FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWNY) - Infantry soldiers say it’s a right of passage on Fort Drum. Soldiers were testing to earn a badge that they say means they are experts at their jobs.
Infantry soldiers from Fort Drum’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team are trying to earn their Expert Infantryman Badges.
"It' s a lot. It's like drinking water though a fire hose. You just got to get to one task at a time, finish that task forget it, and go to the next," said SSG Ryan Burton, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
Soldiers have been training for two weeks and now they are being tested. They have to complete 30 tasks in three different categories of training - patrol, weapon, and medical. Soldiers only get a few tries to do each task right, otherwise they don't get their badge.
"It pushes people past their own limits; it gets them into an area where they have to focus even though they are nervous," said SGT William May, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
"It's growing that next generation of infantry leaders to build into that large readiness and be ready when a nation calls us to deploy," said CSM David Hanson, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.
Soldiers recognize that if they do get the Expert Infantryman Badge, it's an accomplishment. More than 600 soldiers were candidates for the badge but after pre-testing and testing, only about 170 are left.
"I'll be proud definitely. To know that I can perform these tasks such a high level does give me confidence in what I do," said May.
“I’m probably honestly going to cry. I have ten guys out here with me, 8 from my platoon specially so we are going to start this together and finish this together,” said Burton.
Soldiers who pass all the tests will get their blue badges on Friday after they complete a foot march and one last shooting exercise.