The Air Assault Parity Coalition Stakeholders Meeting was held on 14 August 2003 in Reno, Nevada in conjunction with the 101st Airborne Division Association Annual Reunion. Participants discussed the following options:
OPTION 1: Ammend current Air Assault Badge to read, "Authorized for individuals who participated in at least one combat air assault prior to 1 April 1974."
OPTION 2: Ammend current Air Assault Badge to include Combat Stars, Senior Air Assault and Master Air Assault awards (as found in the Parachutist Badge regulations), retroactive to 1964.
OPTION 3: Develop a new Combat Air Assault Badge for individuals who participated in at least one combat air assault retroactive to 1964 using original 11th Air Assault Badge (displayed below).
Participants agreed on Option One, the retroactive award of the current Air Assault Badge. The following draft for a bill in Congress is being submitted to Congress for action:
D R A F T
To direct the Secretary of the Army to amend the award eligibility for the current Air Assault Badge to include retroactive awards for Vietnam combat veterans.
SECTION 1. FINDINGS.
Congress makes the following findings:
1. Air assault technology was developed in 1964 by the 11th Air Assault Division (Test).
2. The original air assault badge was awarded to the 11th Air Assault Division (Test) before the11th Air Assault Division (Test) was merged with 1st Cavalry Division and shipped to Vietnam.
3. The original air assault badge was worn in Vietnam by the 1st Cavalry Division and later in the 101st Airborne Division as the Airmobile Badge.
4. The original air assault badge was never approved by the Army.
5. Air assault technology was refined in combat operations in the Republic of Vietnam by combat units conducting air assault operation between 1965 and 1972.
6. During the development of the current Air Assault Badge award, between 1974 and 1978, the Army "considered and rejected" retroactive awards to Vietnam combat veterans.
7. Repeated requests to the Army by Vietnam combat veterans for the retroactive awarding of the current Air Assault Badge have been denied.
8. The failure of the Army to make a retroactive award to Vietnam combat veterans resulted in additional insults to Vietnam combat veterans who were ridiculed by the public upon return from combat.
9. An Army precedence for similar retroactive awards exists with the Freefall Badge (in 1997 awarded retroactive to before 1994), Rigger Badge (in 1999 awarded retroactive to 1951) and the Aviation Badge (in 2000 awarded retroactive to 1947).
10. The Parachutist Badge has ALWAYS been awarded EITHER for completing prescribed training OR by participating in at least one combat parachute jump.
11. The retroactive award of the current Air Assault Badge is supported by the Air Assault Parity Coalition, the 101st Airborne Division Association, the 1st Cavalry Division Association, the Americal Division Association, the 11th Air Assault Division (Test) Association, the 101st Airborne Division Vietnam Veteran Association, the 506th Airborne Infantry Regiment Association, the 196th Infantry Association and the Texas and Illinois Veterans of Foreign Wars.
SECTION 2. RETROACTIVE AWARD OF THE AIR ASSAULT BADGE TO VIETNAM COMBAT VETERANS.
a. The Secretary of the Army shall amend the award eligibility for the current Air Assault Badge to include, "Awarded to individuals who, prior to 1 April 1974, participated in at least one combat air assault while assigned or attached to a combat unit conducting air assault operations in the Republic of Vietnam.
b. Participation in at least one combat air assault while assigned or attached to a combat unit conducting air assault operations may be verified by the previous award of the Combat Infantrymans Badge, Combat Medical Badge, Air Medal, Aviator Wings or Aircrew Wings while serving in the Republic of Vietnam or other official military records.
(This draft follows the format for similar bills such as the Combat Medevac Badge (HR2587), Combat Medical Badge (SB1487) and Combat Artillery Medal (HR1127)).
Reno Hilton Hotel - site of the Stakeholders Meeting.
Use the link to the right to contact the Coordinator for the Air Assault Parity Coalition.