TYR Tactical

Army Announces Expert Soldier Badge

In conjunction with the U.S. Army’s 244th Birthday, the Army announced a new proficiency badge today, called the Expert Soldier Badge.

The ESB is designed to improve lethality, recognize excellence in Solder combat skills and increase individual, unit and overall Army readiness. The ESB is the equivalent of the Expert Infantry Badge and Expert Field Medical Badge but for all other military occupational specialties in the Army. Commanders will soon be able to use the badge to recognize Soldiers who attain excellence in physical fitness and marksmanship and a high standard of expertise in land navigation and performing warfighting tasks.

“The ESB will be an important component of increasing Soldier lethality and overall readiness to help achieve the vision for the Army of 2028,” said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey. “The EIB and EFMB have supported the Infantry and medical fields with distinction, ensuring their Soldiers maintain critical skills, while recognizing the very best among them. The ESB will achieve the same for the rest of the Army.”

The Army will implement the ESB in early fiscal year 2020, with the standards and regulation to be finalized by September 2019. Earning the badge will test a Soldier’s proficiency in physical fitness, marksmanship, land navigation and other critical skills, and demonstrates a mastery of the art of soldiering.

The ESB training and testing will be extremely challenging, mission-focused, and conducted under realistic conditions. Those in the Infantry, Special Forces, and Medical career management fields are not eligible for the ESB.

“Like the EIB and EFMB, the ESB test will be a superb venue for individual training in units and the badge will recognize a Soldier’s mastery,” said Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commanding general, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. “And it will be just as tough to earn as the EIB and EFMB because the Soldier will have to demonstrate fitness, weapons proficiency, navigation and warrior task skill at the expert level.”

Standards for the ESB are still being refined but they will not be adjusted for age, gender or any other criteria. The test will share about 80 percent of the same warrior tasks as the EIB and EFMB, and is designed so it can be administered alongside and together with them. Brigade commanders will decide if and when to schedule the test so it best fits their training schedules.

Under the ESB test process, Soldiers will demonstrate mastery of individual skills through different evaluations over a five-day period. The standards for the ESB place candidates under varying degrees of stress that test their physical and mental abilities as they execute critical tasks to an established set of standards.

To qualify to take the ESB test, Soldiers must pass the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), qualify as “Expert” on the M4/M16 rifle and be recommended by their chain of command.

The test itself consists of another ACFT, day and night land navigation, individual testing stations, and culminates with a 12-mile foot march. ESB test stations include warrior tasks laid out in the ESB regulation and may also include five additional tasks selected by the brigade commander from the unit’s mission essential task list. Example tasks include:

? React to an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Attack

? Construct Individual Fighting Positions

? Search an Individual in a Tactical Environment

? Employ Progressive Levels of Individual Force

? Mark CBRN-Contaminated Areas

“We worked tirelessly on the ESB to ensure we got it right,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Edward W. Mitchell, Center for Initial Military Training Command. “We wanted to provide commanders the opportunity to recognize their top Soldiers who have met the highest standard of performance in physical fitness, warfighting tasks and readiness.”

Each ESB task will be evaluated on a “go” or “no-go” basis. Pass rates during the ESB pilot testing were similar to that of the EIB and EFMB.

“The ESB is all about increasing the readiness of our Army. It will provide commanders outside the Infantry, Special Forces and medical communities the opportunity to recognize Soldiers who best demonstrate excellence in their fields,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy A. Guden, TRADOC Command Sergeant Major.

“This is not a badge to award so that the entire Army now has an ‘expert’ badge to wear. As it is now, not every Infantryman or Special Forces Soldier earns the EIB and not every medic earns the EFMB. Keeping with the same mindset, this is a badge to award to those who truly deserve recognition as an expert in their career field; for those who have achieved a high level of competence and excellence in their profession.”

By U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Public Affairs

44 Responses to “Army Announces Expert Soldier Badge”

  1. 92D5S5WK9 says:

    This is a fantastic idea. Glad to see it finally rolling out.

