Bastogne's newest expert infantrymen
December 18, 2013
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. - Soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), finished their last day of testing for the Expert Infantryman Badge with a foot march in full body armor, ruck sack, gear and weapon here Dec. 13.
"The ruck march distance was 12 miles in a total of three hours or less to get a go," said Sgt. Maj. Larry D. Breland, the operations sergeant major for 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st BCT.
The EIB testing began Dec. 9 and was completed Dec. 13.
Throughout the testing the candidates successfully performed tasks on various areas to receive a go or no go grade on their overall scorecard. Those who failed were eliminated from continuing further.
"We started out on Monday with the APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) with 507 participants." said Breland. "Each EIB candidate had to score (a minimum of) 75 points in each physical fitness event based on their age group."
After the physical fitness test, the Soldiers then tested their skills in land navigation. The Soldiers were given grid coordinates, and then tested on their ability to find four points in a three-hour period at day and night.
The Soldiers also needed to demonstrate their proficiency with various small arms including the M9 pistol, the M4 Carbine, the M249 and M240 machineguns and the Mk19 and M320 grenade launchers.
"It was no easy task," said 1st Lt. Nicholas R. Little, platoon leader with Company C, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st BCT. "It was definitely not a free EIB that's for sure. It was tough but definitely attainable and something I'm going to be very, very proud of."
Little said that the overall test was tough and not just a specific event.
"I wouldn't really narrow it down to one thing, I would say just throughout attention to detail," said Little. "I mean, it is all about attention to detail and making critical decisions under pressure."
Little stated that now that he has earned his EIB, he will be putting a bigger emphasis in the training of his Soldiers for the next testing period so they can earn theirs as well.
"I actually just took over my platoon a couple weeks ago, and me coming in as a new platoon leader, setting the standard as an EIB holder now, kind of set the tone more for my Soldiers, so hopefully it will give them something to look up to and work towards," Little said.
In the end, only 33 Soldiers earned the EIB: 12 from 1st Bn., 327th Inf. Rgt., 13 from 2nd Bn., 327th Inf. Rgt., five from 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Rgt., 1st BCT and three Soldiers from 5th Special Forces Group and 5th Battalion, 101st Pathfinders who participated in the event.
Two of the candidates were recognized as True Blue EIB awardees who distinguished themselves be receiving first-time gos on all tasks, according to Breland.
"It means the world," said Little. "I'm going to be wearing my EIB proudly."