An interesting thing happens when infantrymen who have EIBs but no Ranger tabs come into direct contact with infantrymen with no EIBs but Ranger tabs. An argument will break out as to which one is more important to the infantry or whether one or the other matters more.
Camp EIB will usually argue that Ranger School is just a suck-fest that tests one’s ability to suck, be hungry, and stay awake for a long time, whereas the EIB is an actual comprehensive assessment of an infantryman’s core tasks.
Camp Ranger will usually argue that given the EIB’s relatively short duration (usually two weeks at home station) it doesn’t require the same level of commitment to attain. Camp Ranger may also argue that the leadership aspects of Ranger School are significantly more important than the technical/physical aspects of the EIB.
Of course, the whole thing is just another topic of conversation to make it through one more hour of staff duty.
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One of my favorite parts of OCS was receiving our three days of ‘tactics’ training. This included Troop Leading Procedures, graphics and symbols, and course of action (COA) development. The coursework was interesting, but the instructors were the ones that made it memorable. They called themselves “Team Five” and they teach all of the OCS courses – and probably some other courses – the same stuff. They were senior infantry NCOs, mostly E7s who had seen combat a few times and were now doing their time teaching fresh-faced Officer Candidates how to be a junior tactician. They were professional, engaging, and funny. They were the first real interaction most of the OCs had with infantry NCOs, and they made a very good impression.
Anyway, at one point one of the instructors was describing the process of templating the enemy and how it can often be more challenging when facing an insurgency. He began… “Ladies and gentlemen, we are facing an enemy unlike any we’ve ever seen before.” He went on to describe some of the tactics used by guerrilla fighters in Iraq and Afghanistan.
When I heard that line I couldn’t help but think that this was the exact kind of a line a grizzled sergeant would deliver to a room of space-infantrymen before they went out to fight aliens after the invasion. I laughed out loud a little, and looked around the room, realizing I was the only one having that thought.
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