In the Army, badges signify a soldier's special skills and abilities. Badges also perform that function for Army cadets. For this reason, badges are highly sought after by cadets and can look impressive on a resume, whether or not the cadet chooses to pursue a military career.
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A soldier's most basic function is using a rifle, and for Army cadets, shooting proficiency is rewarded. There are three levels of marksmanship badges that a cadet can earn, ranging from minimal to maximum proficiency: Marksman, Expert and Sharpshooter. Under the marksmanship badge, the cadet hangs a small "ladder " (metal plate) to signify proficiency in a particular weapon. JROTC cadets use ladders marked "Air Rifle" or "Small Bore Rifle." ROTC cadets use ladders like the regular Army, marked "Rifle" or "Pistol."
Unity Stars signify that the cadet is currently assigned to a unit that has received official recognition from superior officers. There are three different Unity Stars: blue, yellow and white. A blue star means that the cadet is serving in an Honor Unit. The yellow star means that the cadet is serving in an Honor Unit with Distinction. Finally, the white start signifies service in a Merit Unit.
JROTC and ROTC cadets are expected to stay on top of their schoolwork in addition to all required military duties. For those cadets whose grades put them in the top 10 per cent of the cadet battalion, there is the Academic Wreath. The Academic Wreath is 7/8 inch in height and consists of two gold olive branches crossed at the stems.
ROTC cadets are eligible to attend the Army's Basic Airborne Course. BAC is located at Fort Benning, Georgia and lasts three weeks. Cadets learn about checking parachute harnesses, exiting an aircraft during flight and proper landing techniques. Graduates receive their "jump wings," a silver badge that consists of a parachute enclosed by a pair of wings.
The Air Assault Course teaches ROTC cadets how to rappel from hovering helicopters onto the battlefield. They also learn how to properly tie sling loads so that helicopters can lift heavy items like trucks and bridge segments. Upon completion of the course, cadets earn the Air Assault Badge. The badge is silver, with the front view of a helicopter enclosed by a pair of wings.
Nurse Cadet Badge
ROTC cadets who are majoring in nursing are eligible to wear the Nurse Cadet Badge. The badge is 7/8 inch in height. It consists of a gold caduceus over larger black Maltese Cross background .
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