Figuring out precisely when the Expert Infantryman Badge (EIB) was designed and approved can be the source of some confusion. In its entry for the insignia, The Institute of Heraldry makes the seemingly definitive statement that the Secretary of War (Henry L. Stimson) approved the design of the EIB in early October, 1943. But in a monogram titled “History of the Expert Infantryman Badge” found on the Web site of the U.S. Maneuver Center of Excellence, we read that U.S. Army Chief of Staff George Marshall spearheaded the creation of an award intended to honor Infantryman and that the Office of Heraldic Activity of the Quartermaster General began work on a badge design—in 1944.

Regardless of when the badge was designed and officially announced, the development of the qualification process that would be used to determine EIB awardees began in 1944 when 100 noncommissioned officers of the 100th Infantry Division underwent a three-day evaluation program with an ultimate goal of selecting the first Expert Infantryman. The eight tests included qualifications in a single weapon and transition firing (or qualifying with a crew-served weapon and in transition firing); qualification in another weapon; qualification in grenades, including a grenade course; completion of continuous (no falling out) foot marches (no falling out) with full-field equipment, one covering for 25 miles in eight hours and another for 9 miles in two hours; a physical fitness test; successful completion of close-combat, combat-in-cities, and infiltration courses; and a military subject test. Following a series of interviews, Technical Sergeant Walter Bull became the first Soldier to be awarded the Expert Infantryman Badge.

The EIB test has undergone numerous revisions over the decades since it was implemented, most recently with the release of U.S. Army Infantry School Pamphlet 350-6 on January 4, 2016. Although there are 48 tasks in total, EIB candidates are given several selections for some portions of the test, bringing the total number of Individual Tasks a Soldier must complete during testing to 37. These include the Army Physical Fitness Test, Land Navigation (under both Day and Night conditions), 30 testing stations, Objective Bull Tasks (battlefield First Aid), and a 12-Mile Forced March.

Under the new test system, only 18 percent of candidates earned the EIB.

To be eligible for the EIB program, Soldiers must be Active Army and possess an MOS 11 or 18; Warrant Officers (180A) and Special Operations or Infantry Officers serving in Infantry positions are also eligible.

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