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.
|Military Freefall Parachutist Badge|
|Awarded for||Qualification as a high-altitude parachutist|
|Presented by||U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force|
|First awarded||1 October 1994|
|Last awarded||On going|
|Next (higher)||Parachute Rigger Badge|
|Next (lower)||Army Aviator Badges|
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.
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.
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:
|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|
|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|
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.
Symbolism of the badge's design:
The U.S. Military Free-Fall School (MFFS) is operated by the USASOC's John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (SWCS), 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. 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. 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. 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.
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 at the MSG George A Bannar Wind Tunnel as well as 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:
Upon completion of the MFFPC, graduates are awarded the Military Freefall Parachutist Badge.
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:
Upon completion of the MFFJMC, graduates are awarded the Master Military Freefall Parachutist Badge.
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:
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.
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:
After nine weeks of fundamentals, student-instructors are placed as shadows at the MFFPC for three to six months.
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.