The candidate patrolled a beaten path when suddenly a roadside bomb detonated. Under fire, he crawled to a Soldier wounded by the blast and started performing first aid. Next, the candidate carried the Soldier into a building and secured the site before performing first aid on multiple other victims inside the building.

This was one part of a sequence of tests that the paratroopers assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, had to pass to earn the Expert Field Medical Badge at Fort Bragg, from April 29 through May 4.

The EFMB is a series of tests that combine basic paratrooper skills, such as the Army Physical Fitness Test and land navigation, with medical tests. Only Soldiers who have a military occupational skill that falls within the medical field can test for the EFMB. It is a very prestigious badge in the medical field, due to the tests of difficulty.

The 2nd BCT sent all medics who qualified for testing to the two-week course.

During the first week, the candidates practiced various tasks they would be tested on, including performing aid while wearing the joint service lightweight integrated suit technology. The JSLIST is used to protect paratroopers under a chemical or biological attack. The candidates were also tested on providing care under fire, performing medical aid in a mass casualty situation, and treating a variety of injuries that they may encounter on the battlefield. The candidates had to memorize medical terms, the proper names and uses for medication used by medics, as well as pass a written exam.

At the beginning of the testing, there were almost 200 candidates from Fort Bragg and other Army installations, but by the end of the 12-mile road march, less than 50 had passed all the qualifications to earn the EFMB. The 2nd BCT sent 46 medics to test and 14 earned their EFMB.

The awards ceremony was held after the 12-mile road march. The guest speaker, Sgt. Maj. Samuel J. Suslik, United States Army Forces Command chief medical noncommissioned officer, personally awarded the top three candidates with their EFMB. The top three candidates were those who completed the road march with the fastest time, received the highest score on the written exam and earned the highest score overall.

“It was really hard, but I am glad that I made it,” said Spc. John Cimms, senior medic for Co. D, 1st Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT, and a native of Aurora, Colo. This was Cimms’ first time testing for the EFMB due to the brigade’s recent deployment in support of Operation New Dawn.

“All the training and real-life experience I have received has helped prepare me for these tests.”