457 candidates competed for their expert infantry badge but only 89 soldiers graduated. Sergeant Major Travis Quade says this accomplishment is a dream come true for most soldiers.
“Everyone of us started basic training here on Fort Benning at Sand Hill. Everyone out here and now they’ve earned their EIB where they started their army experience at,” Quade says
This is the 75th year of the competition and Fort Benning graduated 19.5 percent of the soldiers which is higher than the average of 17 percent.
Lieutenant Brian Johnson saw other soldiers with the badge. He wanted one too.
“First and foremost, this says something about the individual that they’re able to wear this. It’s an honor and it’s a difficult task that you have to work hard to achieve that. That person is held to a higher standard then say a regular infantry man. This says this man is an expert at his job and he’s capable of doing an achieving more,” Johnson said.
Johnson says this was his second time competing for his Expert Infantry Badge and that quiting was never an option for him.
“Times may have been as physically challenging today during the 12 mi. Guys were running off optimal sleep. After they leave here, leave the lanes, they go home, they study it’s easy to continue the drive on because you know what you’re going to earn there right at the very end. You get this beautiful blue rifle on your chest forever,” Johnson said.
The competition consists of 49 push ups, 59 sit ups, and a four mi run under 32 minutes for the first day then goes into three days of individual testing and a 12-mile ruck march where Johnson was also awarded for finishing first.