FORT BENNING, Ga., (Oct. 2, 2013) -- Soldiers assigned to 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, and other units earned the Expert Infantryman Badge at Fort Benning Sept. 27.

Of the more than 650 Soldiers who attempted to earn the EIB, 79 were successful.

The EIB is a distinctive award, a silver Infantry musket on a rectangular blue background with a silver border. It was designed and approved for wear October 1943.

"As an Infantryman, you have to know how to stay calm, cool, and collective while focusing on the task at hand," said Sgt. Dustin Whitten, an Infantryman assigned to B Company 2nd Battalion 69th Armor Regiment. "It was difficult for me to take all this information in and then forget about it (until) test time."

The Soldiers trained for two months and had a week to train with the graders.

"I had to prepare myself emotionally, physically and mentally," said Whitten. "I had to perform expert in more than 63 tasks."

"During the physical training test, I would say, 'I'm good. I got this' and remind myself I've done this before," said Pfc. Tyler Anderson, an Infantryman also assigned to B Company.

"I told my parents that if they didn't hear from me, that means I was doing good," said Anderson.

His dad said, "You know what you got to do, just go get it done!" Whereas, his mom was emotional and excited, said Anderson. "I had to stop my mom from making plans and telling everybody until it was over."

Since EIB's inception, the tests have been updated to keep pace with the changes in tactics, doctrine, and equipment.

"This was my first time going out and I was successful," Whitten said. "I received 'true blue' in all my events."

True blue is a term used to describe Soldiers who accomplish all EIB tasks with zero mistakes.

According to the history of the EIB, you don't have to ask whether an EIB holder knows their job.

You can just look at the badge atop the ribbons on their chest and have confidence in their competence.

The EIB test is one of the toughest physical and most demanding mental challenges one will ever face as an Infantryman.

Page last updated Wed October 2nd, 2013 at 10:45