11th Pathfinder Company (Provisional)

Pathfinder Badge

The first Pathfinder Badge, originally made from felt, was designed by LT Prescott, a navigator in the 9th Troop Carrier Pathfinder Group (Provisional), in May 1944. The badge's wings symbolize flight and airborne capabilities, while the torch represents leadership and guidance. Besides the paratroopers who earned it, the Pathfinder Badge was worn by 9th Troop Carrier Command air crews who guided paratrooper transports and towed gliders. This badge was worn four inches above the left sleeve cuff on the service coat. The current Pathfinder Badge design was approved on 22 May 1964. The badge began being made of enameled metal on 11 October 1968.

Army Pathfinders traditionally were the first to arrive on the ground ahead of larger elements in order to scout and designate areas in which aviation assets could perform their operations during combat. To be awarded the Pathfinder Badge, a Soldier must complete Pathfinder instruction in advanced land navigation, advanced scouting, tactical air traffic control and the control of parachute operations. The badge is awarded on completion of several examinations under field conditions.  Examinations include proficiency in sling load rigging and execution, planning and execution of helicopter landing zones, air traffic control operations and the aerial delivery of troops and supplies.