News: Infantrymen earn EIB in Kuwait
Story by Sgt. Marcus Fichtl
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait – Seventeen infantrymen earned the Expert Infantryman Badge during a badging ceremony at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, May 31.
The event hosted by the 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, tested infantrymen from May 26-30 on the ability to conduct infantry tasks.
“The EIB is a special skills badge, first awarded in 1943 and is awarded for the successful completion of a course of testing that is designed to identify infantrymen who are experts in their field,” said Sgt. 1st Class Terris Kolmorgan, event coordinator, 2nd ABCT.
He continued to say the Soldiers began the badging process by demonstrating expert proficiency on their assigned weapons systems, high standards on the Army Physical Fitness Test, proficiency in land navigation day and night and working through three days of lanes testing.
The lanes included proficiency testing on all infantry weapons, rifles, machine guns and hand grenades. It also tested communication skills, rendering first aid, calling for fire support and making tactical decisions under significant duress. They completed the badging process with a 12-mile ruck march with a 35-pound load while wearing full combat kit.
The event started with more than 267 Soldiers, and by the first lane there were less than 150. By the end of the 12-mile road march, there were only 17 left. An attrition rate of 94 percent - high but expected.
“This is the 70th year since we have had the EIB in the Army,” said Col. Omar Jones, commander, 2nd ABCT. “During the first EIB, they took 100 Soldiers and only 10 made it through, so that percentage of single digits has been consistent for the last 70 years.”
Jones said the badge is a mark of excellence and the Soldiers need to understand what it means to the infantry.
“As you wear that badge, wear it with pride,” said Jones. “Inspire others to earn the badge in the future because our goal is to never lower the standards, but for every infantryman to compete and earn the badge in future.”
For some who passed, this was their first attempt for the EIB, but for many, this was their second or third attempt, and Jones told the crowd watching the badging ceremony to never falter.
“What I ask you to do is reflect on what was pretty darn good training,” said Jones. “Reflect on how frustrating it was to walk off the lane and use that to motivate yourself for the next EIB. Take the training you received, motivate yourself and teach your Soldiers.”
Unlike the combat infantryman’s badge, which is earned performing infantry tactics during combat operations, the EIB has its charging handle cocked, symbolizing preparedness and according to Jones, it symbolizes the future of the Army.
“The EIB is about readiness, it’s about doing our job, doing our job when asked and doing our job in combat, and to do it better than anyone has done it before,” said Jones. “Make sure the readiness you demonstrated today continues and sustain it for the rest of your career.”