Criteria: First created in the 1960s, the insignia recognizes those service members who have completed the Navy's Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training, completed SEAL Qualification Training and have been designated as U.S. Navy SEALs.
The Special Warfare insignia was initially issued in two grades, being a gold badge for officers and silver for enlisted. In the 1970s, the Silver SEAL badge was abolished and the Special Warfare Badge was issued thereafter in a single grade. The SEAL badge is therefore unique in the Navy in that it is one of the few badges issued in a single grade for both officers and enlisted personnel. This is partly due to the combined training that both officers and enlisted receive, side by side, when involved in BUD/S training.
The Special Warfare insignia consists of a golden eagle clutching a U.S. Navy anchor, trident, and flintlock style pistol.
An enlisted member who receives the Special Warfare insignia warfare qualification is authorized to place the designator (SEAL) after his rating. At the end of 2006, all sailors having completed SEAL training and still serving in Naval Special Warfare, had their ratings reclassified to Special Warfare Operator (SO), with a new rating badge. Previously there were more than 20 ratings from which SEAL operators came.