JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (April 8, 2013) -- Some 250 medical branch Soldiers gathered this week to put in long hours and hard work toward earning the right to wear the Expert Field Medical Badge during the train-up and standardization week.
Pfc. Christopher Anderson and Spc. Robert Farleigh, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, await a briefing Wednesday. Some 250 medical Soldiers from across the U.S., including eight from Fort Drum, will attempt to earn the Expert Field Medic Badge next week at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Mark Miranda)
Eight candidates from Fort Drum, N.Y., are joining local Soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., to try for the honor of wearing the badge. Candidates from Fort Drum came from 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team; 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd BCT; 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team; and 4th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd BCT.
Established in 1965, the EFMB is a prestigious Department of the Army-level special skill badge for the recognition of exceptional competence and outstanding performance by Army medical personnel.
It is a test of an individual medical Soldier’s physical fitness, mental toughness and ability to perform to standards of excellence in a wide range of critical medical and Soldier skills. Candidates are tested on medical, communication, evacuation and combat skills. They also must successfully complete a written examination, a 12-mile march and day and night land navigation courses.
“Combat Training Lane One is where the most people end up eliminated because it’s so attention-to-detail-oriented,” said Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Hernandez, one of the training cadre for the EFMB. “Little things will trip you up here … forget to tie a slip knot on one of your bandages, forgetting to place the ‘T’ on the forehead of a casualty after applying a tourniquet.”
“My staff and my evaluators are going to give these candidates every opportunity to train. On that last day, we want to see as many people cross the finish line of the foot march as we can,” Hernandez said.
Several tasks are tested on the three Combat Training Lanes. On CTL1, there are 14 tactical combat casualty care tasks, three warrior skills and three evacuation tasks. Candidates must be able to pass 11 of the 14 tasks in less than an hour.
Any Soldier, regardless of rank, who has a medical military occupational series or medically related position within Army Medicine – to include veterinarians, dentists, lab technicians, health care administrators, officers in training at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Army officers enrolled in the Health Professions Scholarship Program, and warrant officers who are assigned to an air ambulance unit – are eligible to earn and wear the EFMB.
“I didn’t sleep well the night before I started the EFMB when I went for it here at JBLM in 2003,” said Maj. Brendon Watson, chairman for the board of evaluators.
“I slept four hours; that’s the most I could dedicate to sleep because I chose to burn midnight oil, staying up late to practice. I’ve recommended these Soldiers to battle-buddy up and fight to motivate one another. These are tough lanes with a lot of subtasks. I am here to adjudicate any issues that might come from a lane. It’s the candidates’ job to beat my evaluators.”
“These Soldiers know the tasks; they’re trained. This is the time for them to ask questions because it’s showtime after this,” Watson said.
The Soldiers are scheduled to train at least 14 hours a day through the end of the week. The EFMB will begin Sunday with a written exam and skill tests on land navigation.
Staff Sgt. Mark Miranda, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment