It’s a No Go

So EIB is over. If you didn’t read about EIB you can find moreĀ here. It is basically a week long test that soldiers go through to say they are an expert at their craft. (Honestly, it reminds me of the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.)

On Monday, the brigade had around 850 soldiers start EIB.

Monday consisted of a PT test, day land navigation, and night land navigation.

After PT around 450 people were left. After the navigation part, 200 people passed through to day two.

Tuesday-Thursday were lanes with specific tasks that are judged on every minute detail. If you do not get through a detail or task, you are given a No Go.

You are allowed 2 No Gos.

For the entire week.

Each day more people fell off the ranks.

Going into the 12 mile ruck march on Friday, there were less than 20 soldiers left.

Only 12 soldiers out of 850ish were pinned with their Expert Infantryman’s Badge.

Unfortunately, Tom was not one of those. Only one person from his company made it through the week. Tom made it until Wednesday, so he did not get to do the last lane or Friday’s march.

Personally, I think the entire unit was doomed from the start. They have been working up to this for awhile following all the codes and learning the rules one way. Then just a couple days before, they changed the rules so that they could only get two No Gos for the entire week, instead of the initial 2 No Gos per task. They also didn’t allow them to challenge their No Gos like the rules stated, so they weren’t able to be heard by the graders if they thought their No Go was unjustified. They got to protest, but no one listened like the rules say they are supposed to. Tom wasn’t even allowed to talk to the next highest rank about his only no go. And when his Platoon Sergent tried backing Tom up and fight for his right to challenge, both Tom and his Platoon Sergent were kicked off the lane. This was the end of the test for Tom.

I am still astonished by the fact that the passing rate for the week was less than 2% of the brigade. It just seemed pretty messed up to change the rules. I mean the graders got 6 No Gos when they passed, why would they change it all of a sudden? Not my fight, but it seems a little ridiculous to put all this time and effort to get the brigade ready for this week and make it nearly impossible for anyone to pass. Any Army class is supposed to be a 20% pass rate, and here they sit with only 12 people newly minted with the badge. A lot of time and money for just 12 people, but what do I know.

So in true infantrymen fashion, all of the men have been poking fun at the notion of “No Gos” since they aren’t “experts.” Tom has been shouting it for the past few days at anything that he finds disapproving. And this weekend at a get together with some of our Army family, of course this was a running joke for the night. No go this, no go that.

So they all seem to be taking the defeat well.

Before this all went down though, Tom was really excited about land navigation. He is really good at it. It just comes so naturally for him. However, he was still concerned about the course time limit to find the four points, and was looking for ways to shave off time and make things as easy as possible.

Tom’s brain went to work to invent a handy map holder to attach to his uniform.

He is a map checker. He is constantly re-evaluating his route, just to make sure that he is doing what is right with the land. So he will look at his map at least once every 2 minutes. His thought is that if you aren’t willing to always re-evaluate your route, you may screw yourself over without realizing it because even a minor mis-step can take you way off course.

He was keeping the map in a ziplock bag in his pocket, because inevitably when they do land nav the weather is miserable and wet. So you can see over a couple hour stretch how checking a map ever 2 minutes can be cumbersome.

So we bought:

  • one old army duffle bag from a surplus store in town
  • clear plastic vinyl
  • snap buttons
  • velcro
  • cotton webbing
  • We also had to buy a new sewing machine…

Crosby was not impressed with Dad taking over the living room for Army stuff.


Here is he making sure all the pieces fit where he wants them before sewing everything together. The green pieces are the old duffel bag cut up in squares. Then the vinyl plastic is on top to keep it water proof.


He added Velcro so it would fold up nicely and stay put.


He put the snap buttons on the straps so it can be attached to the FLC (vest).


Then it was just a matter of sewing everything into place.


He even made pen holders on the backside. So clever.


This is the FLC. He just used the snap straps to slide into the FLC molle. (those horizontal strips you see)

2013-12-08 21.34.15

Modeling off his creation

2013-12-08 21.34.19

It just flips out so he can read it just like that. Now he doesn’t have to fumble through his pockets and a crumpled map in a ziplock bag anymore.

So even though he didn’t get new bling for his uniform, he did get something new for his uniform. This one seems more practical if I might say so myself.

Also I might add, it was pretty hot to see Tom use the sewing machine. Just saying people, a man doing crafts deserves a one way ticket to my heart. Lucky for me, I already snagged this crafty soldier.

Armucation on Ribbons

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.

Expert Infantry Badge.svg

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.

Combat Infantry Badge.svg

So while the EIB isĀ  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 Action Badge.svg

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.