Of the hundreds of thousands of Infantrymen who have fought in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, only 325 have been awarded the third award of the Combat Infantryman's Badge, known as the Triple CIB. On Oct. 23 their names were enshrined on a new display at the National Infantry Museum.
According to the accompanying plaque alongside the exhibit, "The CIB Third Award is the most prestigious combat badge in the U.S. Army and one that is among the least presented."
Three awardees were present at the unveiling of the new exhibit in The Cold War gallery of the museum: retired Command Sgts. Maj. Frank Plass, right, James McDonough, center, and Paul Bingham. Each were awarded the CIB with two stars for combat action in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
The U.S. War Department established the badge on Oct. 27, 1943, and was later made retroactive to Dec. 6, 1941. According to the plaque beside the exhibit, the badge was conceived to recognize the unique mission of the United States Army Infantryman -- to close with and destroy the enemy. The award, which is presented to officers, warrant officers and enlisted Soldiers in the grade of colonel and below, is for participation in active ground combat while assigned as a member of an Infantry or Special Forces unit.