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    50th RSG Soldiers begin Expert Soldier Badge training

    50th RSG Soldiers begin Expert Soldier Badge training

    Photo By 1st Lt. Abigail Hammock | Spc. Richy Coquemar, an IT specialist, carries the guidon for his unit, the 50th...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Shane Klestinski 

    50th Regional Support Group

    In the lead-up to their Poland deployment, the Soldiers of the Florida Guard’s 50th Regional Support Group (RSG) had the usual experiences associated with pre-mobilization life at Fort Hood, Texas – but a few volunteered for the challenge of earning the Expert Soldier Badge (ESB).

    The Army approved the ESB in 2019 as a way to improve combat readiness, particularly among Soldiers in noncombat-related fields outside of the infantry, Special Forces or combat medics.

    “The ESB is definitely a big challenge that takes preparation,” said Army 1st Lt. Rafael Vega, force protection officer for the 50th RSG, who is one of the training coordinators for the ESB candidates. “It corresponds a lot with earning the Expert Infantry Badge and it shares a lot of similar activities.”

    Soldiers must be qualified as rifle expert and have a passing PT score to be ESB candidates. The first day of testing involves taking the Army Combat Fitness Test, and scoring at least 80 percent in each event. Afterwards, they participate in daytime and later nighttime land navigation (landnav) courses, where they must find at least three out of four points on both courses.

    “Day one is where a little over 50 percent of the candidates drop off,” Vega said.

    During the second through the fourth days, candidates receive evaluation in Army warrior tasks in one lane per day, 10 tasks per lane. The lanes test weapons proficiency, medical skills and patrolling, but not necessarily in that order. Candidates are allowed one “no-go” in one task per lane, and if they pass that “no-go” event on the retest, they can continue. If they fail two tasks in the same lane, their candidacy is over.

    “Once they get to the fifth day, candidates complete a 12-mile ruck march,” Vega said. “If they finish within the three-hour window, they disassemble and reassemble an M-4 after crossing the finish line, and they have their ESB.”

    Training coordinators don’t have a specific testing date in Poland yet, but they have already introduced candidates to the “crawl” phase of preparation.

    “We started last week with a four-mile ruck march and a diagnostic APFT,” Vega said. “It gives the candidates a feel for what it’s like to carry weight on their backs and an idea of their physical fitness. They’ve also been given material to study for the academics.”

    Ten Soldiers in the 50th RSG are working to earn their ESB.

    “I didn’t know the ESB existed until I came to the 50th for the Poland deployment, but I heard some other guys in the unit were going for it, and I’d just finished Basic Leader Course so I was ready for a new challenge,” said Spc. Chynard McKay, a unit supply specialist. “I’m expecting the landnav testing to be the most challenging part, but I feel confident about all the physical stuff. I’ve been training and I feel stronger and faster every day.”

    Alongside McKay, the 50th RSG Soldiers working towards their ESB are: Maj. Raymond Nagley, Capt. Alejandro Merlano, 2nd Lt. Marcus Scott, Sgt. Kevin Epres Talvo, Spc. Brandon Rivas, Spc. Cardell Richardson, Spc. Richy Coquemar, Pfc. Josue Luna and Pfc. Sebastian Diaz.

    “I’m proud that we have so many Soldiers stepping up to accept this challenge,” said Army Col. Ricardo Roig, 50th RSG commander. “Training for the ESB boosts our mission readiness, not only from the training the candidates receive, but what they can pay forward and teach other Soldiers after testing.”




    Date Taken: 02.04.2021
    Date Posted: 02.04.2021 14:19
    Story ID: 388370
    Location: FORT HOOD, TX, US 

    Web Views: 100
    Downloads: 0