U.S. ARMY QUALIFICATION BARS

The U.S. Army’s Marksmanship badges designed by Arthur E. DuBois of the Quartermaster Corps introduced an entirely new concept in terms of qualification insignia. Rather than having a different badge for every weapon in which a Soldier could qualify, DuBois instead designed an insignia to be issued in three degrees of expertise, with each badge featuring loops that would hold a Qualification Bars naming the weapon for which the Soldier had earned the qualification degree (Sharpshooter, Second Class Gunner, etc.).

Within five years of the approval of DuBois’ innovative design in 1921, the list of Qualification Bars had expanded from eleven to seventeen, with the Army never hesitant to add new bars to reflect new weaponry or to remove bars for obsolete equipment. Over the course of World War II, for example, the U.S. Army issued twenty-nine Qualification Bars, including six distinct Tank Destroyer bars (these were eliminated in 1948).

But sometimes the Army allowed—and still allows—Qualification Bars to be authorized for weapons no longer in use or for which no qualification process was/is in place. Sometimes this procrastination turn out to be fortuitous, as in the case of “CARBINES.” Although the Army stopped issuing carbines after World War II, the bar remained languished in the regulations long enough to see the M-4 introduced into use by Rangers and other Soldiers, making the Bar relevant again. The Flamethrower Qualification Bar, on the other hand, is still authorized by regulations, but there is no prescribed criteria for qualifying in it.

Notable Qualification Bars that were rescinded include “COAST ARTY,” “MACHINE RIFLE,” “SWORD,” and “SUBMARINE MINES.”

The same design is used by the Army for its Driver and Mechanic Badge, with Qualification Bars specifying the type of vehicle or skill for which the wearer has been qualified. After choosing the appropriate Qualification Bar here, visit our page devoted to the Driver and Mechanic Badge to learn about the insignia and place an order.
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