On the trails for an expert badge
March 2, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - In an era of Army units overflowing with Combat Infantry Brigades and Combat Aviation Brigades, what's left for a Soldier to set himself apart from the rest'
All Infantrymen come from basic combat training with a similar training background, although some may have a little more specified experience.
When a CIB is not enough anymore to keep him progressing through his career, once in a while, he can be blessed with an opportunity to better himself through a 68-year-old rite of passage.
Welcome to Expert Infantryman's Badge challenge.
A rigorous battery of tests, a demand for excellence, and the Expert Infantryman's Badge awaits the candidates bold enough to succeed.
It has been four months since B Company, 1/30th Infantry has redeployed from Kirkuk, Iraq. Since their return, B Co. has been knee deep in training and months ahead in its preparation for the EIB testing.
The EIB is a three-day block of continuous challenges that test Soldiers on their mastery of Infantry-centric tasks. To qualify alone for their participation in EIB, Soldiers must shoot "expert" on their M4/M16 rifle qualification before they can even dream of embarking on their journey.
The EIB itself consists of passing an Army Physical Fitness Test (75 points in each event), land navigation, flawless execution of multiple combat lanes laced with dozens of combat tasks, and completing a 12-mile road march in three hours.
So far, B Co. Soldiers have ruck marched over one hundred miles since block leave, qualified expert at the range, and have conducted many other preparatory tasks to ensure a solid warm and fuzzy, long before the battalion's formal train-up has begun.
But a blue badge is not the only tangible gratification for a Soldier's effort. It's his mastery and confidence gained in the journey from train-up to testing that current and future leaders bring to the table.
The badge itself brings promotion points to a Soldier.
And knowing how to execute critical combat skills under intense pressure may be the gift that brings his buddies back alive in combat someday soon.