News: Expert Infantryman Badge
By: 1st Lt. Andrew Krochalk
B Company 1-194 CAB
CAMP VIRGINIA, Kuwait - Over the last ten years with the U.S. engaged in Combat Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Expert Infantryman Badge has taken a backseat to that of the Combat Infantryman Badge. The soldiers of Bravo Company 1st Combined Arms Battalion 194th Armor were given a rare opportunity to train for and possibly earn the coveted Expert Infantryman Badge. Sgt. 1st Class Stuart Auers, a Platoon sergeant with Bravo Company 1-194 CAB from Isanti, Minn. Who earned his EIB back in June 1999 said, “The mark of a true Infantry soldier is one who earns the EIB.” Auers also served as a tester for the EIB on five separate occasions. According to his experience, only about 10 percent of the soldiers who attempt the EIB test actually finish and earn the badge.
The test has evolved since it was tested previously, it is now a lane based test to replicate potential circumstances soldiers may encounter in combat operations. The EIB test consists of the Army Physical Fitness Test where the soldier must attain a 75 percent in each event, day and night land navigation, a patrolling lane, a tactical check point lane, an urban lane and is finished by completing a 12-mile roach march carrying a minimum of a 35 pound rucksack in the maximum of three hours. The lanes consist of 10 separate but related tasks that are associated with the given lane.
Of the over 200 soldiers that attempted the test in Kuwait, only two soldiers in Bravo Company earned the right to wear the EIB. Cpl. Andrew Wolfgram from Stillwater, Minn., and Spc. Tyler Westerberg from Minneapolis, Minn., were tired and sore when they returned from the test, but both walked a little taller knowing they earned a badge that only a small percentage of their Infantry Brothers have earned over the years. As the Iraq war has ended and the war in Afghanistan begins to wind down, the EIB should once again become the most sought after badge an Infantryman strive to achieve.