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    Florida Guardsmen make history earning their Expert Soldier Badges in Fort Hood

    Florida Guardsmen make history earning their Expert Soldier Badges in Fort Hood

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Shane Klestinski | Six Florida Army National Guard Soldiers assigned to the 50th Regional Support Group...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Shane Klestinski 

    50th Regional Support Group

    Homestead, Florida - A group of six Florida Army National Guard Soldiers assigned to the 50th Regional Support Group (RSG) earned the coveted Expert Soldier Badge (ESB) at Fort Hood, Texas, during an Expert Infantryman Badge (EIB) and ESB event hosted by the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, “Black Jack,” 1st Cavalry Division.

    “We are grateful to the ‘Black Jack’ Brigade for allowing our Soldiers to participate in their EIB/ESB and are extremely proud of their accomplishments in Fort Hood,” said Army Col. Ricardo Roig, 50th RSG commander. “Our Soldiers not only did a great job as National Guard ambassadors, but also showed our active-duty counterparts the level of technical and tactical expertise found in the ranks of the Florida Guard.”

    The 50th RSG Soldiers were part of a group of 617 total participants for the combined event, with 169 seeking their ESB. Only 23 Soldiers were awarded the ESB at a ceremony held on Dec. 11, 2020, which included Sergeants Nicolas Roig and Kainoah Bell, assigned to the 260th Military Intelligence Battalion, Maj. Jesse Manzano, Capt. Nicolas Fasanella, and Pfc. Eduardo Aljure, assigned to the 50th RSG’s Headquarters Company, and 1st Lt. Rafael Vega, assigned to the 254th Transportation Battalion.

    Army Col. Kevin Capra, Black Jack’s chief of staff, also recognized Manzano, the only field grade officer to earn the ESB, during the award ceremony for obtaining the “Perfect Edge” distinction. Manzano was awarded the Army Achievement Medal for receiving perfect scores on every lane and task during the ESB event.

    “I am still in awe of what our group accomplished in Fort Hood,” said Aljure, a motor transport operator. “I am grateful for this unique opportunity and experience.”

    The ESB was first announced in 2019 and implemented in 2020 for non-infantry and medical specialty Soldiers. The ESB evaluates Soldiers’ proficiencies in physical fitness, marksmanship, land navigation and warrior tasks over five days of testing. The 30 warrior tasks tested are broken down into three separate, 10-task lanes that focus on weapons, medical and patrol skills. Each lane usually takes a full day to complete. On the final day, Soldiers must complete a 12-mile ruck march in less than three hours, then disassemble, reassemble and conduct a function check on an M-4 carbine immediately after crossing the finish line.

    “Completing the five days of testing was definitely one of the hardest things I have done in my Army career,” said Vega, a transportation platoon leader. “We were fortunate to have the backing and support of our chain of command, which allowed us to be ready to meet this challenge once we arrived in Fort Hood. The fact is that nothing stops the Florida Guard.”

    These six Florida Guardsmen join 1st Lt. Freddy Herrera, a transportation officer assigned to the 254th Transportation Battalion, as the Florida Army National Guard’s seven ESB holders. Herrera made history in September when he became the first National Guard Soldier to earn the ESB during a joint EIB/ESB event held at Camp Blanding Joint Training Center.




    Date Taken: 12.11.2020
    Date Posted: 12.15.2020 14:14
    Story ID: 385023
    Location: FORT HOOD, TX, US 

    Web Views: 463
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