As planned for the latter half of 2016, the Guards Motorised Brigade is tasked with…
The 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team conducted the training and testing for the prestigious Expert Infantryman Badge (EIB) in Italy from 21st January to 8th February.
The training was initiated during World War II when American officers realized that they lacked knowledge and skills at the basic level. This motivated them to develop a training that would comprise assignments in first aid, weapons proficiency and patrol. As time went by, the training developed into a traditional event, while owning the badge became a matter of prestige. Today, almost every senior officer and general in the United States Armed Forces owns the badge.
In Vicenza, the Croatian Army was represented by Corporal Marin Dvorski, Corporal Mirko Komar, Corporal Duje Kukrić, Private First Class Ivica Glavinović, Private Dino Horvat, Private Trpimir Burčul, Private Fran Šnidaršić, Private Ivan Koščević and Private Filip Ličanin, who were led by their mentor, Sergeant First Class Toni Marijančević. Private First Class Dalibor Semak participated in the training as a grader. Last year, Private First Class Somak was named “True Blue”, a title which is awarded to soldiers who complete the testing without a single failure.
In order to join the training, one must pass qualifications which include a motoric skills test as well as a day and a night land-navigation course. After having successfully qualified for the training, the participants are trained in first aid, weapons proficiency and patrol during the first week. Each of these segments is made up of ten testing stations / tasks.
The second week is dedicated to trial testing. The participants are given a limited amount of time during which they can try to execute a task at a given testing station. The third week is only four days long. During that time, the participants have their motoric skills checked, they complete a day and night land navigation course, perform tasks using ten different types of weapons and conduct ten tasks in first aid and patrol. After having successfully passed all the tasks, they progress to the final stage – a 12-mile foot march. During the march, the participants have to reach the final station with full field gear, where their physical and mental readiness is tested.
Private Dino Horvat shared his impressions of the training with us: “Every task in every segment was more demanding than the previous one. For the first time, I had to learn and master things in a short amount of time. It is those things and the limited amount of time that made each training segment equally demanding.”
Out of 451 enlisted soldiers NCOs and officers who participated in the training in Italy, 187 finished it successfully. The low pass rate is a testament to the demanding character of the training. The members of the Croatian Armed Forces demonstrated a high level of readiness and trainedness in the international environment: six out of nine participating Croatian soldiers successfully completed the training.
Private Filip Ličanin completed the testing without a single failure and was named “True Blue”. “This has been an excellent opportunity to learn something new and something interesting. In each part of the EIB training, we were faced with challenges, but we overcame them on the highest level and learnt something along the way,” Private Ličanin concluded.
Text by DORIS RAVLIĆ
Photo by US ARMY
Translation by IVA GUGO