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Spc. Kaden Voss is graded on calling for artillery fire during the Expert Infantry Badge certification at Hohenfels, Germany, on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017.
Spc. Kaden Voss is graded on calling for artillery fire during the Expert Infantry Badge certification at Hohenfels, Germany, on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
Spc. Kaden Voss is graded on calling for artillery fire during the Expert Infantry Badge certification at Hohenfels, Germany, on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017.
Spc. Kaden Voss is graded on calling for artillery fire during the Expert Infantry Badge certification at Hohenfels, Germany, on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
An Expert Infantry Badge, worn by one of the graders of the EIB certification at Hohenfels, Germany,  on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017.
An Expert Infantry Badge, worn by one of the graders of the EIB certification at Hohenfels, Germany, on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
Sgt. Mark Blackwell throws a practice grenade during the Expert Infantry Badge certification at Hohenfels, Germany, on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017.
Sgt. Mark Blackwell throws a practice grenade during the Expert Infantry Badge certification at Hohenfels, Germany, on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
Pfc. Nicholas Jackson performs functions on a radio during Expert Infantry Badge certification at Hohenfels, Germany,  on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017.
Pfc. Nicholas Jackson performs functions on a radio during Expert Infantry Badge certification at Hohenfels, Germany, on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
Sgt. Octavio Najera gets into position to engage a target during Expert Infantry Badge certification at Hohenfels, Germany,  on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017.
Sgt. Octavio Najera gets into position to engage a target during Expert Infantry Badge certification at Hohenfels, Germany, on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
Soldiers practice quickly putting on their gas masks during Expert Infantry Badge certification at Hohenfels, Germany,  on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017.
Soldiers practice quickly putting on their gas masks during Expert Infantry Badge certification at Hohenfels, Germany, on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)
Spc. Jacob Henrikson, winner of the US Army Europe Best Warrior Challenge, inspects Pfc. Lucas Bria's camoflauge during Expert Infantry Badge certification at Hohenfels, Germany,  on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017.
Spc. Jacob Henrikson, winner of the US Army Europe Best Warrior Challenge, inspects Pfc. Lucas Bria's camoflauge during Expert Infantry Badge certification at Hohenfels, Germany, on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. (Martin Egnash/Stars and Stripes)

HOHENFELS, Germany — Soldiers from across Europe are challenging themselves to earn one of the most coveted badges the U.S. Army offers, the Expert Infantry Badge.

Certification to get the special skills badge happens only every year or so in Europe, but the reason the badge is so rare is the staggering attrition rate.

Of the 226 American and German soldiers participating in the four-day training that ends Thursday, only 50 are expected to complete all the requirements.

During the certification, the soldiers must perform 30 combat-related tasks perfectly or they are immediately dropped from the test. The tasks, which are designed to push them mentally and physically, include assembling a variety of weapons, performing first-aid procedures and going on a 12-mile ruck march.

“The badge is extremely prestigious in the infantry community,” said Master Sgt. Davie Jones, an Expert Infantry Badge committee member. “When you see a soldier has it, you know he knows his stuff and that soldier is ready for a leadership position. It’s a huge milestone for any soldier who wants to make the infantry a career”.

egnash.martin@stripes.com@Marty_Stripes

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