JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Virginia -- Out of all the events of the recent five-day Expert Soldier Badge (ESB) testing here, navigating with a map and compass and the current Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) accounted for most ejections.
Of the 95 soldiers that began the first day of testing on Sunday, 26 failed the day land navigation test and seven no-goed on the night land nav course. On the same day, 26 soldiers failed to meet the ESB standard on the APFT -- for a total of 59 dropped from testing.
"I hate to say this, but we lost 64% ... for just [physical training] and land navigation alone -- 64%," said Command Sgt. Maj. Edward Mitchell, CSM for the Center for Initial Military Training (CIMT).
Spc. Jacob Rosser, with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, plots his next point during a land navigation portion of 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division's Expert Infantry and Expert Soldier Badge testing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Oct. 27, 2019. (U.S. Army/ Spc. John Weaver)
JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Virginia -- The Army's newest soldier skill test is proving to be a sobering reminder that many soldiers are not experts at the basic combat skills they need to survive on the battlefield.
Out of 95 soldiers who began Expert Soldier Badge, or ESB, testing here on Sunday, only three remain in the running to earn the Army's newest skill badge.
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.