Expert Infantryman Badge

The Expert Infantryman Badge, or EIB, is a special skills badge of the United States Army. Although similar in name and appearance to the Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB), it is a completely different award. The CIB is awarded to infantrymen for participation in ground combat while the EIB is presented for completion of a course of testing designed to demonstrate proficiency in infantry skills.[2]

Expert Infantryman Badge
U.S. Army Expert Infantryman Badge
Awarded by United States Army
TypeSpecial Skill Group 1 Badge
EligibilitySoldier must meet Department of the Army established testing requirements and must possess a military occupational specialty within Career Management Field 11 (Infantry) or 18 (Special Forces), less MOS 18D.
StatusCurrently awarded
Statistics
EstablishedNovember 11, 1943
First awardedMarch 29, 1944
Last awardedOn going
Precedence
Next (higher)Combat Action Badge
EquivalentExpert Field Medical Badge
Next (lower)Expert Field Medical Badge[1]
RelatedThe Army Combat Infantry Badge and Combat Medic Badge

The EIB was created with the CIB by executive order in November 1943 during World War II. Currently, it is awarded to U.S. Army personnel who hold infantry or special forces military occupational specialties. To be awarded the EIB, the soldier must complete a number of prerequisites and pass a battery of graded tests on basic infantry skills.

Personnel who have been awarded both the EIB and the CIB are not authorized to wear both badges simultaneously. In such cases, Army Regulations allow the recipient to choose which badge is worn. A similar badge exists for medical personnel, known as the Expert Field Medical Badge (EFMB).[3]

The EIB is a silver and enamel badge, consisting of a 3-inch-wide (76 mm) rectangular bar with an infantry-blue field upon which is superimposed a Springfield Arsenal Musket, Model 1795.

Modern requirements (2000s)

A primary Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) in Career Management Fields (CMF) 11 (Infantry) or 18 (Special Forces) series, except 18Ds (Special Forces Medical Sergeant).

EIB Physical Fitness Assessment: Each candidate (regardless of sex or age) is required to complete 49 push-ups, 59 sit-ups and finish a 4 mile run in 32 minutes or less.

Land navigation: complete a day and a night land navigation course;

Weapon qualification: earn an "expert" qualification on their assigned weapon, typically an M16/M4; in the case of mortarmen (MOS 11C) expert qualification on the mortar is an additional requirement.

Forced foot march: complete a 12-mile foot march, carrying M4 and 35 lb. load + extra gear for a total of up to 70 lbs, within three hours.

Lane or station testing in individual tasks, graded as pass/fail ("GO"/"NO GO"). There are approximately 30–35 stations in this phase. Candidates must pass every station; if they receive a "NO GO" on their first attempt, they have one chance to retest. A second "NO GO" at any station results in a failure for the entire testing phase. In addition, if a candidate receives three "NO GO"s (even if distributed over three stations) they have similarly failed the phase. Generally there are multiple stations in all the following areas (less common/defunct tasks in italics):

  • First Aid
  • Chemical. Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) procedures
  • Call for fire (indirect fire)
  • Techniques for movement under fire, camouflage, hand-signaling, range estimation, and reporting contact to higher headquarters
  • Communications: competency with ASIP and SINCGARS field radios and procedures
  • Map reading: terrain identification, use of military GPS
  • Weapons proficiency: load, unload, perform function checks, clear, correct malfunctions, etc. for M9, M16/M4, M203, M249, M240B, M60, M2, Mk 19, AT4, Javelin; employ hand grenades, Claymore, and anti-tank mines
  • Proficiency with night vision devices
  • Boresighting proficiency

Terminology and ritual

While training in basic skills is a major goal of the EIB program, the EIB institution additionally provides an area of common experience and vocabulary across the infantry in the US Army. This test comes around about once every 2 years to most Infantry units. Those who fail could wait over a year before they have the opportunity to try again. Most likely they will transfer or PCS to another Infantry unit that may or may not be testing that year. Thus, the wait to retest could be longer.

Sociologically, the testing phase especially acts as a rite of passage for many infantrymen. The period of testing usually stretches over several days, with the number of candidates remaining steadily dwindling and pressure similarly increasing. Traditionally, hand grenades (where the candidate has five grenades to hit three different targets) and call for fire are considered the most difficult tests.

There is a specific slang vocabulary associated with EIB testing. Graders at each station usually have EIBs themselves; a badge protector is therefore a particularly difficult grader, perceived to be protecting the status of the award which he holds. Graders typically carry a blue pen to mark "GO"s and a red pen to mark "NO GO"s; to complete the entire phase without a single NO GO is therefore to go true blue. Similarly, if a candidate has two "NO GO"s he is said to be blade running; any mistake will eliminate him. Usually if the candidate makes a mistake and time has not run out, the grader will tell the candidate "you still have time remaining", which is a clue that the candidate may have done something wrong. On occasion, the grader will do this to unnerve the candidate even though everything is correct, which completes the rite of passage.

References

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