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Combat Action Badge Award Criteria

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Pentagon Presents Its New Combat Action Badge For The First Time
Brendan Smialowski / Stringer/Getty Images News/Getty Images
The Army announced this week the eligibility requirements for its new Combat Action Badge.

The requirements are laid out in a Department of the Army letter published on June 3. The letter also discusses changes to the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Combat Medic Badge.

The CAB, whose design features both a bayonet and grenade, may be awarded to any Soldier performing assigned duties in an area where hostile fire pay or imminent danger pay is authorized, who is personally present and actively engaging or being engaged by the enemy, and performing satisfactorily in accordance with the prescribed rules of engagement, according to the specific eligibility requirements.

Award of the CAB is not limited by one’s branch or military occupational specialty; however, to receive the CAB, a Soldier must not be assigned or attached to a unit that would quality the Soldier for the CIB or CMB.

The CAB's creation was approved by Army chief of staff Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker on May 2, 2005, to provide special recognition to Soldiers who personally engage or are engaged by the enemy.

“Warfare is still a human endeavor,” Schoomaker said. “Our intent is to recognize Soldiers who demonstrate and live the Warrior Ethos.”

"The Global War on Terrorism and its associated operations will be the first era of conflict considered for this award," said Lt. Col. Bill Johnson, Human Resources Command chief of military awards. "September 18, 2001, is the effective date for the new award. That is when President Bush signed Senate Joint Resolution 23, authorizing the use of military force against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States."

The CAB should be available late this summer or early fall through unit supply and military clothing sales stores.

Specific information extracted from HQDA Ltr 600-05-1:

c. Combat Action Badge. On 2 May 2005, the Chief of Staff, Army approved the creation of the CAB to provide special recognition to Soldiers who personally engage, or are engaged by the enemy.

(1) Intent. The requirements for award of the CAB are Branch and MOS immaterial. Assignment to a Combat Arms unit or a unit organized to conduct close or offensive combat operations, or performing offensive combat operations is not required to qualify for the CAB. However, it is not intended to award all Soldiers who serve in a combat zone or imminent danger area.

(2) Specific eligibility requirements.

    (a) May be awarded to any Soldier.

    (b) Soldier must be performing assigned duties in an area where hostile fire pay or imminent danger pay is authorized.

    (c) Soldier must be personally present and actively engaging or beingengaged by the enemy, and performing satisfactorily in accordance with the prescribed rules of engagement.

    (d) Soldier must not be assigned/attached to a unit that would qualify the Soldier for the CIB/CMB. (For example, an 11B assigned to Corps staff is eligible for award of the CAB. However, an 11B assigned to an infantry battalion is not eligible for award of the CAB.)

(3) Other Services and foreign soldiers. May be awarded to members from the other U.S. Armed Forces and foreign soldiers assigned to a U.S. Army unit, provided they meet the above criteria (that is, KATUSAs in 2d ID).

(4) Qualifying periods. Award of the CAB is authorized from 18 September 2001 to a date to be determined. Award for qualifying service in any previous conflict is not authorized.

(5) Subsequent awards.

    (a) Only one CAB may be awarded during a qualifying period.

    (b) Second and third awards of the CAB for subsequent qualifying periods will be indicated by superimposing one and two stars respectively, centered at the top of the badge between the points of the oak wreath.

(6) Retroactive awards. Retroactive awards for the CAB are not authorized prior to 18 September 2001. For service on or after 18 September 2001, applications (to include supporting documentation) for retroactive awards of the CAB will be forwarded through the
first two star general in the chain of command to CG, USA HRC, ATTN: AHRC-PDO-PA, Alexandria, VA 22332-0471.

(7) Wear policy (see AR 670-1). The CAB is categorized as a Group 1 badge.

d . Multiple awards. Soldiers may be awarded the CIB, CMB and CAB for the same qualifying period, provided the criteria for each badge is met. However, subsequent awards of the same badge within the same qualifying period are not authorized.

e . Who may award. The CIB, CMB, and CAB may be awarded by any commander delegated authority by the Secretary of the Army during wartime or the CG , USAHRC.

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