LANSING, MICH.– On August 3, 200 Soldiers from Michigan, Ohio and Indiana National Guard units and active duty Soldiers from the First Army will arrive at Camp Grayling Maneuver Training Center to begin one week of training and one week of testing. The Soldiers have one common goal: to compete to earn the Expert Infantryman Badge. This is the first time an EIB event has been held in the state.
The Expert Infantryman Badge was initiated in 1944 by Army Chief of Staff, George C. Marshall to build and maintain esprit de corps within U.S. Infantry units. To participate in the EIB event, Soldiers must be in an infantry military occupation skill (MOS) and must qualify expert in marksmanship and score at least 225 points on the Army Physical Fitness Test. All candidates who go through the first week’s train-up period typically make it to the first day of testing (August 11).
The Soldiers will be tested on day and night land-navigation and 30 infantry tasks such as treating to prevent shock, engaging “enemy” targets during an operation, and calling in artillery support while moving under indirect fire. On August 15, the last day of testing, the Soldiers will endure a 12-mile road march with a 35-pound rucksack. Every Soldier who crosses the finish line in less than three hours will earn the coveted Expert Infantryman Badge. Based on percentages from other EIBs events, historically 10 – 40 percent of Soldiers earn the badge.
The EIB qualification event is currently not open to female Soldiers because “combat arms” is still an all-male military occupation skill– but this policy is soon to change. In January 2013, the Office of the Secretary of Defense rescinded the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule. The assimilation of women into currently closed duty positions should happen as expeditiously as possible, and not later than Jan. 1, 2016. When this happens, women who are assigned to infantry MOS’s, will be authorized to compete for the EIB with their infantry brothers.
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