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Marines Unveil New Drone Operator Badge Design

The Marines Corps’ new Drone Operator badge design. (Image: Marine Corps)
The Marines Corps’ new Drone Operator badge design. (Image: Marine Corps)

The newest approved breast insignia for Marine officers and enlisted troops is here and ready to be worn.

This week, the Marine Corps unveiled the pair of badges. While Commandant Gen. Robert Neller approved the devices for wear last November, the badges were then still in the design phase, officials said at the time.

A Marine Corps illustration shows the final design. The officers' badge is all gold, featuring a pair of wings nearly three inches in width with a downward-pointing "delta" on a shield over crossed anchors.

The enlisted badge also has the gold wings, but the "delta" -- a stylized "V" -- is in silver, with a silver circle bordering it.

If the device strikes you as slightly reminiscent of Star Trek, you're not wrong. The Iconic Star Trek insignia featured a slightly off-center upside-down silver "V," sometimes with a circular gold background.

Unmanned aerial systems officers and enlisted operators joined the small community of Marines authorized to wear a breast insignia as part of a slate of decisions made by the Marine Corps Uniform Board late last year.

The decision followed the Pentagon's creation of an "R" distinguishing device on awards to honor contributions to battle from a remote location. The device is most commonly associated with drone operators.

The two decisions highlight the services' efforts to emphasize the contributions of military drone operators as unmanned systems become an increasingly significant feature of warfighting.

Other Marine Corps communities authorized a specialized breast insignia include MARSOC Raiders, explosive ordnance disposal Marines, combat divers, navigators, parachutists, aviators, and air crew members.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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