25th Inf. Div. Soldiers pushed themselves by striving to complete the Expert Infantry Badge or Expert Soldier Badge certification on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, April 26-30, 2021.
They earn their EIB and ESB by completing a series of tests that measure their mastery of skills through complex evaluations over five days.
On the first day, 1,043 soldiers completed an Expert Physical Fitness Assessment, which included push-ups, sit-ups, and a four-mile run.
After completing the EPFA, Soldiers who were still eligible to earn the badge had to find multiple points on a day and night land navigation course.
After getting through the EPFA and land nav, 30 skill level one tasks would await the remaining candidates, now down around 500 Soldiers.
For the next three days, Soldiers had to complete multiple tasks, which consisted of anywhere from throwing a grenade to setting up a simulation claymore.
“We would practice each lane four to five times over and over again until we got it perfect,” said 1st Lt. Aaqib Syed, infantry officer, 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd IBCT , 25th Inf. Div. “Then, on the day of testing, my buddies and I would do three perfect reps each before we would go and test.”
Soldiers had the opportunity if they received a no-go during being tested on a lane to practice again and do a re-test.
Knowledge of all the tests and weaponry was vital to passing and earning your badge.
“The biggest challenge of EIB is that every single task is pretty simple in itself, but cumulatively, the tasks can get muddled up, and the sequences can get mixed up real easy,” said Syed.
But Soldiers who received a first time go on every lane will receive an Army Commendation Medal and be designated with either being a “True Blue” for EIB or “Perfect Edge” for ESB.
Once the Soldiers completed the lanes, they prepared for the last day’s events; a 12-mile ruck march in under three hours, and disassembled and reassembled an M4-A1 carbine rifle in under five minutes.
Once completed, the Soldiers successfully proved themselves and earned their EIB or ESB.
Soldiers who earned their badge can take pride in it and be an example of what other Soldiers can strive to earn.
“I hope that more soldiers go through this training; it builds confidence in themselves that when they get their EIB or ESB, they know they are an expert and encourages them to act like it, know it, and believe it,” said Ponce-Pore.