WASHINGTON — Department of the Army officials announced today that the Air Assault Badge would phased out and a new Sexual Assault Survivor Badge would be added to AR 670-1.
“Victims of sexual assault will no longer be forced to suffer in silence. The Air Assault Badge was less about showing that you had a valuable skill and more about showing how much pain you could endure,” said Col. Richard Stockman, Army G1. “The new Sexual Assault Survivor Badge serves as public reminder that one can be subjected to some of the most intense physical and emotional suffering imaginable and still serve with pride.”
Like other additional skill identifier badges, wear of the Sexual Assault Survivor Badge will not be mandatory.
“This will shut up a lot of those media types who keep saying that we won’t talk openly about sexual assault,” said Sgt. Maj. Ray Pressman. “I’ll be talking pretty fuckin’ clearly when I tell you that your Sexual Assault Survivor Badge needs to be exactly ¼ inch above your ribbons.”
The new tab is already under attack from the military community.
“The Air Assault Badge showed that you were elite," said Capt. Mark Shoreditch, an ordnance officer who will be losing his only tab. “About 1 in 3 military females have been sexually assaulted. That’s far too common. Why have a tab that you’re just going to give to everyone?”
Of the soldiers interviewed, many expressed concern at the loss of the Air Assault Badge in terms of impressing each other and alterations costs. However, no one interviewed had ever met someone who had completed an air assault mission.
The Sexual Assault Survivor Badge garnered considerably more comments, with many calling it “perverse” or “disgusting.” Others saw it as a step towards bringing a contentious issue to light.
“I have a feeling that a lot of senior officers are going to chase that tab just like it was a Combat Action Badge,” said Sgt. Amanda Crossman, one of the first to wear the new tab. “Once that starts happening, I think we’ll see a few policy changes.”