‘Bronco’ infantrymen press for coveted Expert Infantry Badge

| July 9, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photo by
Spc. Jazz Burney
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

Maj. Gen. Bernard Champoux, commanding general, 25th Infantry Division, pins the Expert Infantry Badge on a officer during the 3rd Brigade Combat Team’s EIB pinning ceremony, held at Schofield Barracks, June 25.SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — For every infantry Soldier, the testing phase for the coveted Expert Infantry Badge serves as a rite of passage. 

The Soldiers of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, competed for the honor of being recognized during the brigade’s EIB testing at East Range, here, June 20-25.

“The (EIB) is the mark of a true infantryman,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Tony Marrero, 3rd BCT command sergeant major, who earned his EIB in the beginning of his Army career. “The testing itself is great for Soldiers’ professional development and professional growth within the infantry. The true testament of an infantryman is to attain the badge.” 

Sgt. Maj. Santiago Hernandez, 3rd BCT’s plans sergeant major, implemented the new standards of the EIB course. 

In the former rendition, there were 30 tasks that a Soldier would study for and then complete. New standards were created because the old way of testing did not fully simulate how an infantryman would have to react in a combat 

environment. 

Now three realistic, battle-focused lanes give Soldiers scenarios that test their ability to adapt to a changing situation, which holds true to what the Soliders would experience in combat, according to Marrero.

To participate in the EIB course, which is run by noncommissioned officers, specific stipulations had to be met. Soldiers could not be flagged for disciplinary reasons and had to pass an Army 

physical fitness test with 75 points in each event, according to their age category.

Additional requirements included the completion of day and night land navigation, qualifying as an expert by shooting 36 out of 40 rounds into a target with an assigned M-4 or M-16 rifle, and a 12-mile road march with a 35-pound rucksack.

Once qualified, Soldiers entered EIB training and testing that challenged them on the basic infantryman’s fundamentals: the ability to shoot, move and communicate in full battle rattle and while carrying weapons.

Infantrymen underwent three lanes each, completing 10 different scenarios, while remembering all tasks and techniques. This showcased each Soldier’s ability to retain important information during the rigors of combat.

One such lane challenged a Soldier to stabilize and bandage an injured casualty, correct a malfunctioning M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, and finish with a 35-meter grenade launch landing within five meters of an enemy target – all while taking enemy fire. 

A unique feature of the brigade’s EIB certification included a separate training and testing event that mirrored the EIB, as the brigade’s non-combat military occupational specialty Soldiers were also tested on the same tasks as the infantry Soldiers in Warrior Task Training. 

Although the noncombat MOS Soldiers did not receive an EIB badge, they did recieve a certificate for completing the task. These Soldiers also gained confidence after completing many of the same tasks that the infantrymen completed for the EIB. 

“No one is a loser; however, for those who exceed the standard of their peers, I commend you.” said Jerry McKinney, retired sergeant major and honorary sergeant major from the 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment. “I charge you to go back to your squads and teams, and use the skills you know, to build your comrades so that you will be successful in combat.” 

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