The Missile Badge
From the issue of the first badge in 1958, our Missile Badge has undergone many changes, both in design and in the way it was earned. The name has also changed a few times. One thing still hasn't changed - the badge that was originally called the Guided Missile Insignia, still looks the same as it did in 1958. We have added stars, wreaths and names over the years.
AAFM Member Maj (Ret) Greg Ogletree wrote an excellent history of the badge, and AAFM has published it and made it available. Download the a copy (PDF), and an additional update (PDF), or you can order a print version from the online store.
The Current Six Versions of the Badge
First Missile Badge
Col William Erlenbusch and MSgt Jake Kindsfather received the first two badges from the Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen Thomas White, during a ceremony in July 1958. Col Erlenbusch was the commander of the 864th Strategic Missile Squadron, the initial Jupiter unit at Huntsville, AL.
The family of the late Col William Erlenbusch presented the actual first missile badge - known then as the guided missile insignia - to Gen Lance Lord, then Commander, AF Space Command. (pictured left)
Gone and Back Again
In 2005, the new Space Badge replaced the missile badge for missileers in operations. On 6 June 2008, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen T. Michael Moseley conducted a ceremony at the National Museum of the Air Force, awarding the missile badge with operations designator to 14 officers representing the ICBM wings and training and test units.
The return of the badge was a move to reemphasize the importance of the nuclear mission. Since then, missile operators wear the missile badge with operations designator. Maintainers had continued to wear the original missile badge, now called the missile maintenance badge.