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Rolling out the expert action badge Army non-infantry soldier award

Note: Starting July 31, I will be back in my old office at the Wadena County courthouse. My old office is located in the basement at the bottom of the stairs to the right. I will have my sign back on the door my phone number will remain the same (218) 631-7617.

Army Training and Doctrine Command is hoping to roll out a new badge for soldiers outside of the infantry and medic military occupational specialties, according to the command's top enlisted soldier. Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport said the Expert Action Badge will be very similar to the Expert Infantryman Badge and the Expert Field Medical Badge. If approved, soldiers could see the badge by October 2019.

"This is for the remainder of MOSs that don't have a formal way of certifying competencies associated with their MOSs," Davenport said March 24 during a conference call with reporters. Similar to the other badges, soldiers will have to meet requirements for foot marches, the Army Physical Fitness Test, tactical skills and cognitive skills, but the difference will be the hands-on training, he said. For every soldier who's not an infantryman or medic, they will be tested on warrior tasks and battle drills in a training event similar to what soldiers must complete for the infantry and medic badges.

As for the badge itself, Davenport said the early-stage concept for the Expert Action Badge will still have the bayonet and fragmentation grenade found on a Combat Action Badge, but there won't be a wreath. The Combat Action Badge. right, is seen next to an early concept of the proposed Expert Action Badge.

To test soldiers for the badge, the plan is to have a week for set up, a few days to train, and then a few days to actually conduct the test, which can be administered at the brigade level. "It will be a tool for commanders at O-6 level to validate their soldiers' skill in warrior tests and battle drills," he said. Davenport said he will discuss the next badge further during a virtual town hall scheduled to be recorded on March 30 and available for viewing at www.tradoc.army.mil/watch. In April, the Army is scheduled to run a pilot at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington to test the feasibility of the Expert Action Badge. Any feedback or lessons learned will then be evaluated. The badge and testing, if they move forward, must receive final approval from the chief of staff of the Army and Army secretary.

Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey told Army Times that offering testing and a badge is a good way to incentivize soldiers to train and remain proficient.

"I want to build individual skills," he said. "The reason why we have an EIB and EFMB is so those two fields can maintain their skills during peacetime." The test could include rifle marksmanship and land navigation. And the idea is to allow brigade commanders to choose to include specific tasks based on the unit's mission, Dailey said. "It's not exactly like the EIB, as that'll be focused for the infantry, but the EAB is focused on the basic soldier skills," he said. "It's all tied to readiness." [Source: ArmyTimes, Charlsy Panzino, March 24, 2017]

As always please see your local County Veterans Service Officer if you have any questions. You can contact your local VSO at (218) 631-7617 or by email at david.anderson@co.wadena.mn.us and as always have a great week.

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