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Expert Infantryman Badge
Expert Infantry Badge.svg
Awarded by United States Army
Type Special Skill Group 1 Badge
Eligibility Soldier 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.
Status Currently awarded
Established 1943
Last awarded On going
Next (higher) Combat Action Badge
Next (lower) Expert Field Medical Badge[1]

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: while the CIB is awarded to infantrymen for participation in ground combat, the EIB is presented for completion of a course of testing designed to demonstrate proficiency in infantry skills.

The EIB was first created in October 1943. 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, the CIB has precedence according to Army Regulation 670-1. However, while the CIB may have precedence, holders of both may choose to wear the EIB instead of the CIB. A similar badge exists for medical personnel, known as the Expert Field Medical Badge (EFMB).

Modern requirements (2000s)

A primary MOS in CMF 11 or 18 (except 18D) series position or be a commissioned officer in the infantry or in a Special Forces branch.

Army Physical Fitness Test: score at least 70 points in all events according to the candidate's age group;

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.

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 taunt the candidate even though everything is correct, which completes the rite of passage.


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