By Sgt. Brian J Smith Dutton (FORSCOM)December 18, 2013
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. - More than 800 Soldiers from the 3rd BCT "Rakkasans," 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), took part in the Brigade's Expert Infantryman's Badge event here, Dec. 9th through the 13th.
"EIB is extremely important, it is the qualification that demonstrates that you are an expert in your given tasks," said Lt. Col. Marc Cloutier, commander of 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd BCT "Rakkasans,"Abn. Div.. "The EIB separates the good from the superior."
In 1944, the Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall initiated the development of the EIB to recognize Infantrymen who have demonstrated their mastery of critical tasks that build the core foundation of individual proficiency that allow them to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy through fire and maneuver and repel an enemy assault through fire and close combat.
"Expert Infantryman's Badge is exactly that, being an expert in your field; it's something that separates you from your peers and shows that you're a higher echelon among your peers," said 1st Lt. Jack Abate, the executive officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Bn., 187th Inf. Reg.
The EIB event continuously tested infantry Soldiers with both mental and physical challenges such as land navigation, weapons recognition and proper usage, a physical fitness test and a multitude of combat related scenarios such as clearing buildings and traffic control points.
"Preparing for EIB was intense, every chance we had I was out there learning whatever I could from anybody," said Abate. "I was teaching Soldiers things that I knew and at the same time I was learning a lot from other Soldiers."
Throughout the different levels of EIB tasks, infantry Soldiers were given three chances on different stations and two chances on the same station to succeed. If the Soldier failed then they would have to wait until the next EIB event to try again.
"Historically the EIB has only had a ten percent pass rate," said 1st Sgt. Brad Amstutz, the senior non-commissioned officer for Troop C, 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment, 3BCT. "It's a big honour to earn the EIB, I still remember when I got mine, it gives you pride in yourself as an infantryman."
EIB candidates agreed that the training they received during the event was exceptionally planned to go hand in hand with deployment style scenarios and tasks.
"The difference between actual training and training during the EIB is the pressure, you have a time limit for everything and when you're under the gun the time limit doesn't seem long at all," said Amstutz. "Now at the same time it's great training because when you're downrange you're usually on a time pressure to complete tasks as well."
The 21 Soldiers that successfully completed the EIB are considered to be some of the most proficient Soldiers in their field,
"EIB holders have demonstrated a higher degree of mastery of tasks, attention to detail, and they also exhibit more pride in their own accomplishments," said Cloutier. "It means that you have the necessary skills and attention to detail to accomplish the most important individual tasks of an infantryman."