Soldiers prepare for Expert Infantry Badge and annual training

Soldiers from the Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team prepare to qualify for the Expert Infantry Badge and perform squad-level exercises May 18, 2013, at Fort A.P. Hill, Va. The weekend’s training was preparation for the battalion’s Annual Training in June, during which Soldiers will qualify for the EIB and perform squad live-fire exercises. (Photo by Sgt. JoAnna Greene, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)

Soldiers from the Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team prepare to qualify for the Expert Infantry Badge and perform squad-level exercises May 18, 2013, at Fort A.P. Hill, Va. The weekend’s training was preparation for the battalion’s Annual Training in June, during which Soldiers will qualify for the EIB and perform squad live-fire exercises. (Photo by Sgt. JoAnna Greene, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)

FORT A.P. HILL, Va. — Soldiers from the Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team prepared to qualify for the Expert Infantry Badge and performed squad-level exercises May 17-19, 2013, at Fort A.P. Hill. The weekend’s training served as preparation for the battalion’s annual training in June, during which Soldiers will qualify for the EIB and perform squad live-fire exercises.

“Historically, units drill the month before annual training at their home stations and prep administratively, but here 3rd Battalion is on the ranges, in the field, making maximum use of their training time,” said Brig. Gen. William R. Phillips, II, the Virginia National Guard Land Component Commander.

Phillips observed the battalion’s training on May 18 and met with troops discussing topics such as retention, schooling, and equipment.

Soldiers of the Charlottesville-based Company A performed squad-level close quarters combat and ran an urban assault lane for troops to qualify for the EIB. The urban assault lane was composed of 10 tasks including, but not limited to, successfully firing an M4 rifle, setting up a Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System, and administering first-aid in the field. To qualify on the lane, the Soldier must successfully complete each of the ten tasks in 20 minutes.

Soldiers from the Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team prepare to qualify for the Expert Infantry Badge and perform squad-level exercises May 18, 2013, at Fort A.P. Hill, Va. The weekend’s training was preparation for the battalion’s Annual Training in June, during which Soldiers will qualify for the EIB and perform squad live-fire exercises. (Photo by Sgt. JoAnna Greene, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)

Soldiers from the Winchester-based 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team prepare to qualify for the Expert Infantry Badge and perform squad-level exercises May 18, 2013, at Fort A.P. Hill, Va. The weekend’s training was preparation for the battalion’s Annual Training in June, during which Soldiers will qualify for the EIB and perform squad live-fire exercises. (Photo by Sgt. JoAnna Greene, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)

“It’s 20 minutes of decision making and incorporating everything these infantrymen have learned since day one of Basic Combat Training,” said 1st Lt. Hysen Shala, 2nd platoon leader of Company A. “The EIB train up and subsequent testing is a compilation of basic infantry skills that every Soldier should know and be able to complete,” said Lt. Col. Erik Gordon, commander of 3rd Battalion. “If time permitted and resources were available, I feel every Soldier should rotate through the EIB training.”

In preparation for a squad live-fire exercise in June, Soldiers of Woodstock-based Company B performed maneuver and movement drills throughout the weekend. And the approximately 25 infantrymen going for the EIB shot the M4 rifle qualification portion, in which they must shoot expert, hitting 36 of the 40 targets.

“It’s not easy, but I am confident in my Soldiers’ capabilities,” said Capt. James Covington, commander of Company B. “Nothing on the EIB is new to them. They just have to pay attention, work hard, and know their stuff.”

To prepare for the expert-level of shooting required for the badge, Soldiers of Leesburg-based Company C, spent much of the weekend refining their shooting skills at distance.

“One problem with qualifying expert is hitting the 300-meter targets,” said 1st Lt. Herrick Johnson. “Today we are having them fire successively at 300 meters so that when they go up for individual weapon qualification they will be more successful.”

In squads, Soldiers of Fredericksburg-based Company D, combined their gunnery skills in firing crew-served weapons mounted on Humvees, in preparation for their crew certifications during annual training.

The scouts and snipers of Winchester-based Recon Platoon, Headquarters Company conducted squad-level battle drills with focus on react to contact and break contact, allowing squad leaders to conduct internal assessments prior to annual training.

“By incorporating EIB material into our scenario, we were able to both train Soldiers going for EIB testing next month and accomplish our unit Mission Essential Tasking List, a daunting task especially given the limited time we have with troops,” said 1st Lt. Jonathan Pungello, recon platoon leader.

Soldiers of Fredericksburg-based Company F, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th IBCT provided distribution of fuel and ammunition, maintenance, and food services to troops throughout the weekend.

These events with 3rd Battalion–doing actual field work–help them get back to the basics, said Capt. Annie Bonnecarrere, commander of Company F. It gives the Soldiers a practical environment to apply their occupational skill sets and allows the forward supply company to practice their infantry basics.

“Our annual training period this year will be exciting and challenging,” said Gordon. “During our training last weekend we were able to tie-up a lot of loose ends and position ourselves to complete a very successful annual training.”

Photos:

3-116th Soldiers prepare for Annual Training
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