Original typewritten copy thanks to Jeff Reed
The Expert Infantryman Badge, often referred to as the "EIB" is unique among skill qualification badges. The distinctive award, an infantry musket in silver on a rectangular blue background with a silver border, is among the most highly prized peacetime decorations. It can only be earned by an infantryman. It sets him apart-not only as an infantry soldier, but as a soldier who knows his infantry subject matter. You don't have to ask whether he knows his job-you just look at the badge topping the ribbons on his chest.
The "EIB" was designed in October, 1943 and was approved for wear on October 27, 1943 by War Department Circular #269. The original "EIB" was awarded after a soldier passed a battery of tests, which covered a wide range of infantry and infantry related skills. Since its inception the tests have been updated to keep pace with changes in tactics, doctrine, and equipment. But, one characteristic has remained: the "EIB" test is one of the toughest physical and most demanding mental challenges an infantryman will ever face.
The 100th Infantry Division of WII was activated at Ft. Jackson, S.C. on November 15, 1942. It was commanded by Major General Withers A. Burress from activation through combal to peace in Europe. After initial training at Ft. Jackson and winter maneuvers in Tennessee, the division moved to Ft. Bragg, N.C. to prepare for overseas combat. The first "EIB" was awarded to Technical Sergeant Walter Bull of Company A, 399th Infantry Regiment, 100th Infantry Division. It was awarded at Ft. Bragg on March 29, 1944, by Lt. Gen. Leslie J. HcNair, Commander cf U.S. Army Ground Forces. The 399th Infantry Regiment was then commanded by Colonel Andrew C. Tychsen, who later became the second Commanding General of the Division.
The 100th Infantry Division fought with honor in France and Germany in the WWII battles of Ardennes-Alsace, Central Europe, and the Rhineland. The division was deactivated after WWII in 1946. It was reactivated as a reserve division with various designations over the ensuing years. At this time in 1999 it is designated as the 100th Division (IT) Institutional Training, with headquarters in Louisville, KY.and reserve responsibilities in Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
Each year formal competition is conducted and the "EIB" is awarded to qualifying soldiers at Ft. Bragg, N.C. and Ft. Jackson, S.C. When ever possible the awards are made at ceremonies with combat veterans of the 100th Infantry Division of WWII attending.
A permanent marker is located at Ft. Bragg, N.C. commemorating
the March 29, 1944 event of the award of the first Expert Infantry man Badge.