173 Airborne Brigade Combat Team
Shoulder Sleeve Insignia
On a blue silhouetted right cylinder 3 inches (7.62 cm) in height and 2 inches (5.08 cm) in width overall within a 1/8 inch (.32 cm) white border a vertical white wing in flight, the ulna (lower end) extended and hooked around a red bayonet. Attached above the insignia is a blue tab inscribed "AIRBORNE" in white.
The bayonet is used to refer to the brigade being borne by the wing alludes to the brigade's airborne status. Red, white and blue are the national colors.
The shoulder sleeve insignia was originally approved on 13 May 1963. It was amended to correct the dimensions on 29 July 1963. The insignia was amended to include the tab and update the description on 26 April 2000. It was redesignated for the 173d Airborne Brigade Combat Team on 11 October 2006. (TIOH Drawing Number A-1-310)
Combat Service Identification Badge
A silver color metal and enamel device 2 inches (5.08 cm) in height consisting of a design similar to the shoulder sleeve insignia.
Distinctive Unit Insignia
A silver color metal and enamel device 1 1/4 inches (3.18 cm) in height overall consisting of a semi-circle divided into three sections each with concave base, the outer two sections silver and the center section of red, a vertical silver unsheathed sword point to base, the hilt resting on the red section of the semi-circle the lower edge of the guard coinciding with the concave base and the ends conjoined with the silver sections the blade between two lightning flashes points to base the points converging toward the point of the blade the flashes parallel to and enclosed by two narrow inclined silver lines starting at the diameter periphery of the semi-circle and meeting beneath the point of the sword, the area so enclosed of blue all above a stylized motto scroll, the ends simulating wings and terminating at the base of the semi-circle, bearing the inscription "SKY SOLDIERS" in blue letters; the areas between the narrow silver lines and motto scroll recessed and of silver.
The simulated parachute and stylized wings refer to the airborne mission of the Brigade. The unsheathed sword, point to base (implying from sky to ground) and the hilt against the red section of the parachute canopy, alludes to the combat assault jump made by the Brigade in February 1967, the first such jump made by any unit in Vietnam indicated by the "V" formed by the two lightning flashes on the V-shaped silver edged blue area. The single sword also alludes to other Brigade "firsts" such as first American ground unit in Vietnam, first in War Zones C and D and first in the Iron Triangle. The lightning flashes are also symbolic of the Brigade's striking power and surprise and rapidity of movement. The numerical designation of the Brigade can be readily simulated by various combinations of the design elements, i.e., the sword indicating one (1), the sum of the wings, the two lightning flashes and the three sections of the parachute canopy being Seven (7) and the latter by itself also being used for three (3).
The distinctive unit insignia was originally approved for the 173d Airborne Brigade on 10 August 1967. The insignia was redesignated for the 173d Airborne Brigade Combat Team with the description updated on 11 October 2006.