Military Freefall Parachutist Badge

The Military Freefall Parachutist Badge is a military badge of the United States Army and United States Air Force awarded to qualified U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force personnel as high-altitude military parachute specialists.[2][3][4]

Military Freefall Parachutist Badge
USAF - Occupational Badge - High Altitude Low Opening.svg
Awarded by U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force
TypeBadge
Awarded forQualification as a high-altitude parachutist
StatusCurrently awarded
Statistics
First awarded1 October 1994[1]
Last awardedOn going
Army Precedence
Next (higher)Parachute Rigger Badge[2]
Next (lower)Army Aviator Badges[2]

QualificationsEdit

To earn the Military Freefall Parachutist Badge, the military member first must receive all necessary ground training, already have earned the Military Parachutist Badge (jump-qualified), and must have completed the requisite freefall (night, combat equipment, oxygen) jumps and graduate from the Military Free-Fall Parachutist Course.[5]

 
Army and Air Force Master Military Freefall Parachutist Badge

A star and laurel wreath, centered above the badge, called the Master Military Freefall Parachutist Badge, is authorized for U.S. Army Soldiers and U.S. Air Force Airman qualified as a Master Military Freefall Parachutist (Jumpmaster). Such qualification requires completing the Military Free-Fall Jumpmaster Course, wherein the student learns how to be a jumpmaster in military freefall operations.[1][6]

As with the U.S. Army's Military Parachutist Badge, small bronze and gold stars are placed on the badge to represent participation in combat jumps, known as Combat Jump Devices, and can be awarded with either the basic and master versions of the badge. To earn the device, a Military Freefall Parachutist must have conducted a High-altitude/low-opening (HALO) or high-altitude/high-opening (HAHO) jump in a war zone. The stars are awarded as follows:[7]

One combat jump A bronze star centered on the dagger
Two combat jumps A bronze star on each wing
Three combat jumps A bronze star on each wing and one centered on the dagger
Four combat jumps Two bronze stars on each wing
Five + combat jumps A large gold star centered on the dagger
List of published U.S. high-altitude parachute jumps of the U.S. Army[8][9][10][11][12]
Date Unit Operation Troopers Country Dropzone
28 November 1970 Recon Team Florida, CCN, MACV-SOG (HALO) 3 Americans, 1 ARVN officer and 2 Montagnards Laos NVA road inside Laos
7 May 1971 Captain Larry Manes' Recon Team, CCN, MACV-SOG (HALO) 4 South Vietnam Between Ashau Valley and Khe Sanh, NVA trail extension of Laotian Highway 921
22 June 1971 Sergeant Major Billy Waugh's Recon Team, CCN, MACV-SOG (HALO) 4 South Vietnam 60 miles SW of Danang
22 Sep. 1971 Captain Jim Storter's Recon Team, CCC, MACV-SOG (HALO) 4 South Vietnam Plei Trap Valley, NW of Pleiku
11 October 1971 Sgt. 1st Class Dick Gross' Recon Team, CCC, MACV-SOG (HALO) 5 South Vietnam 25 miles, SW of Pleiku in the Ia Drang Valley
15 January 1991 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (HAHO) Operation Desert Shield 12 Iraq Northwest desert
3 July 2004 75th Ranger Regiment, Regimental Reconnaissance Detachment, Team 3 (HALO) Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan Southeastern region
30 May 2007 10th Special Forces Group, 3rd Battalion, ODA 074 (HALO) Operation Iraqi Freedom 11 Iraq Ninewah Province
11 July 2009 75th Ranger Regiment, Regimental Reconnaissance Company, Team 1 Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan

HistoryEdit

The Military Freefall Badge original design was submitted in March 1983 by Sergeant First Class Gregory A. Dailey of SFODA-552, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group. Updates on the design, adding a Master Military Freefall Parachutist Badge were submitted by General Wayne A. Downing of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and James Phillips of the Special Forces Association. The badge was approved for wear by U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) on 1 October 1994. Unrestricted wear was approved on 7 July 1997 by General Dennis Reimer.[1]

Symbolism of the badge's design:[1]

