A silver badge 2 inches (5.08cm) in width overall consisting of an oak wreath supporting a rectangle bearing a bayonet surmounting a grenade, all silver. Stars are added at the top to indicate subsequent awards; one star for the second award, two stars for the third award and three stars for the fourth award.
In keeping with the spirit of the Warrior Ethos, the Combat Action Badge provides special recognition to Soldiers who personally engage the enemy, or are engaged by the enemy during combat operations. The bayonet and grenade are associated with active combat. The oak wreath symbolizes strength and loyalty.
The Combat Action Badge (CAB) may be awarded by any commander delegated authority by the Secretary of the Army during wartime or the CG, U.S. Army Human Resources Command and will be announced in permanent orders.
(1) The requirements for award of the CAB are Branch and MOS immaterial. Assignment to a Combat Arms unit or a unit organized to conduct close or offensive combat operations, or performing offensive combat operations is not required to qualify for the CAB. However, it is not intended to award all soldiers who serve in a combat zone or imminent danger area.
(2) Specific Eligibility Requirements:
a. May be awarded to any soldier.
b. Soldier must be performing assigned duties in an area where hostile fire pay or imminent danger pay is authorized.
c. Soldier must be personally present and actively engaging or being engaged by the enemy, and performing satisfactorily in accordance with the prescribed rules of engagement.
d. Soldier must not be assigned/attached to a unit that would qualify the soldier for the CIB/CMB.
(3) May be awarded to members from the other U.S. Armed Forces and foreign soldiers assigned to a U.S. Army unit, provided they meet the above criteria.
(4) Award of the CAB is authorized from 18 September 2001 to a date to be determined. Award for qualifying service in any previous conflict is not authorized.
(5) Subsequent awards:
a. Only one CAB may be awarded during a qualifying period.
b. Second and third awards of the CAB for subsequent qualifying periods will be indicated by superimposing one and two stars respectively, centered at the top of the badge between the points of the oak wreath.
(6) Retroactive awards for the CAB are not authorized prior to 18 September 2001, applications (to include supporting documentation) for retroactive awards of the CAB will be forwarded through the first two star general in the chain of command to CG, U.S. Army Human Resources Command, ATTN: AHRC-PDO-PA, Alexandria, VA 22332-0471.
(7) Wear policy is contained in Army Regulation 670-1.
(8) Soldiers may be awarded the CIB, CMB and CAB for the same qualifying period, provided the criteria for each badge is met. However, subsequent awards of the same badge within the same qualifying period are not authorized.
On 2 May 2005, the Chief of Staff, Army, approved the creation of the CAB to provide special recognition to soldiers who personally engage, or are engaged by the enemy. HQDA Letter 600-05-1, dated 3 June 2005, announced the establishment of the Combat Action Badge.
Subdued badges are authorized in metal and cloth. The metal badge has a black finish. The cloth badge has olive green base cloth with the bayonet, grenade, oak wreath and border of the bar embroidered in black.
A dress miniature badge, 1 1/4 inches (3.18 cm) in length is authorized for wear on the mess uniforms. A miniature badge, 1 3/4 inches (4.45 cm) is also authorized in lieu of the regular size badge.