Approximately 900 paratroopers from across the 82nd Airborne Division participated in training and testing to earn the Expert Infantryman Badge at Fort Bragg, Aug. 13-31.

The paratroopers trained for two and a half weeks before being tested in a five-day span.

For paratroopers participating in EIB testing, the skills and tasks that are presented are critical to real-world operations within a war zone.

The candidates are tested on a variety of skills ranging from combat care, operation of weapons platforms, to nuclear and biological prevention and decontamination.

“It means being an expert at your profession and that you’re willing to put forth the effort required to accomplish the task,” said 1st Lt. Christian Ostrowski, paratrooper, 2nd Brigade Combat Team. “Put the effort in and get as many reps in as possible.”

Testing for the EIB is voluntary and some believe this shows the commitment and drive the paratroopers have to providing professionalism in their career field.

“As a lieutenant it means setting the example for our Soldiers,” said 1st Lt. Jake Semerar, paratrooper, 2nd BCT. “Showing them that you can lead them from the front and that they should expect us to be competent as leaders, by setting the example and doing the right thing for them. All it is, is just applying yourself, and if you want it bad enough, you’ll get it.”

The paratroopers and Soldiers who pass all of the testing will be awarded the coveted EIB badge, which is worn on the left side of the uniform above the United States Army name tape. Once achieved, the awardee has demonstrated they are technically and tactically proficient.