2IBCT ‘Warriors’ conquer the trail to EIB

| August 15, 2017 | 0 Comments

Spc. Philip Craig, a candidate from D. Company, 1st Battalion, 151st Infantry Regiment, receives his Expert Infantry Badge during the awarding ceremony on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Aug. 4, 2017. The EIB is earned by proving proficiency in all Infantry tactics and skills. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. David N. Beckstrom, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Story and photo by
Sgt. David N. Beckstrom
2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — One of the U.S. military’s slogans is “We do more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day.”

This holds true for the more than 500 infantrymen assigned to 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, who vied for the coveted Expert Infantry Badge, here, from July 31-Aug. 11.

They started the week with the Army Physical Fitness Test before the first rays of the sun had crested over the horizon. Then they completed a land navigation course, demonstrating proficiency under both day and night conditions.

During the rest of the week, these Soldiers participated in several stations, proving their proficiency in medical, weapons and military movement skills.

The Soldiers who had passed each of the stations threw their rucksacks on their backs at 3 a.m. and pushed their bodies to the limit to cover 12 miles of ground in three hours. After completing the road march, they went straight into Objective Bull. This is a medical lane that tests the response time and fortitude of these Soldiers as they do basic battlefield care for a wounded Soldier and then move the injured to the extraction point.

Expert Infantry Badge Candidates from across 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division vie for the EIB during a weeklong competition where they have to prove proficiency in all Infantry tactics and skills on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, July 31-Aug. 11, 2017 (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Jordan Linder, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

“I think the most challenging part of this event (was) the weapons lanes, because we had a very short amount of time to get the weapon ready to fire,” said Pfc. Joshua Chinquee, a candidate from 1st Battalion, 27th Inf. Regiment. “This time limit simulates the time constraints we may face in a real world battle. Being able to say that I am proficient with all the weapons an infantryman may use is something I am very proud of.”

During this competition, there were several National Guardsmen from the 1st Bn., 151st Inf. Regt., out of Indiana, vying for the honor to wear the badge, as well, as part of the Army’s Associated Units Pilot Program, which pairs Reserve and National Guard units with active duty units.

Spc. Philip Craig, a candidate from D Company, 1-151st Inf. Regt., said, “It was an honor to work alongside the active duty Soldiers and to prove that National Guard Soldiers are just as proficient in our jobs, because we take it seriously, too. I hope that my example will motivate other National Guardsmen to go out and earn this badge, prove to yourself and the world that you are just as much of a Soldier as the active duty.”

The EIB holds a lot of prestige and honor for infantrymen, because it proves they are experts in their field, said Staff Sgt. Sean D. Grangaard, an EIB grader with the 1st Bn., 21st Inf. Regt. To motivate the Soldiers and honor the history of the badge, he held a replica of the EIB above his head at the end of the ruck march.

“A former first sergeant of the unit created this awhile back to show these infantrymen what they are out here for and why they are putting themselves through such a grueling event,” said Grangaard.

Chinquee said, that as Soldiers continue on in their career, this badge will help them get promoted, as well as show the next generation of Soldiers that their leaders do know what they are talking about, because they have proven to the Army and the infantry that they are experts in their field.

Staff Sgt. Sean D. Grangaard (background), an EIB grader with 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, holds a replica of the Expert Infantry Badge above his head to motivate and remind the EIB candidates to what they are working toward on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Aug. 4, 2017. The EIB is earned by proving proficiency in all Infantry tactics and skills. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. David N. Beckstrom, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

When it was all over, 67 Warriors were awarded the coveted EIB with this competition, producing an 11 percent completion rate; the national average is 18 percent.

During his remarks at the EIB graduation ceremony, Command Sgt. Maj. Bryant Lambert, senior enlisted adviser for U.S. Army-Pacific said that EIB is a mark of honor for those who do a hard, dirty and thankless job. He reminded the awardees to think of the badge as a reminder of the long history they are a part of.

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