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NEWS | Aug. 23, 2022

Preparing for the Expert Soldier Badge

By Sgt. Evan Cooper, 2nd Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade

CAMP HUMPHREYS, REPUBLIC OF KOREA – Soldiers assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division/ROK Combined Division participated in an Expert Soldier Badge train-up prior to conducting the ESB test-out on Camp Casey, South Korea, August 23, 2022.

The Expert Soldier Badge is awarded to Soldiers who have completed testing and do not serve in the Infantry, Special Forces, or Medical Branches.

The purpose of the badge is to allow Soldiers the opportunity to test their competencies and abilities in order to perform skill level 1 warrior tasks and brigade commander-selected tasks. The training and testing are meant to be rigorous, realistic and mission focused.

“Earning the badge gives Soldiers the knowledge and understanding that they do know their basic Soldiers skills and they are able to execute because they are confident in those skills,” said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Green, Combat Engineer, with the 11th Engineer Battalion, 2DSB.

The first iteration of the train-up was the land navigation course conducted on Camp Casey, South Korea. The training consisted of a day portion followed by a night land navigation portion.

“I want to give these guys an opportunity to train their land navigation skills and capabilities before they participate in the ESB testing,” said Staff Sgt. Charles Bush, Horizontal Construction Engineer, Headquarters Company, 11th Eng. Btln., 2DSB. “The biggest difference between the train-up and the actual event is that they will be timed for their land navigation course, and they will be in single man teams.”

The actual ESB testing will take place in late September, giving the participants enough time to review and correct any deficiencies.

While the Soldiers performed on the course, some found that the course was a great chance for them to refresh their skills. Camp Casey’s land navigation course is a self-correcting course which means the navigation points have the grid numbers on them. However, the 11th Engineers created eleven of their own points and attached code words to those points to ensure that the participants use the training they received prior to arriving at the course.

“To actually come out here and walk the course is way more important than the classroom portion because it looks good on paper but to get out here in the woods is invaluable,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Kupchunos, Construction Engineering Supervisor, with the 643rd Engineer Support Company, 11th Eng. Btln., 2DSB.

For the train-up, Soldiers navigated the course in two-man teams in order to adhere to safety procedures. During the test-out portion of the course, Soldiers will have to move as individuals to maintain the rigor of earning the badge.

There are options available for Soldiers to start training prior to the test and train-up. Resources are available online, at the Sgt. 1st Class Ray Duke Memorial library on Camp Humphreys, or through their chain of command.

“You can start learning on your own before you start the ESB training and testing,” said Kupchunos. “The Army is a busy lifestyle, so it’s hard to have the training that we have because we have an entire battalion to support us.”

Leaders and Soldiers from across 2DSB continue to seek opportunities to further their Soldier skills and leadership abilities.