HEIDELBERG, Germany - Lt. Gen. Eric B. Schoomaker, U.S. Army Surgeon General, visited the Heidelberg Medical Department Activity headquarters Wednesday to offer personal congratulations to two HMEDDAC Soldiers.

The two Soldiers, Staff Sgt. Bjoern J. Pietrzyk and Sgt. Charles L. Smith, were recently named the Department of the Army's "Best Medics" during the Expert Field Medical Competition at Camp Bullis, Texas, Oct. 19-23.

Smith and Pietrzyck earned the title of Europe Regional Medical Command "Best Medics" during the Europe competition in early October, earning them the right to compete at the Army level.

Schoomaker expressed his gratitude and best wishes to the two medics, who are both mobilized reservists from the 5502nd U.S. Army Hospital in Colorado. After speaking to the Soldiers for several minutes, Schoomaker presented each with a coin. Then, on behalf of the ERMC commanding general Brig. Gen. Keith Gallagher, he presented them both with an Army Achievement Medal.

"This has all been completely overwhelming," Smith said of the experience of winning the competition. "I think we are still in the awe phase."

Both Soldiers credit each other and the Soldiers they've worked with over the past year as helping them earn the Army-level title. The two were roommates over the past year and have been battle buddies for several missions throughout their Army careers. They decided that trying for the ERMC competition would be one last thing they could do together before returning home to Colorado. They both admit they were completely surprised to then go on to win the Army-level competition.

"I'm proud of my teammate," Pietrzyk said. "Without him I would have never made it."

Pietrzyk, a firefighter in Littleton, Colo., and Smith, an emergency room radiology technician in Denver, will return home to the States this week.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16