As the sun set on a grueling 11-day Army competition for the Expert Infantryman Badge, one Soldier stood out among his peers by earning the title of “True Blue.”
Sgt. Christopher Aloetau Hadley, assistant squad leader, assigned to the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment, 9th Mission Support Command, earned his Expert Infantryman Badge on Sept. 25 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Hadley displayed proficient in all 30 events, earning the title “True Blue," representing the Pride of the Pacific and contributing to unit readiness and lethality.
The EIB was developed in 1943 and is reserved for Soldiers who possess infantry and special forces Military Occupational Specialties. Hadley is familiar with these types of competitions and high-stake events.
“I competed at the Best Warrior Competition last year and won. Competition is a big motivator for me,” said Hadley. However, “EIB is different. Technically everyone attending can get it. You know exactly what you will be doing and the testing standards. Once you fail an event or double no go on a lane day (patrol, medical, and weapons) you are done.”
Through preparation and training, Hadley excelled. Only 57 of the 1,089 participants earned the distinguished title of “True Blue," earning a first time “Go” on all 30 EIB events.
“I prepared for EIB by studying the handbook and training for the run and ruck march with other Soldiers in my unit,” Hadley explained. “Having others to train with helped keep me accountable. Our unit gave us a month to train up and provided us with all the weapons and resources needed to train.”
The event included 30 Events for the EIB, Physical Training, Land Navigation, Lanes – 27 Individual Tasks, and a 12 Mile Road March.
“The tasks for testing had to be done correctly and in sequence requiring meticulous attention to detail,” said Hadley. “Some with the added pressure of a short time crunch. It helped a lot to talk through the steps while performing the tasks.”
Additional precautions were also in place due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“There were a lot of people at the training, but social distancing and face masks were utilized to mitigate any potential spread of COVID-19.”
Hadley was awarded the Army Commendation Medal from the 25th Infantry Division Commanding General, Maj. Gen. James B. Jarrard. He also received the 9th Mission Support Command Commanding General and Command Sgt. Maj. Coin of Excellence.
“I have had the privilege to be his First Sergeant and have seen him firsthand exemplify what we look for in Soldiers, not only within the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment, but also the U.S. Army,” said Sgt. Maj. Jerry Walden, 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment Operations Sergeant Major. “Sgt. Hadley has proven this many times through his actions in strenuous situations and environments.”
“It’s been about seven years since our unit has been invited to the event,” said Hadley. “Hopefully, it continues to be available for our Soldiers to attend in the future. It is a great opportunity. Go for Broke!”