U.S. ARMY AIRBORNE TAB

Although Army regulations allow a maximum of just three special-skills tabs on the combat uniform or similar utility uniform, this proscription does not include tabs which are considered to be a part of the organization’s Shoulder Sleeve Insignia (SSI); examples include Airborne, Mountain, Pershing, and Honor Guard. But while these tabs do not count toward the three-tab limit, they also may be worn only while a Soldier is assigned to the organization with the matching SSI. In the case of the Airborne tab, that means The Institute of Heraldry must have approved the unit’s SSI as including the Airborne tab, and the tab may not be worn with any other SSI. The Airborne tab’s classification as an integral part of the SSI means it is worn directly above that insignia.

The Institute of Heraldry has authorized the Airborne Tab in three color patterns (letters/background) specifically to match the SSIs in qualifying units: blue/white, red/black, and gold/black  Note that a unit does not necessarily retain Airborne status permanently; the SSI for the 20th Engineer Brigade, for example, was amended to incorporate a blue/white Airborne tab on 14 January 1975, but nearly 25 years later the insignia was changed when the tab was deleted.
 
A subdued version of the Airborne tab is worn when prescribed by the commander for wear with the combat uniform. With the introduction of the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) in 2002, the subdued Airborne tab was gray with black letters. This was changed to gold with black letters when the Operational Camouflage Pattern was authorized to replace the UCP in 2015.
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