The Expert Field Medical Badge qualification event, hosted by the 82nd Airborne Division, began with 194 candidates.
“Competing in the event were Paratroopers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, several units within the XVIII Airborne Corps, and Soldiers from units across the United States Army,” said Capt. Lee McMooain, the Task Force All-American deputy surgeon.
“The first week is standardization week,” said Master Sgt. Jonas Woodruff, the Task Force All-American surgeon cell sergeant major. “The Soldiers get to go on each lane and receive a demonstration of everything that is to be done and know what will be expected of them. The second week is test week.”
The candidates completed numerous tasks under intense heat throughout the event that put their medical and warrior skills to the test.
“With a combination of warrior tasks and medical tasks, we try to bring out the best in the Soldiers,” said Woodruff. “All in all, we try to find the best medics by doing overall Army stuff along with our medical operating specialty.”
Along with the road march, candidates took a written test, went through three combat testing lanes where they had to treat patients for a variety of injuries, carried Soldiers to safety, and conducted day and night land navigation.
“Being a line medic in my unit prepared me a lot,” said Spc. Brian Loken, a treatment medic, with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. “Going through the lanes meant a lot of physical activity for us and forced us to stay in the game mentally.”
“The Tactical Combat Casualty Course (TC3) is the most challenging portion of the training, which takes about an hour and fifteen minutes for each Soldier,” said Woodruff. “TC3 is generally the lane that puts people out of the competition.”
During the TC3 lane, the candidates are required to disassemble and reassemble their weapon in four minutes, react to direct and indirect fire, carry a 180-pound dummy, and treat five casualties.
Only 48 candidates stood in formation on May 4, at Pike Field to receive the EFMB, one of the most difficult skill badges for medical personnel to obtain.
“Less than 20 percent of Soldiers across the Army who participate, successfully earn the badge,” said McMooain.
The top three performers were awarded the EFMB Coin of Excellence by Sgt. Maj. Samuel Suslik, the FORSCOM Surgeon Cell Sgt. Maj. “It was the bow on top of the present,” said Loken, who finished the 12-mile road march with the fastest time.
The candidates are required to complete the 12-mile road march in three hours or less before the horn blows signaling time expired.
“EFMB is a badge that we are very proud of but is very hard to get,” said Woodruff. “It’s only a select few in the army that has it but everybody has the opportunity to go out for it.”