News: 158th EIB
PHOENIX - The Arizona Army National Guard’s Headquarters, Headquarters’ Company 1st Battalion, 158th Infantry Regiment’s Sgt. David J. Reitsma prepares for the Expert Infantryman Badge, a competition that tests soldiers' proficiency in their career field.
Soldiers are expected to be proficient in various weapons systems such as a 240B machine gun and a 249 Squad Automatic Weapon, Employ an M18A1 Claymore Mine, and prepare an M202A1 Multishot Rocket Launcher for firing as well as preparing range cards and completing a 12-mile ruck-march within a certain time limit.
Those who complete all of the tasks in the EIB course will be awarded a badge that they will be able to wear on their uniform.
“Very few people make it through that,” Reitsma said, “You have to be one of those people who are very knowledgeable on radios, weapons systems, and all of the other basic skills an infantryman should know. It’s a very prestigious thing to have and to wear.”
Many soldiers who go through the EIB course do not receive the EIB badge due to the difficulty in tasks.
“For me, my strongest point would have to be the weapons systems, because for me, I was in the Marine Corps and I was always in the infantry and in the reserves here I have been infantry also, so I believe that weapons systems would probably be my strongest point,” Rietsma said. “And probably some of the hardest stuff for me would have to be the radio stuff because I haven’t spent a whole lot of time on it.”
“Sgt. Rietsma is the epitome of an infantrymen. He knows and understands, that it is a dirty nasty job,” Sgt. 1st Class James F. Branton said. "He has no problems living in austere conditions. If it means, a week without a bath so be it. He is just a tactically and technically proficient soldier and I have no reason to doubt that he will excel.”
As well as being an infantryman in the National Guard, Reitsma is also a firefighter on the civilian side. Being in the National Guard has allowed Reitsma to use the military’s education benefits to help further his career.