News: The 'Climb to Glory' Expert Infantry Badge
Story by Sgt. David Edge
FORT POLK, La. – The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division concluded its “Climb to Glory” Expert Infantry Badge testing Aug. 8, 2014 at Fort Polk, La.
More than 400 Soldiers from across Fort Polk attempted to earn their EIB, but only 11 would gain the coveted badge.
In 1944, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, George C. Marshall initiated development for an Award to honor the U.S. Army Infantryman. The EIB was instituted to build and maintain esprit de corps within U.S. Infantry units.
The EIB’s purpose is to recognize Infantrymen who have demonstrated a mastery of critical tasks that allows them to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy through gun fire and maneuvers and repel an enemy assault through gun fire and close combat.
“[The EIB] is a litmus test for an Infantrymen to qualify and quantify himself as a professional. It’s a series of testing, over 5 days, culminating with a 12 mile foot march,” said U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Ferrusi, EIB Board President and Senior Enlisted Leader, 4th BCT, 10th Mtn. Div.
EIB candidates are tested in five categories the Army Physical Fitness Test, day and night Land Navigation test, Masters Skills Testing Stations, Individual Tactical Test Lanes, and the fore mentioned Foot March.
“So far the hardest thing has been getting all the task done confidently. There are a lot of little steps to most of the tasks and completing them in order was very difficult but very important,” said Sgt. Jeremiah Desrosier, Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 30 Infantry Regiment, 4th BCT, 10th Mtn. Div.
All EIB candidates have different reasons for trying to gain the coveted badge. The badge has different meanings to each candidate.
“The badge means a lot, it’s not just a chance to prove yourself and your abilities to do all these very specific tasks that are very important to our job, it’s also an opportunity to train and get back in focus on very detailed hands on training,” said Capt. Benjamin Winchester, commander, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 4th BCT, 10th Mtn. Div.
Fort Polk sent 467 Soldiers to try and obtain their EIB. On the last day only 11 Soldiers gained their badges. The experience differed for the 11 candidates, but some felt it brought them closer to those they serve with.
“I think that it’s really an humbling experience and it’s an interesting experience for the officers to go out and train side by side with their Soldiers for a couple of weeks and get a refresher on skills that I think are important for leaders to understand. That way they can be a more effective leader,” said 1st Lt. Brian Hamel Company D, 2nd Bn, 4th Inf. Reg., 4th BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. “I can’t thank the Noncommissioned Officers enough for developing and nurturing me, and making me a better leader.”