1st Lt. Maria Eggers from Crazyhorse Troop, 1st Squadron, will be the first female officer from the 3rd Cavalry Regiment to test for the Expert Infantry Badge that will take place April 12-16 at Fort Hood.
The EIB test measures a Soldier’s physical fitness and ability to perform to excellence standards in a wide variety of critical Infantry skills. The test measures the mastery of individual skills through different evaluations over five days. The assessment consists of the EIB physical fitness assessment, day and night land navigation, individual testing stations, a 12-mile foot march, and the final event. These evaluations place eligible candidates under varying degrees of stress that test their physical and mental abilities as they execute critical infantry tasks to an established set of standards.
Eggers from Jacksonville, Florida, comes from a military family. Both of her parents served, her grandparents and now she and her brother are both serving in the Army. Her father was also in the infantry.
“My father encouraged me and made me want to join the infantry,” she said. “I like the challenge, and I like tactics, and I’m the type of person that makes those hard decisions.”
Even on the hardest day, Eggers doesn’t regret for one moment joining the infantry. In her Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course, there were 220 Soldiers in her class, and three were females. She said the males were very welcoming and treated them as part of the team.
“We (referring to the other females) were there for each other a lot of the time. I was the only female in my platoon,” Eggers said. “Physically, the training wasn’t that rigorous, but there was just a lot of pressure, and that was the challenge, and that affects how you do.”
Egger’s long-term goals include going to Ranger School. She is also branch detail military intelligence, so depending on what happens with Ranger School, it will help determine her future decisions. She has been at Fort Hood for nine months, and one of her most memorable experiences was the spur ride that she completed with her platoon.
“The spur ride was an impactful day. We were able to do something hard and create shared memories,” Eggers said.
Currently, she is training for the EIB test and is excited for the challenge and the opportunity. In January 2016, combat arms billets opened up to women allowing them to test for coveted badges like the EIB.
“I’m the only female in the regiment training for the EIB as an officer, but I like what Sgt. Maj. Chavez said to me,” Eggers said. “What are female tigers called? They are tigers. I go out there every day and work and train with the guys. It is hard sometimes, but I am treated as an equal.”
Eggers encourages other females to seek out their dreams and not be afraid of going after the hard things.
“The physical aspect might seem like a hurdle to get past, and I still have work to do the physical things. When I came in, I was doing a 23-minute two-mile, and now I’m doing a 14:30 two-mile and keeping up with the guys,” she said. “Just keep putting in the work, and if you want something, go after it and don’t stop no matter how hard it seems.”