FORT CARSON, Colo.—Soldiers with 4th Infantry Division participated in this year’s Expert Infantryman Badge (EIB) and Expert Soldier Badge (ESB) testing Oct. 13-16 at Fort Carson, Colorado.
The EIB and ESB are special skills badges earned by infantrymen and Soldiers, respectively, who demonstrate their Soldier skill proficiency through land navigation, weapons training, physical fitness and other warrior tasks.
“It’s a privilege to be a part of this,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Steve R. Chandler, command sergeant major of 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. “You had to earn the EIB yourself to teach and mentor the Soldiers that are competing to get (their badge).”
Candidates reviewed the tasks they were expected to complete during the first two weeks of the event. They were permitted to ask questions and given instruction of how each of the 30 tasks were to be completed to standard before testing week.
“At first you are kind of nervous trying to remember everything,” said 1st Lt. Kevin Spellacy, EIB awardee with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 2SBCT, 4th Inf. Div. “As you keep practicing you start engraining it in your head and come test day you should be good to go.”
Testing week followed the block of review and instruction. Candidates were expected to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test above standard and complete a land navigation course. Those who were successful continued to the three testing lanes: weapons lane, patrol lane and medical lane. Each lane consisted 10 tasks candidates had to complete to standard.
“The hardest task was weapons, for myself,” Spellacy said, “I had to relearn how to assemble, disassemble a weapon and perform a functions check of all these weapons systems.”
The passing candidates, 85 out of the original 711, were awarded their respective badges during a pinning ceremony Oct. 16.
He felt a lot of pride in the awardees, Chandler said.
“We have extremely proficient Soldiers that are ready to go and win our nation’s wars at any moment when they are called upon.”