During an U.S. Army town hall meeting on March 30, Sgt. Maj. Michael Gragg, the command sergeant major of the Center for Initial Military Training, presented the audience with an embarrassing statistic: Of the handful of soldiers recently tested on the use of the M40-series protective mask, only less than half knew how to wear it properly. This isn’t rocket science: It’s one of the most fundamental tasks soldiers are expected to perform upon graduating basic training.
Earlier this year, the Army announced plans for a new badge to test soldiers from military occupational specialities who don’t have a formal way to certify their skills. Under the plan, everyone — not just grunts, medics or non-infantry soldiers who see combat — can get a badge.
So you’re not infantry. You’re not a medic. You don’t have any brushed-metallic way of signaling you’re kind of a big deal in your particular military occupational specialty. You know what this means? WE HAVE A CRITICAL BADGE GAP. And the Army is here to help fill that sucker for you.