On Tuesday at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference, Army families had the opportunity to tell senior leaders exactly what was going on in their worlds — an opportunity that is, unfortunately, all too rare.

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The first 11 soldiers were awarded the Expert Soldier Badge on Tuesday after being the first to take the pilot test two years ago during the award's initial testing.

They received the new badge during the Association of the United States Army's annual conference in Washington, D.C.

The ESB is available to all soldiers who are not combat medics, infantrymen, or Special Forces. To be able to take the test, soldiers have to qualify as "expert" on the M4 carbine or M16 rifle and receive a recommendation from their chain of command, according to the Army. The standards test soldiers' skills over a five-day period, per the Army, and includes events like the Army Combat Fitness Test, day and night land navigation, a 12-mile march, and more.

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From left to right: Sgt. Maj. (Ret.) Kenneth Ramos; 1st Lt. Kelsey Cochran; Brig. Gen. Patrick Donahoe; and Col. (Ret.) Steve Leonard (Twitter/Jeku Arce)

For an organization that is constantly shining a light on things that would rather be kept out of the public eye, the moderators of U.S. Army WTF! Moments have done a remarkably impressive job at staying anonymous.

That is, until Monday.

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For the first time, the Army brass and defense industry folks descending on Washington, D.C. for the annual Association of the U.S. Army conference will be joined by the Army's latest pride and joy — it's team of professional gamers.

Yes, the Army really has that.

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Photo via DoD

The Army has used the Association of the U.S. Army's 2017 annual conference to outline a major new modernization program — one that may change the face of American land forces as we know it.

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Heckler & Koch

Despite a brief period of ambiguity wrought by budget-jousting among lawmakers in Congress, the Army’s new and improved sniper rifle is alive and well.

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