4th BCT Soldiers earn EIBs
November 9, 2010
FORT CARSON, Colo. - Seventy-three Soldiers with the 1st and 2nd Battalions, 12th Infantry Regiment, and 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, were awarded Expert Infantryman Badges at a ceremony held in Ironhorse Park Oct. 22.
Originally, 749 Soldiers were identified as eligible candidates for the prestigious badge. This number was reduced to 503 upon completion of qualifying expert with the M4 carbine or M16 rifle.
This number was further reduced to 179 candidates on day one, upon completion of the Army Physical Fitness Test, in which the candidates were required to score 75 percent or higher in each event and negotiate the land navigation course, both day and night.
This year's qualification site consisted of three lanes, the urban lane, the patrol lane and the traffic-control-point lane, with each having a total of four sublanes. The three main lanes consisted of 10 tasks each. The 30 critical warrior tasks included load, fire, reduce stoppage, clear and maintain the M240B machine gun, M2 machine gun, M249 squad automatic weapon and the M4 carbine; call for and adjust indirect fire; first aid using the Israeli dressing; engaging targets with hand grenades, and a 12-mile foot march in less than three hours.
Master Sgt. Todd Hood, brigade operations sergeant major, organized the EIB training with the help of a few key players.
After many Soldiers left the competition following land navigation and APFT, the remaining Soldiers were split into three groups with a group maneuvering a lane each day, Hood said
"When they had finished the lane, they went back to their units, came back out the next day to do the next lane. So on and so forth for three days, and out of each lane they had to hold that 80 percent. Basically they were allowed to get two 'no-gos' from start to finish. They didn't retest, the grader didn't coach them. The Soldier went through the lanes, getting graded all the way through."
Sgt. Maj. James Paczkewski, operations sergeant major for the 3rd Sqdn., 61st Cav. Reg., was in charge of running the TCP lane.
"(This training) is very realistic," Paczkewski said. "Ten back-to-back realistic scenarios, as far as what (Soldiers) see in combat. You are not just doing one task, you may have to do multiple tasks back-to-back and it really shows how proficient the Soldier is.
"Some Soldiers are good at some individual tasks and not so good at others. What this does is all the basic individual tasks you need to survive in combat are grouped together so, instead of thinking everybody knows, you will know they all know it after this training."
Spc. Edgar Rios, Company D, 2nd Bn., 12th Inf. Reg., who participated in the EIB qualification training, said the training teaches vital skills that each infantryman will eventually use in combat.
"It makes me feel like I actually know my job, know the details of it," Rios explained. "It's teaching me a lot of the technical aspects of my job."
Command Sgt. Maj. Charles V. Sasser, brigade command sergeant major, presented awards and congratulated the Soldiers - from 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, and 2nd Battalion, 61st Cavalry Regiment - on a job well done.
Three Soldiers were awarded Army Commendation Medals for their performance as the best lane during the EIB testing. Fifteen Soldiers were awarded Army Achievement Medals for their performance as well.
The expert infantry streamer is awarded when 65 percent or more of the assigned strength of a separate infantry platoon, company, battalion, or brigade has earned the Combat Infantry Badge or Expert Infantryman's Badge. The 1st Bn., 12th Inf. Reg.; 2nd Bn., 12th Inf. Reg.; and Troop C, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment all received the prestigious streamer.
"The EIB is a way for an individual Soldier to show that he is an expert in his field," Sasser said. "Every field has some type of training and other things that determine this, but the infantry, and of course the medical field, are the only two where you can actually go through and earn a badge to show everyone that you're an expert in that field.
"The brigade did a great job at this. The average across the Army is about 10 percent, sometimes even less, especially with this new (training), and we were up there, well over 10 percent which just shows you the dedication and all the effort that was put forth by the leadership and the Soldiers."