Louisiana Guardsman earns Expert Infantryman Badge - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Louisiana Guardsman earns Expert Infantryman Badge

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Louisiana National Guardsman Spc. Brian Smith was pinned with the Expert Infantryman Badge at Camp Navajo, Ariz., July 24, 2014. (Louisiana National Guard courtesy photo) Louisiana National Guardsman Spc. Brian Smith was pinned with the Expert Infantryman Badge at Camp Navajo, Ariz., July 24, 2014. (Louisiana National Guard courtesy photo)
CAMP NAVAJO, Ariz. (KALB News Channel 5) – A Louisiana National Guardsman was one of six infantrymen to earn the Expert Infantryman Badge at Camp Navajo in northern Arizona.

Spc. Brian Smith with A Company, 2nd Battalion,156th Infantry Regiment out of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana., attempted to earn the badge with 135 others in late July. The other five Guardsmen who passed were from Arizona. 

“Just testing for [the EIB] is very admirable and a testament to esprit de corps; it speaks to the determination of all the infantrymen who pursue it,” said Lt. Col. Will Rachal, deputy brigade commander of the 256th Infantry Brigade Combat and a 2002 recipient of the EIB. "Earning the EIB demonstrates mastery of our craft as infantrymen. Specialist Smith, through this accomplishment, has set a higher standard for us as infantrymen.”

The Soldiers had to qualify expert with the M-4 semiautomatic rifle, pass the Army physical fitness test, demonstrate proficiency with several weapons systems used by the infantry, complete day and night land navigation, correctly call for artillery fire and demonstrate basic medical treatment of wounds. 

"Attention to detail was a must, it's the little things that gig you. If you did anything out of sequence, it was a no-go," said Smith, a native of Lafayette.

Smith completed the course on only two weeks notice. 

He said the daily testing with so little room for error stressed all the competitors. Just a few missteps by any Soldier and they would be dismissed. 

“Earning the EIB takes tremendous focus and composure,” said Sgt. Maj. John Bonin, brigade operations sergeant major. “Specialist Smith's ability to adapt to new equipment and standards far surpasses that of most Soldiers his age.”

The competitors had to correctly complete the performance steps with all the weapons systems, and Smith completed some of the tasks such as calling for fire with no experience.

"I had never seen a javelin missile before,” Smith said.

Smith was pinned with the Expert Infantryman badge on July 24.

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