  2. Eric B says:

    Eagerly waiting for this round of comments

  3. Neil says:

    Not a fan of this. If a Soldier wanted special recognition, they should have joined the Infantry. There is a reason that Infantrymen are upheld and have special recognitions, such as the EIB or Infantry cord. This smells like another “everyone gets a beret now” sort of situation.

    • GANDIS says:

      Right, cause infantry is the only thing that matters.

      • Gene says:

        There’s a whole bunch of Medics that are proud of there flash too.

        And I could point at a whole bunch of folks in USASOC that don’t get a flashy cord who work pretty hard and probably get into as much BS as your average infantry dude. This would be there first chance at an “Expert Badge” you gonna take that away from them?


        • Gene says:

          Sorry, I used the wrong “Their”

        • Neil says:

          I am not suggesting that all the other branches in the Army do not work hard as well, or that they don’t matter—because they do. Without all the other components working together to support the trigger-puller, nothing the Infantry does would be possible. But at the end of the day, the Infantryman is the one who owns that last 300 meters and takes on the risks inherent in that. Traditionally, armies have recognized the Infantry (and other combat arms branches) above supporting roles because of this.

          Special operations forces are a relatively newer construct outside of the conventional force and as such do not have the centuries of lineage and tradition that an Infantryman does. Although, I would argue, that just being a member of USASOC (et al) provides a substantial amount of recognition just from wearing the unit patch. I mean, I think we can agree that “operators” are practically worshipped within the military culture, and society at large.

          • CJ says:

            You mentioned right there infantry and *other combat arms* being recognized by armies above others.
            There are combat arms MOS’s in the US Army that arnt eligible for CIB and EIB, despite plenty of time owning their own 300m and taking equal risk.
            No reason there shouldn’t be the same opportunities for those soldiers as well.
            On top of that, why not just have one single combat award for all soldiers? A CIB can be “given away” just as easily as a CAB…

      • Stefan S. says:

        Neil is right. First the CAB, Berets for all, now this. It’s the everyone is a winner PC mentality. The old Army if you wanted to “Be all you can be” you did a job worth earning badges and medals. Infantry, Ranger, SF etc. Now the PAC clerk can be high speed.

        • Yawnz says:

          Nah, this isn’t even remotely related. It is objectively false to think that the infantry are the only ones who “own the last 300m”. What you’re seeing is recognition where recognition is due being opposed by snowflakes.

          Either accept that infantry are no more or less valuable than the other MOS that most certainly do engage and kill the enemy within that “last 300m” or take a hike.

    • jon says:

      I heard somewhere when I was in an infantry national guard unit transitioning to active duty (OD) that the blue cord and EIB/CIB was invented to improve morale for Soldiers in WWII because most didn’t want to be infantry. The idea of give a man a ribbon or piece of flare and he will gladly face getting shot was the underlying tone. Given, I don’t know how true historically this motive was, but another argument can be from the Marines that everyone is a rifleman first. This is a good step towards pushing non-combat MOS and combat (non infantry types) towards being more competant. YMMV.

      • Nate says:

        Don’t forget that the Marines also forgo the wearing of Division patches, and when wearing camis, you can’t tell who has or has not been to combat. It’s more than just the old adage of “Every Marine is a rifleman”, its more “Every Marine is a Marine, show me what you got!” Is this a MARSOC Marine I’m currently talking to, or a Water purification specialist? You can’t tell until you work with them to figure out who they are, and their proficiencies. I think it goes a long way for not judging a book by its cover, or a man by his uniform. The Navy and USMC share the Combat Action Ribbon, regardless of MOS. Personally, I think this is a good thing. Frankly, it’s the only ribbon any one really cares about earning in the corps.

        • Chris says:

          Not the best example, as MARSOC Marines actually do wear an insignia on their uniform now. Marines have plenty of other devices that show some level of proficiencies such as dive bubbles, wings, etc. But yes, overall we don’t sport as much flare as the Army.

