2/16th Infantry Soldiers recognized as “Experts”
Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, set out to complete testing designed to push their physical and mental limits and demonstrate proficiency in their skills.
Approximately 250 Soldiers put their skills to the test during the Expert Infantry Badge testing at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Jan 4-14, 2015.
“Soldiers must demonstrate a high level of proficiency in each task in order to move on to the next portion of testing,” said U.S. Army Capt. Phillip Matousek, 2/16th Inf. Rgt. B Company Commander. “Approximately 15 percent of candidates successfully complete the testing and earn the EIB. It’s a very rigorous competition.”
Testing began with the Army Physical Fitness Test. Although the Army requires 60 points in each category to pass the APFT, EIB candidates must score a minimum of 75 points in each of the three testing components, push-ups, sit-ups and two mile run, to move on to the next phase. The next portion is the land navigation course. Soldiers must use their land navigation skills to negotiate unfamiliar terrain and reach specific points in both daytime and nighttime conditions.
The Soldiers then moved on to three days of skill testing. Candidates were required to demonstrate efficiency in 40 different tasks including map reading, first aid, weapons proficiency, and use of communication and navigation equipment.
“Soldiers are tested on Skill Level 1 tasks,” Matousek noted. “These are all the tasks an infantryman needs to know to do their job.”
The final stage of the competition is a twelve-mile road march. Each candidate must complete the march over rugged terrain in three hours or less while carrying approximately 50 pounds of equipment.
At the end of the road march, 43 Soldiers successfully completed all portions of the certification and earned the EIB. One of these soldiers was U.S. Army Pfc. Brian Whipple, who had more than one reason to celebrate.
“Today is exactly one year since I joined the Army,” said Whipple. I can’t think of a better day to earn my EIB. I am so proud right now.”
Shortly after the road march, candidates who had successfully completed all portions of testing were recognized during a ceremony. The 2/16 Inf. Rgt. leadership congratulated each Soldier as they pinned the EIB on their uniform.
Matousek was among the 43 who stood in this formation.
“As a leader, earning the EIB sets the example for my Soldiers,” said Matousek. “It shows that earning the EIB is something they can and should do; it motivates them.”