Have you ever wondered what all the ribbons on the uniforms are? As I watch Tom make sure his uniform is ready for his layout (which is basically an inventory), I thought I would explain just a couple things for you. An Army educational moment for you on this Monday.
There are so many things that can be added to the uniform, and they all have a special meaning. Badges, ribbons, even the berets mean something.
Some are given because of the unit you are in, but most are earned through a specific action done, task or course completed.
Right now Tom’s unit is going through EIB warm ups. EIB (Expert Infantryman’s Badge) is a 2 week long course where they do various tasks to prove they are “experts” at their job.
The tasks range from physical endurance, land navigation, to rifle ranges. It takes a lot of work to get it. They have to score a certain number on each task to be qualified for the badge. The bar is set really high on all the tasks. For example, they have to clear/load/fire/correct malfunction/re-clear a m249 (a type of gun) in 30 seconds. It would take me that long to pick up the SAW.
Although, Tom’s says that if you don’t know how to poop using an E tool as a stool, you aren’t an expert infantrymen. So I guess that is a task they can consider if they ever update the course in the future.
They have been training for the EIB the past month or so. They go through the official course after Thanksgiving.
Some would say a more coveted badge is the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. This is one that Tom received while on deployment. Only infantrymen can receive this, and they can only get it on deployment (hence the combat part). They have to be direct contact and personally fight in active combat to qualify for this award. It is a huge deal for an infantrymen to receive this.
So while the EIB is the non-combat counterpart to the CIB, the CIB comes with greater risks and thus more honor (in my humble opinion.)
There are also other badges that are listed in the same categories for other MOS (military occupational specialty aka job).
Combat Action Badge is given to soldiers who are not in the infantry but are stationed in an area where there is hostile fire.
Combat Medical Badge is given to anyone who is part of the medical unit that assists and provides medical support to ground troops who are engaged in combat.
These are explained from my perspective from what I have pulled from various places online and what I have heard from Tom. As you can see, they all have value and have different merits.
Those are just a few of the gazillion badges and ribbons that the Army can earn. It is really fascinating to learn about the stories and experiences behind each one. The service is humbling when you think about it.
So there you have it. Welcome to my world of “Eye Spy” badge version. I hope you enjoyed the Armucation.