TrainingEdit

The U.S. Military Free-Fall School (MFFS) is operated by the USASOC's John F. Kennedy (JFK) Special Warfare Center and School, 2nd Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne), 2nd Battalion, Company B at the U.S. Army's Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) in Arizona, which is the USSOCOM proponent for military freefall.[13][14][15] The MFFS conducts four primary training courses, the Military Free-Fall Parachutist Course, the Military Free-Fall Jumpmaster Course, the Military Free-Fall Advanced Tactical Infiltration Course, and the Military Free-Fall Instructor Course.[15][16] The U.S. Air Force also conducts the Military Free-Fall Jumpmaster Course—certified by the MFFS—at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base for airman that are not able to attend the MFFS's jumpmaster course.[17] Alternatively, detachments from the MFFS conduct the Military Free-Fall Jumpmaster Course via mobile training teams (MTT) for military freefall units that have difficulty attending the course at the Yuma Proving Ground.[18]

A Parachute Rigger with the JFK Special Warfare Center and School demonstrates proper packing of the RA-1 main parachute[19]
MFFS students (in orange jump suits) and an instructor (in a white jump suit) fall from a C-130 practicing freefall techniques over YPG

The Military Free-Fall Parachutist Course (MFFPC) is open to special operations forces assigned to military freefall coded positions, parachute riggers, and select DoD civilian personnel or allied personnel assigned to military freefall positions. To attend MFFPC, students must have graduated from the U.S. Army Airborne School and must meet specific medical requirements. Week one of the four-week course focuses on vertical wind tunnel body stabilization training, parachute packing, and an introduction to military freefall operations. The remaining weeks focuses training on varying jump profiles using three airborne operations per training iteration, totaling 30 military freefall operations per course encompassing various conditions and equipment loads. At the end of the course, students will have learned how to:[5]

  • Pack the RA-1 Military Free-Fall Advanced Ram-Air Parachute System main parachute and don the system
  • Rigging/jumping procedures for weapons, combat equipment, night vision goggles and portable oxygen equipment
  • Aircraft procedures
  • Exit an aircraft from the door and ramp using dive and poised exit positions
  • Emergency procedures and body stabilization
  • HALO and HAHO parachute jumps from altitudes of 10,000 ft (3,048 m) to 25,000 ft (7,620 m)

Upon completion of the MFFPC, graduates are awarded the Military Freefall Parachutist Badge.

A MFFJMC student takes exam on HAHO operations planning at YPG
U.S. Air Force MFFJMC students practice conducting the jumpmaster personnel inspection on each other at Davis–Monthan Air Force Base
A MFFJMC student gives jump commands during the MTT's first overseas course at Kadena Air Base for the U.S. Marine Corps

To attend the Military Free-Fall JumpMaster Course (MFFJMC), students must have graduated from the U.S. Army Airborne School, the MFFPC, the U.S. Army Jumpmaster School, be a current military freefall parachutist, served as a military freefall parachutist for a minimum of one year, and must have completed at least 50 military freefall jumps. The three-week MFFJMC focuses on training students on jumpmaster duties and responsibilities, such as:[6]

  • Nomenclature
  • Jumpmaster personnel inspection
  • Emergency procedures
  • Oxygen equipment
  • Wind drift calculations
  • Altimeter calculations
  • Emergency automatic activation device calculations
  • Jump commands
  • Aircraft procedures
  • Techniques of spotting
  • HAHO techniques
  • Various ram-air parachute systems packing and rigging

Upon completion of the MFFMJC, graduates are awarded the Master Military Freefall Parachutist Badge.

A MFFATIC student practises various freefall techniques with different mission-specific equipment in a wind-tunnel at YPG
MFFATIC instructors and students conduct a HAHO water insertion operation from a C-23 off the coast of Key West, Florida

To attend the Military Free-Fall Advanced Tactical Infiltration Course (MFFATIC), students must have the same qualifications and completed the same prerequisites required of the MFFJMC. The three-week MFFATIC focuses on educating and training joint special operations forces and other selected personnel in the planning and conduct of night military freefall tactical infiltrations as a group onto unknown and unmarked drop zones. Training includes:[20]

  • Following GPS guided bundles
  • Carrying various combat equipment
  • Various communications
  • Wearing various night vision devices
  • Jumping with non-standard weapons while using oxygen equipment
  • Utilization of various parachutist navigational devices

Upon completion of the MFFATIC, graduates are awarded a certificate of completion; there is no badge or badge device awarded for completion of the MFFATIC.

