CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait (Jan. 29, 2016) — “Dagger” Soldiers with 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, or 2nd ABCT 1st Infantry Division, are providing training to Soldiers for the brigade’s upcoming Expert Infantryman Badge testing, or EIB. The candidate training, which includes Soldiers from all units in the area, not just those from the 2nd ABCT, started Jan. 18 and goes through Jan. 31. The EIB testing is scheduled for Feb. 2-6.
The purpose of the EIB test is to recognize infantry Soldiers who have demonstrated a mastery of critical tasks, including the ability to locate, attack and destroy the enemy through fire, maneuver and close combat.
“It means being a professional and an expert at what I do,” said first-time candidate Capt. Andrew Grady, commander of Company B, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, “so that I can lead my guys and show them what right looks like.”
Months of planning are put into a single EIB testing process. Everything from choosing an appropriate site to picking tasks and selecting the graders has to be done to prescribed standards.
“Basically, everybody that is an EIB holder is selected to be a grader,” said Staff Sgt. Juan Fernandez, squad leader with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor Regiment, 2nd ABCT, 1st Infantry Division, who was in charge of the terrain features station. “I graded at the last EIB we had at (Fort) Riley.”
The testing is organized into four phases over a five-day period. Only infantry and Special Forces Soldiers are eligible to test for the EIB.
Phase one is an Army Physical Fitness Test. Each candidate must score a minimum of 80 points for each of the push-up, sit-up and run events to advance. Phase two consists of day and night land navigation skills testing with a three-hour limit. Three of four points must be correctly located for both iterations plus the daytime start-point coordinates. Phase three comprises 30 individual stations testing weapons, medical and patrol skills against time and standards. One retry is permitted at any station, but all stations must be passed and no more than two “no-gos” are allowed or the candidate is eliminated. Phase four entails completing a 12-mile march while carrying a 35-pound rucksack in less than three hours. The march is followed immediately by a combat casualty evacuation drill performed in 20 minutes or less.
“So far it’s been excellent training, very professionally run,” Grady, a native of Amesbury, Massachusetts, said. “The standards are put out well ahead of time and the standards are enforced.”
Soldiers and officers of the Dagger brigade have put many hours in preparing the site and validating the lanes, which includes a site visit from an EIB test manager from the U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia.
“We worked hard for them (the candidates) setting this up,” Fernandez said. “They should repay us back by going and getting their EIB.”