U.S. ARMY COMBAT UNIFORM (ACU) MASTER SERGEANT RANK INSIGNIA

Commonly called ACU rank insignia because it was introduced at the same the Army replaced its Battle Dress Uniform with the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) in 2004, subdued grade insignia is embroidered in black on a camouflage-pattern cloth. Subdued grade insignia is worn by Master Sergeants E-8 on Utility uniforms (ACU, A2AU, Maternity Working, etc.), the Gore-Tex parka (officially designated the ECWCS jacket), the Patrol Cap, Sun Hat (boonie), and the camouflage cover of the helmet.

Subdued Master Sergeant grade insignia is manufactured in three styles which you may choose from in the drop-down selection box to the right. Rank With Velcro insignia embroidered onto camouflage-pattern cloth with hook-and-loop fasteners on the back are designed to be applied to hook-and-loop face pads such as the one found on the front of the Army Combat Uniform. Cap Rank features the Master Sergeant insignia on a swatch of cloth that is sewn onto the Patrol Cap and other headgear. Gortex refers to insignia designed to slide over a tab on the front of the ECWCS parka.
 
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All personnel, including Master Sergeants E-8, have some degree of flexibility when it comes to the subdued insignia worn on Utility uniforms. First, they may choose to wear subdued, pin-on metal insignia or subdued embroidered cloth insignia—but they are not allowed to mix the two. Similarly, Soldiers are not allowed to mix sew-on insignia with hook-and-loop fasteners. Specifically, regulations state that "When personnel sew on badges, the following must also be sewn on the combat uniform coat: name tape, U.S. Army tape, and grade insignia." (Note: this requirement is not applicable to the Patrol Cap.)

This idea of mixing sew-on versus Velcro-backed insignia was not really an issue until the Army announced in 2011 that it would allow Soldiers the option of sew on rank insignia, name tape, and the service tape. (The Army also announced Soldier could sew on skill badges such as the Airborne or Combat Infantryman badge.) In addition to insisting that each Soldier’s insignia was consistently either sew-on or Velcro, the Army also mandated that sew-on insignia could be placed only on the Velcro pads on the uniform where the subdued embroidered insignia would normally be attached.
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