The Air Force has announced the new specialty badge for those in the new field of “cyber operations.” The badge is supposed to be composed of lightning bolts, a globe, and four space orbits, but to most casual observers it is a “prop and wings:”
From the official description:
The design element of the badge holds significant meaning. The lightning bolt wings signify the cyberspace domain while the globe signifies the projection of cyber power world-wide. The globe, combined with lightning bolt wings, signifies the Air Force’s common communications heritage. The bolted wings, centered on the globe, are a design element from the Air Force seal signifying the striking power through air, space and cyberspace. The orbits signify the space dimension of the cyberspace domain.
The official news release has generated a slew of comments, almost all of which deride the “fake wings” for “non-aviators.” Detractors aren’t begrudging the “cyberwarriors” their badge, simply the familiar looking design. Predictably, any time the military “appropriates” one of its more unique symbols, particularly those sometimes jealously guarded, there is resistance. The Air Force went through a similar spat when it replaced the missileer badge with “space wings,” and the Army experienced the same thing when it made the black beret the standard cover, much to the chagrin of the black beret wearing Rangers. (The Rangers now wear a tan beret.)
Still, there is some entertainment to be found. Said one commenter:
The haters are envious of the rock star lightning bolts. Besides, it’s just metallic chest glitter. This isn’t 1942. My cyber skills are all that matter. I might even start wearing a scarf and goggles with my new piece of flash while flying, fighting and winning in cyberspace. To infinity and beyond!
Cyber Space Cowboy, NC