While tackling concerns about the Expert Action Badge,
senior enlisted leaders stressed Thursday in a virtual town
hall that the goal of the badge is to enhance readiness, not
discount the efforts of infantrymen or medics with similar
If approved, Soldiers would compete in
30-plus warrior tasks and battle drills, as well as up to
five events from a unit's mission essential task list, for a
chance to wear the badge on their uniforms, like the Expert
Infantryman Badge or Expert Field Medical Badge.
"It's not an 'everybody action badge' or everybody gets it,"
said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Gragg, with the Center for
Initial Military Training. "You're going to have to work
your butt off to get this badge and when you get it you'll
be proud of it because you've had demonstrated exceptional
While infantrymen have had a badge to
validate their skills since 1945 and medics started theirs
in 1965, Gragg said, the EAB would give the other 75 percent
of Soldiers the opportunity to earn one.
March 30, 2017 - Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Gragg, far left, with the Center for Initial Military Training, discusses the Expert Action Badge during a virtual town hall hosted by the Army Training and Doctrine Command. If approved, Soldiers would compete in 30-plus warrior tasks and battle drills, as well as up to five mental tasks, for a chance to wear the badge on their uniforms, similar to the Expert Infantryman Badge or Expert Field Medical Badge. (U.S.
Army courtesy photo)
Soldiers have also been lagging behind in their basic
skills, which could affect mission readiness, he said.
"The reason behind it is that right now our Soldiers
aren't necessarily proficient at warrior tasks and battle
drills," he said during the town hall, hosted by the Army
Training and Doctrine Command.
He added the Soldier's
Creed starts off saying that those in the Army are "trained
and proficient" in those skills. "All I'm asking you to do
is to show it," he said. "That's all it is."
the conceptual phase, more than 50 Soldiers are taking part
in testing the EAB idea at Joint Base Lewis-McChord,
Some of the requirements for Soldiers may
include a 12-mile foot march to be finished under three
hours while carrying a load of 35 pounds; a physical fitness
test with 80 percent in each category in their respective
age group; and being able to locate three out of four land
navigation points within two hours.
Shotgun and AK-47
rifle skills could also be part of the challenge. If a
Soldier were to receive two "no-gos" on an event, their
testing would end.
"As you can see this is not a
given, you'll have to earn it," said Command Sgt. Maj. David
S. Davenport, the top enlisted advisor for TRADOC.
Davenport previously told reporters that if signed off on,
Soldiers could start seeing the EAB by October 2019.
But some Soldiers, particularly those in the infantry, have
expressed dismay in rolling out such a badge.
asked them to look at the logic of the Army having this type
of badge. "We're not trying to cheapen anything," he said of
the EIB and EFMB. "What we're trying to do is enhance the
Army. We're trying to increase Soldier readiness."
Davenport added: "It's not a competition; it's not to say
that one has more value than the other."
April 2017 - The Army is looking to have an Expert Action Badge, similar to the Expert Infantryman Badge and Expert Field Medical Badge, that would allow Soldiers to validate their skills and boost readiness across the force. Some of the requirements in the competition could include a 12-mile foot march to be finished under three hours while carrying a load of 35 pounds; a physical fitness test with 80 percent in each category in their respective age group; and being able to locate three out of four land navigation points within two hours. (U.S.
Army photo by Staff Sgt. Adora Gonzalez)
leaders hope the badge will lead NCOs to rediscovering a
culture of training their Soldiers. The assumption, Gragg
said, is that the competition would cause Soldiers to do
more training at their home station as they prepare for it.
"You don't go to the marathon not understanding how to
run a marathon," he said. "You do some training before you
get to the marathon."
Another badge is also under
consideration, this time for platoon sergeants who
frequently lead up to 150 Soldiers going through advanced
In 2008, the Army removed drill
sergeants in AIT environments, and with that came the loss
of a drill sergeant badge and special pay for those in
charge of troops.
"We have a challenge in meeting and
maintaining AIT platoon sergeants in the force with the
numbers that we need," Gragg said. "Often times, it's
because individuals have no desire to come out and do it
because there's nothing in it for them."
all change if the Army goes back to AIT drill sergeants,
which is expected to occur October 2019. "The goal is to get
them back," he said. "It's a matter of us getting the money
in place and making it happen."
By U.S. Army Sean Kimmons
Army News Service
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