Air Force personnel wear a variety of badges that designate awards they’ve earned during their career. Most badges have 3 levels: Basic, Senior, and Master, however Aeronautical badges for Pilots (including drone operators), Navigators/Combat Systems Officers/Observers, and Air Battle Managers are awarded at Basic, Senior, and Command levels; while flight nurses and flight surgeons are awarded ratings at the Basic, Senior, and Chief levels.
The Basic level badge is earned after completing technical school, Senior after reaching the 7 skill level, and Master as a Master Sergeant or after 5 years of specialization at the 7 skill level. The star and wreath indicate which level the Airman has earned.
Some badges, such as Chaplain, Missile Operations, and Aeronautical, are required to be worn on the uniform. The only Air Force badge that can be worn on apparel other than a USAF uniform is the Space Operations Badge.
The badges are categorized as:
- Joint Service Qualification
- Special Investigations