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    2023 Army Best Squad Competitors earn E3B qualifications

    U.S. Army Best Squad Competition - E3B Weapons Lanes

    Photo By Spc. Molly Morrow | Spc. Chad Ray, a native of Barstow, California representing the Military District of...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Duke Edwards 

    Office of the Chief of Public Affairs

    In an effort to build the Army of 2030, the U.S. Army is prioritizing readiness and creating teams that are highly trained, disciplined, and mentally and physically fit to fight and win. Competitions and training events such as the Army’s Best Squad Competition, as well as testing Soldiers for the Expert Infantryman, Soldier, and Field Medical Badge (E3B) are fundamental parts of the Army’s method of building lethal, cohesive teams and expert leaders through difficult, realistic training.

    Soldiers representing commands from across the Army converged at Fort Stewart, Georgia, on Sept. 24, 2023, to compete in the 2023 Army Best Squad Competition, hosted by the 3rd Infantry Division and executed by their 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team. A key event of this year’s competition features the Expert Infantryman, Expert Soldier, and Expert Field Medical Badges (E3B), allowing Soldiers to simultaneously compete and earn those coveted badges.

    Sergeant Major of the Army Michael R. Weimer’s intent is to promote esprit de corps throughout the force, while reinforcing, across the participating commands, the importance of team and Soldier excellence within the Army profession. This is part of the SMA Weimer’s initiative to meet the ever-changing needs of the Army.

    “It’s unique for Soldiers to earn their E3B during the Army’s Best Squad Competition. It’s a great opportunity to do so while these Soldiers are performing at the highest level,” said Sgt. Maj. Brian Dore, the senior enlisted advisor for operations and training for 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment. “While we're conducting the competition, they're also trying to earn a badge. Soldiers need to earn their E3B because it demonstrates the ability to perform tasks to a stringent standard under stress and cultivates leadership attributes.”

    The Expert Infantryman Badge (EIB), created in 1944, allows infantrymen to demonstrate mastery of critical tasks. The Expert Field Medical Badge (EFMB), created in 1965, challenges the skills and performance of Army field medical personnel in a high-stress, controlled environment. The newest badge, the Expert Soldier Badge (ESB), created in 2019, is open to all Soldiers and challenges one's physical fitness and warfighting skills.

    “The E3B increases the lethality of individual Soldiers as it trains them to act under pressure and make sound decisions,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Hodges, senior medical noncommissioned officer of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team. “It also develops the ability to complete complex tasks in stressful situations. The E3B supports the Army's priorities as you have to be physically fit, intelligent, develop leaders, and provide soldiers with the ability to sharpen and develop the tools needed to fight and win against America's enemies.”

    The first event, the Expert Physical Fitness Assessment, included a one-mile run in full battle gear, 30 dead stop push-ups, 100-meter sprint,16 sandbag lifts into a light, medium tactical vehicle, 50-meter water can carry, 25-meter high crawl, 25-meter three to five second rushes, and lastly, another one-mile run. Following the EPFA, competitors navigated a day and night land navigation course.

    Over the next few days, the competition events were divided based on the E3B. The EFMB consisted of a written test, evacuation lanes, and tactical combat casualty care lanes. In contrast, the EIB and ESB consisted of medical patrol and weapons lanes.

    “Opportunities like this are for (Soldiers) to get out and pursue excellence in (their) craft, pursue excellence in the small details of what (they) do, and not just settling for the standard but exceeding the standard,” said Sgt. 1st Class Kaleb Richardson with the U.S. Army Medical Command. “Trying to be an expert is a tough task, but that's what our nation asks of us, to be as strong and ready of a fighting force as possible. I think that the more people who participate in E3B testing and other similar training events, trying to pursue excellence, those people come back to their units, and they bring the whole military IQ of the unit up.”

    The culminating event, a 12-mile ruck march, and disassembly and reassembly of an M4 carbine in the allotted time, will occur on Sept. 30th.

    “The toughest part of E3B so far was night land navigation,” said Pfc. Vincent Wentorf, representing U.S. Army Reserve Command. “You can't see anything, and it's very flat here in Georgia, so you can't associate terrain. You must rely heavily on your Azimuth and pace count to know where you're at and where you're going. As reservists, we don't get to do this a ton. So being here, we know we're good at it, or we get to learn from our mistakes and improve on our overall readiness as soldiers.”

    When Soldiers were asked how their squad prepared for the E3B portion of the Army Best Squad Competition, there was one consensus– repetitions.

    “For the E3B portion, we spent a lot of time diving into the nitty-gritty of the details in the book, the testing, the standards for each event, identifying and breaking it down,” said Sgt. Jake Phillips representing the U.S. Army Special Operations Command.” Knowing what each event required and then, just practicing and getting solid repetitions. I think the most challenging part for us has been moderating our pace and our desire to burn through it and go as quickly as possible; slowing down at certain times and taking our time to refine, (we) get good reps in the holding area, and make sure that we don't make any mistakes during the test. So, moderating our pace while maintaining attention to detail (is important).”

    The 2023 U.S. Army Best Squad Competition is scheduled from Sept. 26 to Oct. 4. All teams will travel to the National Capital Region and compete in the final selection board as well as attend the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Eisenhower Luncheon on Oct. 10, where the Best Squad, NCO and Soldier of the Year will be announced.


    Date Taken: 09.29.2023
    Date Posted: 09.29.2023 13:01
    Story ID: 454682

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