Symbols are important.
Civilizations, organizations, corporations, and even an individual’s identity are built on and around symbols. They communicate values, demonstrate principles, express aspirations, declare intentions, assert purpose, affirm origins, and galvanize solidarity. Symbols are powerful because they instill pride, evoke camaraderie, and spur individuals to strive harder in their pursuits.
The proud graduates of the Active Duty Special Operations Civil Affairs Qualification Course, referred to in this paper as the SOF CAQC, need such a symbol. The pipehawks do not go far enough, since they are designed to honor the past, and they do not drive the branch forward. The professional Soldiers who make up the branch deserve more. They deserve a symbol to recognize their accomplishments, communicate their expertise, and most importantly, foster esprit de corps.
All Civil Affairs (CA) Soldiers who graduate from SOF CAQC should be awarded a “Civil Affairs” tab. A tab will identify CA Soldiers as competent and qualified to foreign counterparts and civilian partners. This tab will acknowledge the bearer’s excellence and dedication in completing the SOF CAQC, distinguishing an individual from those who have not completed the necessary rigors, and identify them as professionals in the realm of the civil domain. Above all, the “Civil Affairs” tab will simultaneously catalyze camaraderie among the ranks and hold the CA community accountable to a higher standard of excellence through greater visibility.