U.S. ARMY INFANTRY BLUE SHOULDER CORD

2017 marked the 65th anniversary of the introduction of the Infantry Shoulder Cord, also referred to as the Infantry Blue Cord. Its development can traced to the realization that morale among the men fighting on the front lines of the Korean War had reached extremely low levels, and in response Army Chief of Staff Joseph "Lightning Joe" Lawton Collins sought recommendations on what steps could be taken let the Infantrymen at the forefront of the fighting know their efforts were appreciated.

The advisers CSA Collins consulted recommended some type of insignia or other distinctive markings be presented to Infantry personnel that would not only make it clear that they were the ground troops doing the heavy lifting in combat, but also would serve to create an enhanced esprit-de-corps for Soldiers serving in this branch. The result was the creation of a light-blue cord to be worn over the right shoulder of the Army Service Uniform, issued to both officers and enlisted personnel. Complementing the light-blue cord were similarly colored disks that were to be placed behind the “crossed rifle” insignia found on collar and cap devices.

Chosen to first wear these new uniform accouterments was the the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, officially nicknamed the “Old Guard” because of its status as the oldest active-duty regiment in the Army. It was then expanded to become standard issue for all Infantrymen in 1952.

Enlisted personnel receive their Infantry Shoulder Cords in a “Turning Blue” ceremony conducted when their class complete its Advanced Infantry Training at Infantry School in Fort Benning, Georgia. Officers take part in a “Blue Cord” presentation when they graduate from Infantry Basic Officer Leaders Course.

Consult DA 670-1 for instructions on how the Infantry Shoulder Cord is to be worn. Guidance on authorized wearers and when it is to be worn is found in Chapter 21 of Army Regulation 670-1.
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