Local News

Bragg Expert Infantry Badge A Hard-Fought Honor

Posted November 9, 2001

— Some infantry soldiers at Fort Bragg are hoping to become part of an elite group. On Tuesday they will try to earn their expert infantry badge. As ground troops, their acquired skills are critical for war.

For soldiers, taking out a bunker or vehicle with a .50 caliber machine gun might seem easy, but soldiers trying to earn their expert infantry badge have only 10 seconds to load and fire.

"Any soldier could come across a .50 caliber machine gun. Whoever comes across it first will need to set it up as quick as possible and engage the enemy with it," said a Fort Bragg soldier.

That is just one of 25 exercises soldiers must pass to earn their expert infantry badge. The exercises required to get it are so challenging, about half of the 800 soldiers vying for the badge will fail.

The mission of an infantryman is exact and different from other soldiers. They train to get in close to the enemy and take them out, to repel assault by fire and do close combat with counterattack.

"Despite all the military technology we have in the Armed Forces, and all we have on the enemy, close combat with ground troops in battle will make the difference," said another soldier.

It is a specialty that could make the infantrymen the first to deploy if a large number of ground troops are called into Afghanistan.

Throwing a grenade is something all soldiers learn in basic training, but to earn an expert infantry badge, the soldier must be right on target three times.

A precise performance is required every time, because in war there may not be any second chances.

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