With one of the most prestigious Army skill badges on the line, medics from the 4th
Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division and others stationed at Fort Bragg vied to see if they had what it took to secure a place among a select few in the United States Army.
One hundred thirty seven Soldiers competed for the Expert Field Medical Badge June 17 to 28. The competition was hosted by the 4th BCT, marking the first time in 10 years that a brigade combat team has hosted an EFMB competition at Fort Bragg.
“This is one of the most prestigious badges in the Army,” said 1st Lt. Louis Smith, 4th BCT’s medical operation officer in charge. “It is one of the toughest to earn because it is so detail oriented,” he continued.
To earn the badge, candidates must b
e able to perform tasks such as
day and night land navigation, tactical combat casualty care, selected warrior tasks and skills, a written exam and a 12-mile road march.
“To add to the pressure, most of the events were timed,” said Smith.
When it was all said and done, 56 out of 130 candidates were awarded the coveted badge.
“It feels great to have earned this badge,” said 1st Lt. Daehoon Chang, who is assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th BCT.
“This badge means that we have joined an elite group,” said Chang. “My Soldiers and I worked hard, and hard work paid off.”
Chang, along with nine of his Soldiers, joined the seven percent of the Army’s medics who wear the EFMB.
The EFMB is generally a division or medical brigade led event. In previous years, the BCT would not host the event due to the support requirement it takes.
“It takes about 130 personnel to support the testing phase,” said Smith.
“Because it takes a lot of manpower, most brigades are not able to commit due to their demanding training schedules and requirements,” added Smith.
Smith said that it took more than six months of intensive planning to bring all of the moving pieces together.
The fact that Fury Brigade was able to commit to such a task while conducting other training operations shows that with extensive planning, any brigade can do this, he added.
“Congratulations to the 56 standing in formation,” said Col. Steven Brewster, commander of Womack Army Medical Center.
“To the Fury Brigade, your pass rate of 44 percent is a reflection of the quality of your training and the attention that you gave our candidates. Events like this bring us together as a team and they remind us of our primary mission within the Army,” said Brewster.
The EFMB was created in June 1965, as a Department of the Army special skill award to recognize exceptional competence and outstanding performance by field medical Soldiers.