1. Who is entitled to wear the ICB?
Members of the Royal Australian Infantry Corps who, in an infantry posting as part of an Infantry Battalion were deployed for, at least, 90 days to an operational area and subsequently awarded the Infantry Combat Badge.
2. Who can authorise the award of the ICB?
Infantry Battalion Commanding Officers (CO) of deployed operational units are authorised to approve the award of the ICB for Infantry Corps members of the Unit. All other approvals can only be authorised by the Head of Corps, Royal Australian Infantry Corps (HOC, RAInf).
3. If I believe that I am entitled to wear the ICB, can I simply wear it without being authorised?
No. You must be individually authorised to wear the ICB. It is an offence under Section 80B of the Defence Act 1903, for a person who wears a service decoration and falsely represents themselves as being the person upon whom a service decoration has been conferred. A Service decoration is defined as "any …badge… that was or may be conferred for …participation in a campaign or other warlike operation… ".
4. Is a non-Infantry Corps member entitled to wear the ICB?
Yes, but only if the recipient has been awarded it under the exceptional circumstances provision of the Defence Instruction (Army), whereby the non-Infantry member was employed in a primary role as an Infantryman. This means where the member is posted to an Infantry Corps-coded position in an Infantry unit, and on operations, gives service, which is indistinguishable from that which entitles an Infantryman of the same unit to receive the ICB. The member's Commanding Officer, in making a recommendation, to the Head of Corps, for the award of the ICB to a non-RAInf member, must certify that the member's operational service to be indistinguishable as defined in the Defence Instruction (Army).
5. What is the history behind the ICB? Why are only infantrymen eligible to wear it?
The ICB was first established in July 1970 for recognition of Infantry service in battle or on operations, following the decision of the Military Board in January 1970. The role of the Infantry is to seek out and close with the enemy, to kill or capture him, to seize and to hold ground, to repel attack, by night and day, regardless of season, weather or terrain.
The purpose of the ICB is to recognise this unique role and the particular training, skills and hardships attendant upon service as an Infantryman. In exceptional circumstances, the ICB may be awarded to members of other corps, where they have qualified for it as infantrymen.
In January 1970, Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Daly KBE, DSO, as the Chief of the General Staff and part of the Military Board, laid the original basis for the ICB. He is recorded in the minutes as saying, "whilst he appreciated the views expressed (in the Military Board) it was to be borne in mind that the proposed badge was meant to be a visible distinction for the Infantryman and was not a general combat badge. He said the other corps had their responsibilities and neither their worth nor performance, were in question. However he could not accept that an Infantry award should be granted to members of other Corps unless they qualified for it as Infantrymen."
6. Why does the badge contain the word 'combat' in its title? Does it mean that you need to have been involved in combat to be entitled to wear the ICB?
In the lead up to its consideration in January 1970, the suggested basis for the ICB was that it should only be awarded to Infantrymen who had personally taken part in combat. This view was rejected by the Military Board in January 1970 due to the possible derisiveness that could have arisen amongst Battalion members, who considered themselves part of an Infantry team. Subsequently all members of the Royal Australian Infantry Corps, in an infantry position, within an Infantry Unit, regardless of their employment, if deployed with their unit on operations for 90 days, were eligible for the ICB. Therefore an eligible ICB recipient does not need to have personally engage in combat but does need to have been part of an Infantry Unit deployed on warlike operations.
7. Why didn't the Army approve combat badges for other Corps in 1970?
The ICB was established as an Infantry award to recognize its unique role. Whilst there is no available evidence to indicate whether there was an intent for other Corps to have a combat badge, the majority of Heads of Corps, when consulted in relation to the ICB, did not agree that ICB eligibility should be extended to include their members, when deploying on operations with Infantry units. Their basic objections involved the divisive effect of the award within their Corps and the difficulties in determining eligibility.
8. Do any other countries have something similar to an Infantry Combat Badge?
Yes, the USA is the only country with something similar, which is called the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB), which has similar eligibility criteria. The CIB was established in 1943, effective from 7 December 1941. When being established, it was recognised that, of all soldiers, the Infantryman continuously operated under the worst conditions and performed a mission, which was not assigned to any other soldier or unit. The CIB was to be an award, which would provide special recognition of the unique role of the Army Infantryman, the only soldier whose daily mission is to close with and destroy the enemy and to seize and hold terrain. It is interesting to note that in developing the CIB, the US War Department did not dismiss out of hand or ignore the contributions of other branches.
Their vital contributions to the overall war effort were certainly noted, but it was decided that other awards and decorations were sufficient to recognise their contributions. From the beginning, US Army leaders have taken care to retain the badge for the unique purpose for which it was established and to prevent the adoption of any other badge, which would lower its prestige. At the close of World War II, the largest US war in which armour and artillery played key roles in the ground campaigns, a review was conducted of the CIB criteria with consideration being given to creating either additional badges or authorising the badge to cavalry and armour units. The review noted that any change in policy would detract from the prestige of the badge.
9. Are non-Infantry Corps members, such as Royal Australian Signals and Royal Australian Artillery Corps members, who were permanently attached to Infantry Battalions during the Vietnam conflict, entitled to wear the wear the ICB?
Generally, no. The non-Infantry Corps member must have been posted (not attached) to an Infantry Unit. Other Corps members attached, permanently or otherwise, to Infantry Battalions but employed in their primary corps role may include:
Signallers - Royal Australian Signals Corps (RASigs);
Forward Observers (FO) parties - Royal Australian Artillery (RAA);
Engineers - Royal Australian Engineers (RAE); and
Medical Assistants (Medics) - Royal Australian Army Medical Corps (RAAMC).
