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    Spartan Paratroopers earn most coveted award

    Spartan paratroopers earn most coveted award

    Photo By Sgt. Eric-James Estrada | U.S. Army Col. Matthew McFarlane, the commander of the 4th Brigade Combat Team...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Eric-James Estrada 

    4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs

    JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska- Paratroopers assigned to the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division demonstrated mastery of their trade during the Expert Infantry Badge (EIB) qualification here, April 22.

    The EIB was first created in 1943 when the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. George C. Marshall, initiated the development of an award to honor U.S. Army Infantryman, while simultaneously building and maintaining esprit de corps within U.S. Infantry units. It is awarded only to U.S. Army personnel who hold Infantry or Special Forces military occupational specialties.

    Similar in appearance to the Combat Infantry Badge (CIB), the EIB is a complete and separate award. The CIB is awarded for participation in ground combat while the EIB is presented for completion of a course of testing designed to demonstrate proficiency in Infantry skills.

    The Spartan Brigade had 672 paratroopers from the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry Regiment; 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry Regiment; and 1st Squadron (Airborne), 40th Cavalry Regiment, who fought for the honor by taking on a thorough and meticulous series of events testing both their physical and mental endurance.

    By the April 26th award ceremony, only 136 paratroopers remained to claim their prize, with eight finishing true blue. True Blue means they completed qualification without a single no-go.

    The week-long event began with an Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), where each Paratrooper had to score a minimum of 75 points in each of the three events within their age group. After the APFT, the paratroopers moved into day land navigation testing followed by night land navigation testing. The Paratroopers had to correctly find three out of four points within two hours for both the day and the night land navigation.

    The next three days were filled with testing lanes that were designed to push and challenge even the most disciplined and skilled paratroopers.

    “The urban lane was definitely the most challenging,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Aaron Demro, assigned to Apache Company, 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry, hailing from Plymouth, Minn. “You train and you practice, but when you get to the actual lane, all the pressure is on you and you’re not even thinking. It turns into muscle memory.”

    The final test had paratroopers conducting a 12-mile foot march carrying a rucksack that had to weigh a minimum of 35 pounds. The march had to be completed within three hours.

    “The 12-mile was the most challenging. I had to just take it one mile at a time,” said U.S. Army Pfc. Dustin Schrock with Able Company, 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry, a native of Middletown, Ohio.

    Schrock also thanked his leadership for their guidance in seeing him through this competition. He said he looks at this as another step toward reaching his goals.

    “It’s a great accomplishment and I’m glad to have it done.”



    Date Taken: 04.26.2013
    Date Posted: 04.29.2013 18:15
    Story ID: 106047
    Hometown: BUCHANAN, GA, US
    Hometown: BURLINGTON, IA, US
    Hometown: MIDDLETOWN, OH, US
    Hometown: ORLANDO, FL, US
    Hometown: PLYMOUTH, MN, US
    Hometown: SAN DIEGO, CA, US
    Hometown: VANCOUVER, WA, US

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