FORT POLK, La. -- Mountain Field buzzed with infantry training activity July 22, 2014, as the brutal summer sun beat down on the Soldiers of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment "Wild Boars", 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.
Company C held infantry task training to prepare their Soldiers for 4th BCT's upcoming Expert Infantryman Badge Course, starting in August.
The badge recognizes Infantrymen who show a mastery of critical tasks that allow them to locate, close, and destroy the enemy with gun fire and maneuver, and repel an enemy assault with gun fire in close combat.
"Getting my EIB is hard for me to describe. EIB is something that you have to earn. It would be a tremendous sense of pride, having my EIB. Hundreds of people try and get their EIB every year but only a select few obtain their EIB," said Staff Sgt. Marion Toliver, Squad Leader, Weapons Squad, Co. C, 2nd Bn., 30th Inf. Reg., 4th BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. "The EIB is one of the last historical Infantryman traditions that we can still compete for."
EIB testing is conducted in five phases: the Army Physical Fitness Test, day and night Land Navigation, Weapons Master Skills Test, Individual Tactical Test, and a timed 12-mile Foot March.
The ITT testing phase makes candidates demonstrate their ability to successfully adapt to changing environments while completing simulated infantry missions.
The training event was designed to familiarize Soldiers with the EIB events, while providing extra training on technical and time sensitive tasks.
"I am teaching Soldiers how to put on their gas mask properly in the time allowed during the EIB testing. It was one of the harder tasks, because Soldiers only have nine seconds to get the mask on properly and clear it before they can open their eyes and start breathing again," said Petaluma, Calif. Native, Staff Sgt. Nicholas Williams, Squad leader, 1st platoon, Co C, 2nd Bn., 30th Inf. Reg., 4th BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. "I am also teaching grenade throwing, it is a very fundamental task that has a lot of technical aspects to it."
During Fort Polk's last EIB testing Land Navigation proved to be the most difficult part of the EIB testing. Land Navigation had the highest number of failures of the five part testing cycle.
"This is the second time that I will be testing for my EIB. Last time I got tripped up on the Land Navigation portion, with the training that my company has been doing I feel a lot more comfortable with Land navigation, I am now looking forward to getting back out there and getting it done this time around," said Long Island, N.Y. native, Spc. Lawrence Gerardi, Radio Transmission Operator, Co C, 2nd Bn., 30th Inf. Reg., 4th BCT, 10th Mtn. Div.
The upcoming 4th BCT Expert Infantryman Badge course is the unit's first EIB iteration after more than 12 hundred Patriot Brigade Soldiers returned from Afghanistan in March 2014. This event will support the full unification of 4th BCT, 10th Mtn. Div.