YIGO, Guam – Of the 133 Soldiers who competed in the U.S. Army Japan’s Expert Soldier Badge qualification April 10-28, the shortest competitor was Spc. Kiana Siguenza of Task Force Talon, 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.
But over five grueling days, when the field was whittled to just nine winners, it was Siguenza who perhaps stood tallest of all.
Siguenza is a member of the Guam Army National Guard, deployed with Task Force Talon to defend the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense on Guam. She is the first winner of the Expert Soldier Badge in the history of the Guam Guard.
“I learned to test my limits,” said Siguenza. “There were parts where I felt like giving up, but I was motivated and I just kept going.”
The competition tested Soldiers’ skills and expertise in military tasks, including land navigation, weapons handling, patrolling, medical care, and a 12-mile ruck march. Those who succeeded earned the coveted badge.
U.S. Army Soldiers from across Japan and Guam competed at Sagami General Depot and the Combined Arms Training Center, Camp Fuji.
With some units seeing attrition rates as high as 97%, the ESB is not only for the elite but also a testament to a Soldier’s unwavering commitment to excellence and readiness for any mission.
“The Expert Soldier Badge testing challenges the skills and abilities of our Soldiers,” said Sgt. Maj. Alex Richardson, the U.S. Army Japan Plans and Operations sergeant major. “The rigorous nature of the testing ensured that only the best of the best would be awarded the coveted ESB.”
Siguenza says she looks forward to coming home and sharing her knowledge to help prepare others.
“The experience was amazing,” said Siguenza. “I went out there for more of a challenge and I really wasn’t expecting to get the badge. But it was a good experience and I encourage everyone to come out and experience it, too.”
Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Schmiett, U.S. Army Japan, contributed to this story.