The coveted US Army Parachutist Badge (aka “Jump Wings”) is an Award Device issued to US Military Personnel who complete Training as Military Paratroopers. The Training is not contingent upon being an Infantryman or related Combat Arms Skills Holder (although it is highly desirable to them). The current Training School is located at Fort Benning, Georgia. In additional to all US Military Personnel, Foreign Military Personnel from around The World attend “Jump School” (also known as “Airborne Training”).
Designed in 1941, the silver metal device replaced a simple colored Patch, which identified the fledgling American Paratrooper Training Program. In design, it is a 3-inch wide engraving of a fully deployed Parachute with a rearward apex featuring fulling deployed Lead Lines (also known as Guide Lines). Flanking both sides of The Parachute, are stylized Wings.
There are (3) Classifications of “Jump Wings”. The first (described above), is The Basic issue for all Graduates of Training. This requires completion of 3-weeks of Training and a minimum of (5) completed Exits (Jumps) from an Aircraft in various configurations. The Second Class is known as The Senior Badge. This is identical to The Basic Badge, with the addition of a (5) Pointed Silver Star mounted above The Parachute Device. The criteria for issue is that a Soldier must have completed a minimum of 30-Jumps, have completed a Senior Course known as “Jumpmaster School” and has served in an Airborne Combat Unit for a minimum of 24-months. The final Class is known as The Master Parachutist. This is identical to The Senior Badge in that a Silver Wreath is applied to The Star. To qualify, a Paratrooper has to complete 65-jumps, completed Jumpmaster and Rigger (Chute School) and likewise served with an Airborne Unit for 24-Months.
In terms of actual Combat Jumps, if they are made – the adding of a small Gold Star to first The Parachute Device and subsequently each Wing, can be added. These are considered very rare since World War II. One of the most physically demanding 3-weeks of training, Airborne School is broken down into (3) Phases, A Ground Week (which is the physical fitness “Pass or Fail” Phase), Tower Week (in which Candidates learn to free fall from various heights and devices which approximate an Aircraft and finally – Jump Week (in which Students implement their training learned making 5 actual Jumps from an Aircraft).