SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - The Expert Infantryman Badge is one of the most prestigious badges an infantryman can earn during his career.

Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, "Broncos," 25th Infantry Division, spent two weeks getting ready for the EIB course being held the second half of April.

About 650 infantryman from the 3rd BCT and more than a 100 more from the 2nd Bde. Combat Team, 25th ID; 196th Inf. Bde. (U.S Army Reserves); and 25th ID's Noncommissioned Officer Academy are participating in this year's EIB.

"The goal of the EIB training and test is to provide a higher state of readiness by having Soldiers competent in core infantry tasks," said Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffery Johnson, operations NCO in charge, 3rd BCT, 25th ID.

According to Johnson, the preparations were made by coordinating with the U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, so the brigade's training and test can be validated, requesting land to train on, and getting qualified candidates to compete.

During the two-month planning and preparation, items such as resourcing training aids and equipment, prepping both cadre and candidate packets for the validation process, and which cadre goes where for troop to task were conducted, he added.

"We applied many lessons learned that made this year's prep much easier," he said.

Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Squadron, "Raiders," 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd BCT, spent the last two weeks before EIB training intensively for the competition.

"Right now, we're just doing introduction by getting them hands on, familiarizing with the certain tasks that the EIB is going to test them on," said Sgt. 1st Class Shuan Quintanilla, a platoon sergeant assigned to Charlie Troop, 3-4th Cav. Regt. "For now, prior to the brigade train-up, we're just wanting them to get familiarized with the weapon systems. We're not necessarily focused on time standards right now."

Spc. John Peterson, a native of Renton, Washington, and an infantryman assigned to Charlie Troop, 3-4th Cav. Regt., worked diligently during the train-up after not passing the EIB course last year.

"What I'm trying to achieve is to get through all the lanes; that way I get a 'go' on this EIB coming up and I get my EIB," Peterson said.

For many of the Raiders who recently arrived to Oahu, this event will be an eye opener for them.

"Some of the newer Soldiers, who haven't exactly had time to work with some of the weapons, (will) actually get time on the weapons, so they'll go out there and have an open mind," said Spc. Christian Mathewson, an infantryman assigned to Charlie Troop, 3-4th Cav. Regt. "Not knowing what to expect when they arrive for the EIB isn't good for them."

Mathewson said remembering the performance measures and going through the sequence and not missing anything were the most difficult tasks for him.

"Right now, what I'm trying to do is just refresh my memory of the performance measures prior to going out to the EIB course," he said.