicopter, thrice from 60 feet and twice from
120 feet. Each soldier had to pass aircraft safety procedures, an aircraft orientation, arm and hand signals, combat assault
operations, prepare, inspect and rig equipment for a sling load, and be able to lash down equipment carried in cargo helicopters.
The original “Air Assault Badge” was awarded only to members’ assigned to the 11th Air Assault Division (Test) and then
only for a short time. In Vietnam, airmobility operations and proficiency became an accepted U S Army tactic, still taught
The original “Air Assault Badge” training criteria lead to the development of the present Sabalauski Air Assault School
located at Fort Campbell, KY, which awards the current Air Assault Badge, although today’s badge is substantially different
in design and shape.
The 11th Air Assault Division “Air Assault Badge” was, and still is, an unauthorized badge. Regardless, many of those
awarded the original “Air Assault Badge” still wear it today – knowing they were first to do so – and to most “original sky
soldiers” this emblem remains a coveted badge worn with PRIDE!
|Headquarters & Headquarters Company 1965 - 1971