A Guide to U.S. Military Pins and Ribbons 

Between the six branches of the United States Military, there are a multitude of pins, ribbons, and patches that can be awarded to those that wear a uniform. These can be based on rank, service, marksmanship, skill, units, and more. Most people have seen a military uniform before, but do you know what these ribbons and pins actually mean?

The WizardPins.com researchers put together a guide that can help identify the different items that adorn the uniforms of those that serve.


The graphic outlines a number of things that can be worn on a uniform including:

    • The U.S. flag lapel pin
    • Branch insignia pins that are worn on the lapel of the jacket and indicate specific fields of service
    • Officer rank pinks that identify the rank of a service member and are worn on the shoulders
    • Identification badges that designate special duties of service members worn on the pocket
    • Combat badges that are awarded to soldiers who were in active combat worn on the left side
    • Skill badges that designate special skills worn beneath service ribbons
    • Marksmanship badges awarded to members who have completed weapons qualifications courses worn underneath service ribbons
    • Distinctive unit insignia that designates the unit they are assigned to that are worn above the name plate
    • Service ribbons that represent medals which have been awarded without weighing down the uniform

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