With 278 Soldiers testing, the 44th Medical Brigade hosted its largest Expert Field Medical Badge event, Oct. 30 to Nov. 10. By Nov. 7, the number had shrunk to 171.
The badge, created in 1965, recognizes Soldiers who attain proficiency as field medics.
It carries approximately a 20 percent passing rate, said Capt. Elizabeth Boggs, 44th Medical Bde. judge advocate. Candidates from various units — the 44th Medical Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Womack Army Medical Center, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, XVIII Airborne Corps, are evaluated upon completion of a series of tasks such as a written test, combat testing lanes and a 12-mile ruck march. The CTLs assess tactical combat casualty care and communication and warrior skills.
Capt. Dennis Vinett, 28th Combat Support Hospital, 44th Medical Bde., was one of the 171 remaining candidates.
“I’m still in the game. I’ve prepared adequately,” explained Vinett, who said he had spent the past week and a half studying to earn the EFMB.
“It would allow me to set an example for my Soldiers,” he said. “It demonstrates a diligence to accomplishing tasks.”
Those who earn the badge are set apart from their peers, said 1st Sgt. Ryan O’Connell, the noncommissioned officer in charge of CTL2. He earned his badge as a Fort Bragg Soldier in 2001.
O’Connell helped evaluate Soldiers on TC3 skills such as moving under direct fire, treating lacerations, contusions and extrusions of the eye, treating an open head wound, triaging casualties and other medical interventions.
But, Soldiers were not the only ones being tested. Fort Bragg’s 2016 EFMB operation was also being scrutinized by personnel from the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, which is charged with overseeing the education and training of medical personnel.
Sgt. 1st Class Brandon White, AMEDDC&S, began validating Fort Bragg, Oct. 26, just before the first day of EFMB setup and will remain at Fort Bragg for the exercise. His duty, he said, is check to see if the CTLs are appropriately established for the tasks service members are asked to perform.
“I make sure that a standard is established throughout the entire event,” White said.
With showers and laundry set up, this year marked a first for EFMB. Additionally, it is the largest ever hosted by the 44th Medical Bde., said Maj. Andrew Bigelow, who earned his badge in 2009 at Fort Sam Houston. Next year will see the move to a self-correcting land navigation course.
Nevertheless, the one constant about EFMB is that it requires an attention to detail, Bigelow explained.
“(Earning the EFMB) is proof of hard work, and people who have gone through this process recognize that immediately,” said Vinett.