The attached members are not, normally, entitled to the ICB, as they were not employed as Infantrymen. The important deciding factor is "were they employed in their primary role as Infantrymen for 90 days or more". There should be no confusion between Infantry Corps responsibilities and basic all-Corps responsibilities.
10. I am aware of a situation where a non-Infantry Corps member received the ICB for doing the same job as myself (another non-Infantry Corps member). Why can't I get the ICB?
There have been several incidences, normally during the Vietnam War, where some non-Infantry Corps members were recommended by their Commanding Officer and approved to wear the ICB for their service in Vietnam. As a rule, this type of precedence is not an allowable basis for any ICB approvals and a applicant must satisfy the requirements for non-RAInf members as it exists at the time of application.
11. I served in the Infantry Corps during World War II. Am I entitled to wear the ICB?
No, the ICB is only awarded for operational service commencing from the Korean War.
12. I served with 2 RAR in Malaya during 1961 and 1963. Am I entitled to wear the ICB?
2 RAR's operational service during its time in Malaya was restricted to two deployments to the Thai/Malay border. The first deployment involved the bulk of the Battalion from 1 August to 12 October 1962 (73 days). The second deployment from 28 May to 2 July 1963 (36 days) involved C and D Companies, the Mortar Platoon, a composite platoon from the Assault Pioneers and Ant-Tank Platoon and a platoon from A Company. Individually each deployment period is below the required 90-day eligibility period but when taken together satisfy the 90-day period.
Difficulties arise in assessing applications because the first operation deployment in 1962 was not recorded in each member's record of service. The second deployment in 1963 is recorded in the deployed members' record of service. ICB applicants, who participated in the second deployment of 1963, should obtain some type of support material to prove their first deployment to the Thai/Malay border area. This can be in the form of a corroborating statement from an appropriate senior person at the time, such as a Company Commander or Commanding Officer, who can certify the applicant's involvement in the first deployment.
13. I served in the Infantry corps during the Vietnam War with the 1st Australian Reinforcement Unit (1 ARU). Am I entitled to wear the ICB?
No. 1 ARU is not designated an Infantry Unit for the purposes of an ICB and there are no plans to designate it as such.
14. I served in the Infantry Corps during the Vietnam War both with an Infantry battalion and with 1 ARU. (1st Australian Reinforcement Unit). My operational service, however, in the Infantry battalion was less than 90 days. Can I use any of my 1 ARU service to make up my 90 days?
Generally no, but consideration may be given if the operational service in the Infantry Battalion was extremely close to the 90 days. Success cannot be guaranteed and will depend upon the circumstances.
15. If I achieved 85 days operational service in an Infantry Unit, would I still qualify for the ICB?
No. The applicant must satisfy the period required.
16. Are non-Infantry Corps members of the Australian Army Training Team, Vietnam (AATTV) entitled to wear the ICB?
Yes. Non-Infantry members of the AATTV may be awarded the ICB, but only in exceptional circumstances, where the operational service with AATTV was at least equivalent to that which entitled Infantry Corps members to receive the badge. This means that they must have served with a South Vietnam (SVN) operational Infantry Battalion for, at least, 90 days with Royal Australian Infantry Corps colleagues who also received the ICB for such service. There must also be a recommendation from a Commanding Officer/Company Commander, or other appropriate senior person at the time, and who can also certify that the non-infantry AATTV member was employed with the SVN Infantry unit in a training adviser role for the period required.
17. As an eligible ex-member, when may I wear the ICB?
The ICB may be worn by eligible ex-members, who subsequently join other uniformed organisations with dress regulations that permit the wearing, in uniform, of military awards. Eligible ex-members may also wear the ICB, with the appropriate uniform, when attending military functions. The ICB may also be worn on civilian clothes on occasions at which medals are worn.
18. Where can I obtain an ICB badge?
Eligible serving members are issued two badges from the unit Q store. Eligible ex-members are provided one badge at the time of their application. Replacements may be purchased from the Royal Australian Infantry Corps Shop at Singleton or most militaria shops. Some type of confirmatory entitlement may have to be provided at time of purchase. Please note that you need to be authorised to wear the ICB otherwise you may commit an offence as indicated in the answer to FAQ 3.
19. Is there a miniature ICB version?
Yes, but it may only be worn on Army mess dress or civilian clothing at military dinner functions where miniature medals are also worn.
20. Who is responsible for provide the necessary evidence to support an ICB application?
In retrospective cases, it is the applicant's responsibility to provide all necessary documentation, including obtaining recommendation from the Commanding Officer or appropriate senior person at the time.
Inadequate/insufficient documentation, including failure of Army records to correctly record a member's operational service, will result in the award being not approved.
21. How can I apply for the ICB?
As an ex-member, you should write to Army Medals Section, Directorate of Honours and Awards, Department of Defence, Canberra, ACT 2600. As a serving member, applications should be made through unit Orderly Room or Customer Service Centres.
22. Is it possible that as an Infantry Corps member, having satisfied the eligibility criteria, I could be refused approval to wear the ICB?
Yes. The eligibility criteria are, at least, 90 days satisfactory operational service therefore if any part of that service is deemed to be not satisfactory, then the member may be refused.
23. As a serving Infantry Corps member, what appeal avenues do I have if I am refused the ICB by my Commanding Officer?
The normal Redress of Grievance (ROG) process, which will ultimately be determined by HOC RAInf.