Today we tested on the "White" lanes.
The EIB tasks are broken down into three lanes; Red, White, and Blue. The White lanes contain the number one killer of EIB candidates, grenades.
There are two tasks in four parts at the Grenade station. Task 1, Identify grenades by purpose. This is the easy portion. Task 2, engage three targets with five grenades. This task involves throwing a grenade at a target 35 meters away and having it land within five meters of the target, throwing a grenade into a bunker, and throwing a grenade into trench twenty meters away.
The trench is the number one killer. It is roughly 18 inches wide by 36 inches long by 12 inches deep. Any way you can get the grenade into the trench will give you a "GO" but getting the grenade into the trench is a lot tougher than you might think. An m67 grenade body is about the size of a baseball but MUCH more dense.
So here is the scene. I took my team to the easy stations first to build their confidence with a bunch of "GO" marks on their tracker sheets. We were the last squad to get to grenades, I was the last soldier to go through the task.
The sun threw long shadows as it approached the horizon. The training field was empty save for the graders and myself. My boys watched from the finish area while I failed my first attempt. They watched me walk back to the start point. They watched me throw two grenades at the 35 meter target. They watched me throw one grenade into the bunker.
The last, and hardest task, the trench came up and I had two grenades left. My first grenade hit short and bounced left.
I whispered Psalms 144:1, "Blessed by the Lord my God who teaches my hands to war and my fingers to fight." I rose my head up from the prone position and peaked over the barrier, verifying my target. I prepped the grenade by popping off the safety clip and pulling the pin. I held the grenade body in my left hand with my thumb, middle, and index finger.
I pushed up into the kneeling throw position, used my right hand to aim, and I threw.
Time seemed to slow down. I watched the spoon leave the body framed against a dark blue sky. Then I was face down in the dirt behind the sandbags.
The last throw of the day. My last chance.
The grader spoke in a loud voice, "You are a Mother$%$! GO at this time". The range detail picked the grenade body out of the trench and proclaimed, "God loves you Sir."
I picked up my gear and walked to the finish area and my boys came out whooping it up. There was no one left to see us, and we lost one guy to double "NO GO" on grenades (same thing that got him three years ago), but for a squad of 8 to only lose one Joe is a phenomenal performance for any group of infantrymen.
I thank those of you who prayed for us, please continue as we still have BLUE and RED lanes to go through. The ultimate high for me would be to see all my boys through this so that they can pin on their EIB with pride.