FORT STEWART, Ga. – Soldiers across the 3rd Infantry Division and visiting units were constantly tested during the Expert Infantryman and Expert Soldier and Expert Field Medical Badge qualification hosted by the "Raider Brigade,” 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd ID, Jan. 17 through Feb. 3, on Fort Stewart. The EIB/ESB/EFMB qualification is part of individual training designed to increase Soldier proficiency in the Army Warrior Tasks to increase lethality and unit readiness. Only infantrymen can earn the EIB and all Soldiers who are not in the Infantry or Special Forces can earn the ESB. The EFMB is exclusive to Soldiers within medical military occupational specialties.
“This program is important to Soldiers in the Army because it helps them improve their own individual skills, which ultimately helps improve the lethality of the organization, and it makes them more competitive against their peers as well,” EIB Board President Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph Cobb said.
Tested events are based on the Warrior Skill Level 1 tasks introduced at basic training. Regardless of a pass or fail, EIB/ESB increases proficiency across the ranks creating disciplined, expert leaders that will enable greater unit lethality and promote cohesive teams from the confidence gained through more repetitions of basic Soldier tasks. Exercises like these can make the difference between life and death on the battlefield.
“Before they participate, they’re required to meet minimum standards of physical fitness and marksmanship, and they’re tested on their ability to pass a physical fitness test,” Cobb said. “Over the course of a week, they test infantry skills on patrolling, weapons proficiency, and medical proficiency.”
Each event has multiple performance measures that each Soldier must follow. Once the steps are completed within the allotted amount of time, they receive a go; however, if the task is not completed within the allotted time or a step was missed, then the Soldier will receive a no-go. If the Soldier obtains a total of two no-goes, then they are immediately dropped from the qualification.
At each station, graders explain the tasks, conditions, and standards to the Soldiers and then initiate the assessment. They only have one chance to retrain and retest if the grader identifies any failures. The Soldiers train for two weeks before the EIB/ESB/EFMB test week begins to assist in gaining the level of proficiency needed to pass.
“Going through all of this training, for me, it’s very important to see where I’m at from a readiness perspective, and also improve my readiness and lethality, and be ready when the nation calls upon me,” said Pfc. Cristian Marginean, a Soldier assigned to the 3rd Brigade Support Battalion, 1ABCT.
On the final day, the remaining Soldiers had to conduct a 12-mile foot march carrying a 35-pound rucksack in a three-hour time limit to pass followed by a final task. Within five minutes of completing the foot march, candidates were required to complete the disassembly, reassembly, and function check of the M4 carbine.
Soldiers received their badges in an award ceremony several hours later where they were pinned by mentors, families, leaders, and loved ones.
“Some of the advice I’d give to future candidates would be to set yourself apart by focusing on just [EIB/ESB/EFMB] and minimizing distractions outside of the lanes,” said Sgt. Cole Vento, an infantryman assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1ABCT, who earned his Expert Infantry Badge during testing.
The EIB/ESB/EFMB qualification fundamentally trains Soldiers to focus on the basics to create expert coaches that build cohesive teams.
The Raider Brigade is committed to creating experts early to form lethal teams ready to fight and win the nation’s wars. The EIB/ESB/EFMB qualifications enable any motivated Soldier to improve themselves and demonstrate leadership.