First introduced in the 1960s, the Missile Maintenance badge was originally known simply as the Missile badge
and was awarded to both operators and maintainers of ICBM and tactical missile teams. To reflect the different responsibilities and duties of those team members, a new version of the badge, featuring the same design but wreathed in oak leaves, was introduced in the late 1980s for wear by Missile Operators. At the same time, the original Missile badge was renamed Missile Maintenance.
In 2004, the Missile badge criteria was expanded to include two new career fields, the officer code of 21M Space and Missile Maintenance and the endlisted specialty 2W Space Systems Maintenance. Officers do not attend and complete the Missile Maintenance Officers Course arerequired to supervise directly 2M or 2W Airmen in the loading, unloading, and maintenance of guided missiles for a period of 12 months before they were awarded the basic Space and Missile badge. Further, 2W specialists are not awarded the basic Space and Missile badge upon completion of technical school, but rather after working with missile systems and guided missiles for twelve months.
For a brief period, both Missile badges were shelved in favor of a Space and Missile
badge, but in 2008, the Air Force brought back the Missile Operations
and the Missile Maintenance badges. The Missile Operations badge is awarded to to any officer who is currently or has been certified combat-mission ready (CMR) with an operational ICBM Unit.
The Space and Missile badge was subsequently replaced by the Space Badge
, which was renamed the Space Operations
badge in 2014.