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NEWS | May 31, 2024

Army Reserve hosts 2024 Expert Soldier, Expert Infantry and Expert Field Medical Badge qualification

By Sgt. Natalie Pantalos U.S. Army Reserve Command

The U.S. Army Reserve hosted its annual Expert Soldier Badge (ESB), Expert Infantry Badge (EIB), and Expert Field Medical Badge (EFMB) train-up and testing at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, from May 5 to 17, 2024. Active-duty and Army Reserve candidates pursued one of three badges, collectively referred to as E3B.

The E3B encourages all Soldiers, enlisted, commissioned, and warrant officer, to become experts in their profession and set themselves apart from their peers. Candidates completed 34 tasks demonstrating their expertise in physical fitness, land navigation, weapons knowledge, medical and patrol procedures, and other warrior tasks and battle drills. Of the 158 candidates who registered for E3B, only 31 completed every task necessary to secure one of the badges.

As ESB and EIB test board president, U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Randles oversaw the integrity of those assessments and pinned 17 ESB recipients and five EIB recipients during a ceremony on May 17, 2024.

Randles remarked that “you learn to be a soldier first, right?...So how do Soldiers, identify themselves as being the best?” He continued, “that is what this these badges allow a Soldier to do. They allow Soldiers to say that not only am I good at the job that the Army has me do, but at the core of it all, I'm an excellent Soldier.”

Randles is passionate about his role as a cadre member for E3B having been through the experience and rigorous training himself. He expressed excitement and respect for the Soldiers that went through the process this year. He stressed the importance of the E3B program which both identifies Soldiers who have mastered the skillsets, and creates a learning opportunity for those who would like to become improve.

ESB recipient U.S. Army Sgt. Trenton Tuberosa, assigned to the 417th Quartermaster Company, noted that “the support out here (of the cadre) is the reason why people are able to get their badge. If it wasn't for them, this badge would be impossible.” He admitted, “even with them, it's still extremely difficult.”

U.S. Army Capt. Kevin Tirado, assigned to the 7458th Medical Operational Readiness Unit, Southeast-Medical Readiness Support Group, obtained the Expert Field Medical Badge. He said that he was motivated to come to E3B because of how few Soldiers possess the badge.

“The amount of information going into it and having to memorize it was probably the toughest part. It's more of a mental challenge than anything else,” said Tirado. He plans to create a training template for others in his unit to prepare mentally and physically. That way they know what to expect and will be better prepared to pass the assessments.

“When I was a young E-5 and I looked up on my command board, the one thing that every single senior leader had in common was an expert badge,” recounted U.S. Army Lt. Col. Eric Doe, test board president for the Expert Field Medical Badge. “I think it's important to get back to that standard of excellence so that way junior Soldiers will have the faith, trust and confidence in the talents and skills of their senior leaders.” He continued to explain that E3B is also valuable for junior Soldiers because it gives them a platform to prove themselves as experts.

Doe was supportive of all Soldiers striving to achieve one of the badges, even if it requires multiple attempts. He said that it is natural for candidates to be apprehensive and fearful about potential failure. He encouraged them to think of “fail” as an acronym for first attempt in learning.

Doe is one of 140 cadre members facilitating the E3B train up and testing. He noted that the more people who are awarded a badge, the more cadre are available for future assessments, enabling even more Soldiers to participate in the future.

“Believe in your own talent, skills and abilities. I believe in them. If you had enough (courage) to raise your right hand and to join our United States Army, you’ve got what it takes.”