Ram's Head Device


Ram's Head Device
Ramshead Device(2).jpg
Awarded forCompletion of the Mountain Warfare School
Presented byUnited States Army
StatusCurrently awarded
Last awardedOn going
Next (higher)(Group 3 badges)
Astronaut, EOD, Aviator, Flight surgeon
Equivalent(Group 4 badges)
Pathfinder, Parachutist, Air Assault, Military Freefall Parachutist , Space Operations Badge, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab, Sapper Tab
Next (lower)(Group 5 badges)
Diver, Special Operations Diver, Driver and Mechanic, Rigger
A U.S. Air Force TACP learns ascent techniques during summer BMMC
Soldiers conduct the "Mountain Walk," a culminating event for AMWS courses
A soldier rappels down a cliff during the "Mountain Walk" event at the AMWS

The Ram's Head Device is a military special skill badge of the U.S. Army National Guard. The Ram's Head Device is awarded to any soldier after completion of the Army Mountain Warfare School (AMWS), based at the Ethan Allen Firing Range in Jericho, Vermont. The badge is authorized for wear on the uniform of Vermont National Guard soldiers[1][2][3] and those Army National Guard units belonging to the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain) from other states, such as:

However, this badge is widely worn by other graduates of the Army Mountain Warfare School though not officially authorized. The award is authorized for wear by commanders discretion in most state Army National Guards.


The Ram's Head Device, is derived from the 85th Infantry Regimental crest which is topped by a ram's head symbolizing a unit skilled in mountain activity. The 85th was one of three regiments comprising the 10th Light Division (Alpine) when it was activated in July 1943. In the 1950s, the United States Army Mountain and Cold Weather Training Command at Fort Carson and Camp Hale, Colorado adopted the Ram's Head Device as the badge worn by their cadre.[4]

In 1983, the Vermont Army National Guard Mountain Warfare School was established in Jericho, Vermont. The Ram's Head Device was adopted as the Military Mountaineer Badge denoting successful completion of the Basic Military Mountaineer Course (BMMC) and awarding of the Skill Qualification Identifier – E "Military Mountaineer." In 2003 the Vermont Army Mountain Warfare School became the United States Army Mountain Warfare School.[4]

Wear of the Ram's Head Device

DA PAM 670-1 paragraph 20-5, section j, discusses National Guard awards generally:[2]

State awards for ARNG soldiers. Army National Guard personnel are authorized to wear State awards under applicable State laws or regulations when assigned to the ARNG under the command and control of the Governor or Adjutant General, under the provisions of title 32, United States Code. The following personnel statuses are included in this authorization: Active Guard Reserve; active duty for training, active duty for special work; full-time National Guard duty for special work or training, annual training; and inactive duty training, including periods when personnel may be attached to the active component or reserve of any service, whether paid or unpaid. Personnel will wear such awards in the State order of precedence, after Federal and foreign awards. Soldiers on active Federal Service, under the provisions of title 10, United States Code, are authorized to accept but not wear State or Territory awards.

Excerpt from the State of Vermont Adjutant General's Office Permanent Order 121-01 (1 May 2006):[1]

(a) The award will be authorized and issued by the Commander, Army Mountain Warfare School upon verification of eligibility. Eligibility criteria are successful completion of both the Summer and Winter Army Mountain Warfare School courses. Retroactive awards of the Ram's Head Device are authorized. This includes personnel who have retired and/or have been discharged under honorable conditions.
(b) Wear of the Ram's Head Device
(1) The Ram's Head Device will fall into the category of special skill badges (Group 4 as noted in paragraph 29-17a (4), AR 670-1, Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia), and will not count against the total number of Group Four Badges. There is no precedence for special skill badges within groups; for example, personnel who are authorized to wear both the Parachutist Badge and the Ram's Head Device may determine the order of wear. Wear of the pin-on Ram's Head is covered in VT PAM 672-5, State of Vermont and Federal Awards, Decorations and Honors.
(2) The pin-on subdued Ram's Head Device is approved for wear with the ACU/BDU only.
(3) The Non-subdued Ram's Head Device is approved for wear with BDU's, Class A/B, and Dress Blues only.
(4) The pin-on Stabrite Ram's Head Device is approved for wear with the Class A/B and Dress Blues only.
(c) The Vermont National Guard Ram's Head Device has been established for wear by The Adjutant General of Vermont. Soldiers leaving the State of Vermont may be required to remove the Ram's Head Device for attendance at Department of the Army or other Schools.

New Award Criteria

When the Army Mountain Warfare School was put under the control of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command in 2009, only the BMMC (Summer) or BMMC (Winter) must be completed to earn the Special Qualification Identifier "E" {Military Mountaineer}, not both. Also, with the updated "History of the Ram’s Head Device" document (dated 5 September 2013) stating, "The Army Mountain Warfare School continues to award the Ram’s Head Device to soldiers who complete the BMMC." alludes that completion of only one of the phases of training (summer or winter) is now required to be awarded the Ram's Head Device. However, an update to Permanent Order 121-01 has not been found.[1][4][5][6]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Vermont Permanent Order 121-01, Web Archive, posted on Military.com, Community Discussions page on 6 February 2009, last accessed 19 December 2020
  2. ^ a b U.S. Army Pamphlet 670–1, Guide to the Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia, dated 25 May 2017, last accessed 14 March 2020
  3. ^ U.S. Army Mountain Warfare School Homepage Archived 15 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine, U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, Infantry, last updated 16, 11 Dec, last accessed 8, 12 Jun
  4. ^ a b c The History of the Ram's Read Device, U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, Infantry, Army Mountain Warfare School website, dated 5 September 2013, last accessed 7 February 2014
  5. ^ Army Mountain Warfare School, Basic Military Mountaineer Courses, U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning; updated 9 August 2013; last accessed 25 January 2014
  6. ^ United States Army Special Qualifications Identifier (SQI), E Military Mountaineer, About.com, U.S. Military; Information derived from Army Pamphlet 611-21, dated November 2000; last accessed 25 January 2014