        • Tcba_joe says:

          Don’t the Raiders have a unique insignia now?

          And historically Recon been identified by their jump wings and dive badge?

    • David Reyes says:

      I think it’s a good thing to have soldiers do more hands on combat related training. God knows there is plenty of senseless computer training taking place. What I don’t like is that as the Army takes away badges such as Recondo, Jungle Expert they recognize that certain qualifications should be represented by another badge of honor. Bring back the badges taken away from the generation that earned them.

  4. Alpha2 says:

    The Army is getting caught up in their version of me too…tabs, badges and berets for just about everything. I cannot wait til they roll out the ECB…expert cook badge with crossed fork and spoon.

    • MacNeel says:

      If can get people to get off of ABCP and APFT flags…do it. Like it or not society has changed and we need to figure out how to motivate Soldiers; start beating everyone into submission again or make it 26 or older to enter and double the pay!!!

    • Maroon Beret says:

      Sorry Alpha2 but you are behind the curve. The Crossed Wrench Badge has already been rolled out for the mechanics and right now designs are being evaluated for the Sharpened Pencil Badge for the clerks. The cooks will be eligible for the Dual Spoons, or depending whether they serve in a Post Chow Hall or a Dining Facility determines whether they receive the coveted Fork and Greasy Spoon Badge. As to not offend any other MOS’ everyone else will receive the “Just Because Badge” so they don’t feel left out. It’s the Kindergarten equivalent of participation trophies. Seriously though I don’t know who is worse. The morons that create these badges or the insecure individuals who want them.

  5. Duncan M says:

    The US Army, where the only way to learn something is to do so in preparation for taking a standardized test. Way to take educational lessons from inner city schools.

    No Soldier Left Behind…

  6. mikemike says:

    Is there any reason (aside from being 11 or 18 series) that everyone can’t just go through the EIB course and earn that badge?

    • Anibal Perez says:

      It’s restricted to Infantry MOSes only, can’t even earn the CIB if not in an Infantry MOS also

      • Stefan S. says:

        Never understood how 18’s could earn a CIB. Not like they are 11 series. -Spoken by a guy who was both.

        • Rubber Mallet says:

          Pretty sure it goes back to the Vietnam era when SF was an ASI, so most SF qual’d guys were 11 series, so they could earn a CIB. When SF got its own CMF/Branch, we retained the ability to earn the CIB. It doesn’t seem weird at all to me that we can earn a CIB.

        • Pete says:

          Legacy from before 18CMF when it was 11B w/ S identifier (EIB) and 68W w/ S identifier (EFMB). I think that changeover was early 90’s. I’d be curious to know if 18C, E or F could earn EIB’s/CIB’s prior to that actually. Might be they just slid into eligibility with the changeover to 18CMF with the only exception being 18D specifically exempted for eligibility for EFMB/CMB.

  7. Will Rodriguez says:

    “Soldiers must pass the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT)”

    “Passing” isn’t a very high standard.

  8. Marcus says:

    I don’t get it.

    Sounds like a chance to be “special” outside the 11, 18 and 68 MOS’s. Why? You want that, change your MOS.

    Instead it’s “be like them. You too can have an insignia”.

    I think everyone can appreciate the fact every MOS brings something to the table on their own. We can joke about it, but it’s truth. But this just smells like a participation trophy.

    Think I want that if I’m, say, a badass 89w. Nope.

    • MacNeel says:

      You sir, have obviously never been around the FiST.

      • Airborne Fister says:

        Thanks. I did just as much fighting within the 300 meters that is said above. But I also engaged the enemy way beyond 300 meters. I also have cav spurs but I am not a 19 sergers and me and 2 other fisters were the only three that passed the spur ride.

        • Marcus says:

          Oh for Pete’s sake. If the Airborne insignia isn’t enough 13f’s still qualify for the CAB. And why Big Green doesn’t qualify FIST the right way is a mystery. No idiot who has ever seen them at work would disparage that MOS.

