U.S. NAVY SMALL CRAFT BADGE

Originally established to recognize the service of personnel who served in the “brown-water Navy” that was formed to patrol the rivers, deltas, and coastal waters of Vietnam, the Small Craft insignia is somewhat unique in that it has two sets of qualifications: one for those who served in Vietnam, and another for those whose service after October 1, 1984 would make them eligible for the designation. Note that the same insignia is used regardless of type of qualification.

The original Small Craft designation was authorized in the 1970s by the Chief of Naval Operations for those junior officers and Senior CPOs who served as OIC (officer in charge) under combat conditions on either Riverine or Coastal Craft in the Republic of Vietnam. To earn the designation and the badge, candidates must first have served with one of eight specific units listed in MILSPERMAN 1200-030. Second, they must have served at least six months as either an OIC, a commissioned or enlisted Patrol Officer, Boat Officer, River Section Leader, or POIC (Petty Officer in Charge) aboard one of eight types of craft: Harbor, Logistic Support, Minesweeping, Patrol Boat Fast, Patrol Boat River, River Assault, SEAL Support, or Strike Assault Boats.

Recognizing the importance of the advisory duties assumed by many in the U.S. Navy, the designation was also available to Navy personnel who had worked in an “in-charge” position as advisors to Vietnamese Navy personnel, as well as to officers and enlisted personnel who were with units ultimately handed over to the Vietnamese Navy before they’d had a chance to log six months of duty in one of the roles specified above. The only requirement was that they had spent six months or longer on the craft, regardless of whether that time was logged in operations or in an advisory capacity.

Currently, only Navy personnel who have served in an OIC or POIC billet for at least six months and have successfully completed a Personnel Qualification Standard for one of twenty-four different types of craft are authorized to wear the Small Craft insignia by the Chief of Naval Operations. This list can also be found in MILSPERMAN 1200-030.

The Small Craft breast insignia is available for officers (gold) and enlisted personnel (silver).
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