Guardsmen earn Expert Infantryman Badge

By Staff Sgt. Lerone Simmons, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Capt. James Murray (right), assigned to 1st Battalion 149th Infantry Regiment, Kentucky National Guard, gets pinned with the Expert Infantryman Badge by his battalion commander, Lt. Col. Eddie Simpson, after successfully completing the infantryman test Aug. 10 at Fort Pickett, Va. Murray was one of three Kentucky Guardsmen to earn the EIB. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Lerone Simmons)

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Kentucky Guardsmen assigned to the 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment, Kentucky National Guard, earned the Expert Infantry Badge (EIB) at Fort Pickett, Va., after completing the rigorous test Aug. 5-10, 2017.

Spc. Adam Dunn, Capt. James Murray, and Maj. Jason Mendez, all assigned to the 1/149th “Mountain Warriors” completed the EIB as the Kentucky contingent.

“This was one of the hardest things I’ve been a part of, and it definitely feels like I’ve earned it,” said Dunn.

Soldiers from the Kentucky Guard, the Virginia National Guard’s 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the 82nd Airborne Division and the British Army’s Princess of Wales Royal Regiment participated in the EIB. More than 25o candidates started on day one but only 33 were awarded the badge.

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The Mountain Warriors began training for the EIB three months prior to arriving at Fort Pickett, and were able to get some additional training from the instruction and knowledge of the cadre and fellow candidates.

Planning was also an incredible feat as well. According to 1st Lt. Chris Galvan, the planning officer for the 1/149th, who earned his EIB in 2000, seeing everything come together was something to be proud of.

“This time seeing the overall event put together was very informational. This took six to eight months of planning and it turned out well,” said Galvan. “A representative came out from Ft. Benning to ensure the standards were implemented and followed correctly.”

The first day of testing required everyone to pass the Army physical fitness test with at least 80 percent in each event for their specific age group. This was followed by day and night land navigation on the second day.

Each day the tasks became more mentally challenging which led to fatigue and stress taking their toll on a majority of the candidates.

The third day involved various medical tasks from providing first aid for an open head wound to controlling bleeding. The fourth day consisted of patrol testing, including moving under direct fire, employing hand grenades and using visual signaling techniques. Weapons testing occurred on the fifth day. Soldiers were expected to be proficient on a variety of standard military weapons systems.

On the final day, Soldiers completed a 12-mile foot march in less than three hours, and assessed and transported a casualty to earn the EIB.

For Dunn, testing on weapon’s day was his largest obstacle, but his preparation allowed him to excel.

“Testing on the AT-4 was intimidating, the sequence and the time constraints were challenging, but with the amount of time we invested earlier in training, I was able to complete it,” he said.

Being one of three definitely separated Dunn from his peers, but when asked how his success compared to his peers he said, “Any of these guys could have been up there with me, they are all squared away. I’m sure if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here, because if one was strong at something, he helped everyone else get a better understanding of it. It was a team effort.”

“Kentuckians will be back for the next EIB, and they’ll be hungry,” said Dunn.