Broncos earn Expert Infantry Badge

| April 17, 2015 | 0 Comments
A candidate for the EIB takes cover and returns fire at the enemy from a prone supported position. Four candidates performed flawlessly, earning “True Blue” status.

A candidate for the EIB takes cover and returns fire at the enemy from a prone supported position. Four candidates performed flawlessly, earning “True Blue” status.

Sgt. Brian C. Erickson
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — In 1944, the Army Chief of Staff initiated the development of an award to honor U.S. Army infantryman.

More than 600 “Bronco” Infantry Soldiers were willing to shed blood, sweat and tears for a chance to earn this award named the Expert Infantryman Badge (EIB), here, March 30-April 10.

“This badge is the pinnacle of being an Army infantryman, and I believe if you are an infantryman, you need to go after this badge,” said 1st Lt. Nick Ondovcsik, platoon leader, Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 27th Inf. Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, “Bronco Brigade,” 25th Inf. Division.

Success would not come easy. Each individual had to go through five days of intense tasks to earn the right to wear the EIB.

A candidate for the EIB places a tourniquet on a simulated casualty during the rigorous testing at Area X-Ray, April 2.

A candidate for the EIB places a tourniquet on a simulated casualty during the rigorous testing at Area X-Ray, April 2.

Five days prior, 617 infantrymen converged on Area X-Ray to begin the testing for the badge. The first task for everyone was completing the physical training test with a score of 75 in each event, a task that disqualified 250 Soldiers.

For those who passed the PT test, the land navigation course awaited them over on East Range. Candidates had to successfully find different points on the course during the day by using a compass, protractor and map. After they succeeded in finding their points, they had to come back and do it again after the sun went down.

Living up to its reputation of difficulty, only 92 remained after the Land Navigation portion. For the remaining candidates the next three days of testing would either make or break them.

Each candidate had to successfully complete tasks in areas, such as applying first aid; weapon proficiency; arming and throwing a hand grenade; and protecting against a nuclear, biological and chemical attack – a total of 42 tasks.

The infantryman had to put their Soldiering skills on display and prove that they could perform their duties to standard.

 

Ondovcsik said he spent the two weeks leading up to the EIB testing, studying and making sure he knew how to complete each task of the different testing phases. His work paid off as he was one of the few to earn the EIB.

The last tasks for the 48 candidates remaining on day five were to complete a 12-mile ruck march in three hours or less and a weapons proficiency test at the end of the 12 miles. Only one Soldier failed to complete these tasks in the time allotted.

For the 47 Soldiers who successfully earned the coveted EIB on April 10, the blood, sweat and tears were worth every bit of it.

Four of the Soldiers earned the prestigious “True Blue” status by completing every task with no failures or restarts.

According to one of the “True Blue” graduates, simply not paying attention can cost you the badge.

“You have to pay attention to the details and make sure you hit each performance measure of the task,” said Staff Sgt. Paul Piszcz, 2-35th Inf. Regt., 3rd BCT. “The grenade toss also gets a lot of Soldiers because once it leaves your hand you have no control of how it will land.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Benjamin Jones, senior enlisted adviser, 25th ID, applauded the new EIB holders.

“The Expert Infantryman Badge is more than just a piece of iron that sits upon your chest; it is a symbol of excellence and a testament of a true infantryman,” said Jones.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Category: Leadership, News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *