Army Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB)

The Combat Infantryman Badge or CIB, is an award which is presented to those Officers, Warrant Officers and Enlisted Soldiers who participate in active ground combat while assigned as a member of an Infantry or Special Forces unit, brigade or smaller size, during any period after December 6, 1941. It was created with the primary goal of recognizing the sacrifices of the Infantrymen who were disproportionately likely to be killed or wounded during World War II.

The Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) and the Expert Infantryman Badge (EIB) were established by Section I, War Department Circular 269, dated October 27, 1943:

The present war has demonstrated the importance of highly proficient, tough, hard and aggressive infantry, which can be obtained only by developing a high degree of individual all-around proficiency on the part of every infantryman. As a means of attaining the high standards desired and to foster esprit de corps in infantry units; the Expert Infantryman and the Combat Infantryman badges are established for infantry personnel.

This circular also stated that, “only one of these badges will be worn at one time” and that “the Combat Infantryman Badge is the highest award.”

Award of the CIB was officially authorized by an executive order dated November 15, 1943. It was made retroactive to December 6, 1941.

By Act of Congress approved on June 10, 1944, all Soldiers, except Officers, awarded the CIB were entitled to an additional $10 per month! Army regs issued during World War II never prescribed a specific period of time an Infantryman had to serve in combat to be eligible for the CIB.

In 1947, a policy was implemented that authorized the retroactive award of the Bronze Star to soldiers who had received the Combat Infantryman Badge during World War II. The basis for doing this was that the CIB was awarded only to Soldiers who had borne combat duties befitting the Bronze Star Medal and also that both awards required a recommendation by the Commander and a citation in orders. Work to establish the CIB was initiated by General Marshall, who had been prompted by Medal of Honor recipient Major Charles W. Davis’ observation to him that “it would be wonderful if someone could design a badge for every Infantryman who faces the enemy every day and every night with so little recognition.”

For more information about the specific requirements and regulations, see AR 600-8-22.  The primary regulation lies below…

8–6. Combat Infantryman Badge

  • a. For award of the CIB a Soldier must meet the following three requirements:
  • (1) Be an infantryman satisfactorily performing infantry duties.
  • (2) Assigned to an infantry unit during such time as the unit is engaged in active ground combat.
  • (3) Actively participate in such ground combat. Campaign or battle credit alone is not sufficient for award of the CIB.
  • bThe specific eligibility criteria for the CIB require that
  • (1) A Soldier must be an Army infantry or Special Forces officer (SSI 11 or 18) in the grade of colonel or below, or an Army enlisted Soldier or warrant officer with an infantry or Special Forces MOS, who subsequent to 6 December 1941 has satisfactorily performed duty while assigned or attached as a member of an infantry, ranger or Special Forces unit of brigade, regimental, or smaller size during any period such unit was engaged in active ground combat. Eligibility for Special Forces personnel in Military occupational Specialties (MOS) 18B, 18E, 18F, and 18Z (less Special Forces medical sergeant) accrues from 20 December 1989. Retroactive awards of the CIB to Special Forces personnel are not authorized prior to 20 December 1989.

Final Thoughts

I would love to hear your personal stories or thoughts about the Army Combat Infantryman Badge.  Leave a comment to let us know what you think about he CIB, or the story behind how you earned yours!

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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1 thought on “Army Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB)”

  1. Candace Ginestar

    This article should be linked to the article about the CAB, so people can reference back and forth. There seemed to some issues and questions on the CAB article, regarding the CIB.

    That said, the only thing I think is weird is that GWOT is considered one period of eligibility, whether Iraq or Afghanistan, kind of a bummer there, but that’s the way it is. Not sure why it all got lumped together like that, but so be it!

    My husband earned his man badge 10 years ago, and he says some of the battles feel like yesterday to him.

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