  9. Matt in Oklahoma says:

    I’m split on it. I don’t want to see the “everyone gets a trophy” but if it allows other MOSs to be better trained in combat skills and gives them opportunities they normally wouldn’t get then it could be a good thing.
    My MOS Ego isn’t so big that I don’t want to see others excel but I want it earned and not given as so many things have gone the direction of.
    Y’all gotta realize that Delta and SF don’t just draw from certain MOSs. There’s a reason for that and so we should strive to produce the best from all.

    • Will Rodriguez says:

      That’s a mature perspective Matt. A lot of good can come from this initiative. I agree IF the Army creates a challenging test and MAINTAINS a standard.

      That’s a big problem though as there are numerous examples of standards being “changed” often to facilitate a political goal. The Army isn’t the only one of course but it is the biggest and often the most noticeable.

      On the other hand I like the idea if for nothing else it maintains the uniqueness of the EIB (and EFMB). The CAB was created because certain national guard generals were awarding CIB’s to non infantry soldiers early in the GWOT. Getting those rescinded was an ugly affair and so Benning supported the development of the CAB. The same dynamics might be at play here.

      • Steve says:

        Another highly probable reason for acceptance of the CAB is that unlike the CIB, which can only be awarded to O-6s and below, the CAB can be awarded to GOs.

  10. Alejandro Renteria says:

    As a 12B I appreciate the chance to further compete with the 11B respective to our MOS. I would prefer that the tests were MOS specific rather than to a general standard but I think it is in the right direction.

  11. Stefan S. says:

    This just in….Army to announce a new badge for paying your Star Card on time. The Expert Finances Badge.

  12. Kit Badger says:

    Do you have to get a Grenade AND Knife kill to be eligible? Or is the device misleading…?

  13. Hubb says:

    The Marine Corps does not have this problem…

  14. Ex11A says:

    Here’s you a badge, and you a badge, and you a badge! Badges for everyone!

    • SSD says:

      Considering a vast majority of the infantry can’t pass EIB week, a test based on -10 level tasks, I wouldn’t worry about everyone getting a badge.

      • Attack7 says:

        Boom, so right, SSD. I applaud this new test and badge! Everyone else, stop whining. Get on the team.

      • Ex11A says:

        That’s why 11 series take that test every year until they earn it or get out or re-class. You know what the best thing about having the EIB is? HAVING IT so you don’t have to take the test! (Old infantry joke). Of course, NCOs then have to help run the testing. Sorry, Attack 7, I’ll never be on the participation trophy team. Having been infantry and then other things, I know why the infantry is different and should get just a little bit of recognition.

        • Attack7 says:

          Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever about being an Officer. You missed the point, weirdo, the thread is about everybody outside the Infantry. I know all about Infantry recognition, did it for 24 yrs 11B4VC2Q65WX and 11Z5M2S in Parachute Infantry and LRS units. Which is why when my ‘slice’ elements show up for an aerial TST, I want that same visual credibility of who’s done what, who’s trained, who’s NCOs trained them once for excellence, etc.

          Think about it, I was a True Blue Expert in a 5 day test of 36 Infantry tasks…..ONCE! And I did it as a PFC. The earlier, the more impressive.

          Lastly, the fact that all that NCOs do for EIB is run the testing says so much about you. You’re no Scotty Miller, you’re no Kevin Owens, you’re no Lloyd J. Austin, you’re no Sidney H. McMannus….the badass Infantry Officers who’d agree that your comments were basically from the barracks school of law. You’re the reason men run away from the Infantry.

          Make great people, make great units! ATTACK!!!!

  15. Adam says:

    You can tell if you’re talking to a Raider as they wear the new Raider pin on both cammies and dress uniforms.

    Same could sorta be said for recon. If you wear a dive bubble and have wings (also worn on cameos/dress uniforms) it’s safe to say the dude is recon. Granted plenty of them don’t pass five school or never get a chance to go and only rock wings.

  16. JustHere2Complain says:

    Buncha whiners in here