 
A MFFS instructor (in gray jump suit) and a student-instructor (in gray and black jump suit) assist a student (in orange jump suit) as he freefalls over YPG

To attend the Military Free-Fall Instructor Course (MFFIC), students must be a commissioned officer, warrant officer, or non-commissioned officer and must have the same qualifications and completed the same prerequisites required of the MFFJMC and MFFATIC. Additionally, these students must be qualified military free-fall jumpmasters, must have completed a minimum of 100 free-fall parachute jumps, and must have nine months remaining in service upon graduation. The initial nine-week MFFIC focuses on the following over 150-200 free-fall jumps:[16][21]

  • Learn how to conduct military free-fall jumps from the instructor's perspective
  • Jump as an instructor evaluating and coaching a current MFF instructor who plays the role of a new MFF student
  • Learn how to deal with multiple instructor-induced problems during free-fall commonly encountered with new MFF students

After nine weeks of fundamentals, student-instructors are placed as shadows at the MFFPC for three to six months.[21]

Upon completion of the shadow program, graduates are awarded the Military Free-Fall Instructor Rating; there is no badge or badge device awarded for completion of the MFFIC.[21]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d "Military Free Fall Parachute Badge". Army Quartermaster Museum. United States Army. Retrieved 2008-11-22.
  2. ^ a b c Army Regulation 600-8-22 Military Awards (24 June 2013). Table 8-1, U.S. Army Badges and Tabs: Orders of precedence. p. 120 Archived 17 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Army Regulation 670-1, Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia Archived 2015-04-06 at the Wayback Machine, dated 3 February 2005, revised 11 May 2012, accessed 1 June 2012
  4. ^ AFI 11-402, Aviation and Parachutist Service, Aeronautical Ratings and Badges Archived 2014-01-12 at the Wayback Machine, U.S. Air Force Instructions, dated 13 December 2010, last accessed 11 January 2014
  5. ^ a b MFFPC ATRRS Information Changes, U.S. Army Special Operations Center of Excellence, last accessed 3 January 2020
  6. ^ a b Military Free-Fall Jumpmaster Course (MFFJMC), U.S. Army Special Operations Center of Excellence, last accessed 3 January 2020
  7. ^ Qualification Badges, Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge, United States Army Institute of Heraldry, last accessed 22 April 2017
  8. ^ United States Combat Jumps, GlobalSecurity.org, last updated 7 May 2011, last accessed 6 January 2019
  9. ^ Units Credited With Assault Landings, General Orders No. 10, Department of the Army, dated 25 September 2006, last accessed 6 January 2019
  10. ^ Hitting the ground with coalition partners; Special Warfare Magazine; Valume 21, Issue 6; dated November–December 2008, last accessed 6 January 2019
  11. ^ History of Military Operational Parachute Jumps, Special Forces Association, dated 7 March 2013, last accessed 6 January 2019
  12. ^ These are the only 5 combat jumps by US troops that we know about since September 11, Business Insider, by Eric Milzarski from "We Are The Mighty" program, dated 7 October 2019, last accessed 9 July 2020
  13. ^ Welcome to the official website of the 2nd Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne), soc.mil, last accessed 14 April 2020
  14. ^ Special Forces Qualification Course to incorporate military free-fall training, Army.mil, by MAJ James Branch (USA), dated 4 October 2012, last accessed 22 April 2017
  15. ^ a b 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne), U.S. Army Special Operations Center of Excellence, last accessed 22 April 2017
  16. ^ a b Welcome to the official website of the Military Free-Fall Instructor Course (MFFIC), Yuma Proving Ground, AZ, www.soc.mil, last accessed 3 May 2020
  17. ^ Mastering the jump, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base official page, by Airman Nathan H. Barbour, dated 1 July 2016, last accessed 22 April 2017
  18. ^ First Ever Military Freefall Jumpmaster Course Hosted Overseas, Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System, by LCpl Jordan Talley, dated 21 April 2017, last accessed 3 January 2020
  19. ^ RA-1 Military Freefall System Config Packing, U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, curtesy of "Deez Nutz" YouTube Channel, dated 17 November 2017, last accessed 21 September 2020
  20. ^ Military Free-Fall Advanced Tactical Infiltration Course (MFFATIC), U.S. Army Special Operations Center of Excellence, last accessed 3 January 2020
  21. ^ a b c Inside the Special Forces Military Free Fall School, Coffee or Die YouTube Channel, by Marty Skovlund Jr, dated 1 May 2020, last accessed 3 May 2020