Ten Soldiers earn coveted Expert Field Medical Badge
April 8, 2010
By Lori Newman
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Forty-five Soldiers began the quest toward earning the Expert Field Medical Badge March 15; but only 10 were awarded the coveted insignia April 2 during a ceremony at Camp Bullis.
"For the past three weeks you have had the opportunity to be challenged - physically, mentally, tactically and technically," said Maj. Gen. Russell Czerw, commander, Fort Sam Houston and U.S. Army Medical Department Center & School.
"I think you would agree that everything you have accomplished has helped you improve your medical skills," he said, addressing the Soldiers who received the EFMB.
"Wear this badge with pride and honor; because you earned it."
The EFMB, established in June 1965, is a Department of the Army special skills award to recognize field medical personnel for exceptional competence and outstanding performance.
To earn the coveted badge Soldiers are tested on Tactical Combat Casualty Care; Medical and Casualty Evacuation; Communications; Warrior Skills; and Day and Night Land Navigation.
Soldiers must also pass a written test and complete a 12-mile foot march.
To earn the badge the candidates must:
Aca,!Ac Pass a comprehensive written test, answering at least 45 of 60 questions correctly.
Aca,!Ac Demonstrate proficiency in both Day and Night Land Navigation, finding at least three of four points each time.
Aca,!Ac Demonstrate proficiency in Tactical Combat Casualty Care, performing at least 11 of 14 tasks correctly.
Aca,!Ac Demonstrate proficiency in Medical and Casualty Evacuation, performing at least eight of 10 tasks correctly.
Aca,!Ac Demonstrate proficiency in Communication Tasks, performing at least four of five tasks correctly.
Aca,!Ac Demonstrate proficiency in Warrior Skills, performing at least 10 of the 13 tasks correctly.
Aca,!Ac Demonstrate physical and mental toughness by completing a 12-mile foot march within three hours.
Proficiency skills are tested in the combat lanes, and as candidates complete each task the instructors give them a "go" or "no-go."
Second Lt. Joshua Harrison, Company D, 187th Medical Battalion was the Soldier with the least "no-goes" during the testing phase of the EFMB.
Harrison said the march was the most challenging for him, "it's one of the last events, but the motivation of passing everything else really inspires you to finish," he said.
First Lt. Robert Bowe, Company G, 232nd Medical Battalion, had the highest score on the written test, 95 percent. He also was the foot march winner with a time of two hours, 25 minutes and 57 seconds.
"I'm tall, so I think that gave me the advantage, and I ran some of the course," Bowe said.
Bowe said the land navigation was the most demanding event for him.
"The toughest part of EFMB was seeing my peers leave," said 1st Lt. Kimberly Hendricks, Company A, Brooke Army Medical Center.
"There was so much support between everyone once we got through the first part of training that it was really hard to stay strong and motivated when they left."
Hendricks was on crutches during the ceremony because she got a blister that covered her entire heel during the foot march. She was the only women to finish and earn the badge this time.
The EFMB is held at Camp Bullis once a year. It is also held at other locations in the U.S. and overseas.
"It feels good to be the only female to earn the badge, even though I would have preferred that all of the females were able to earn it with me," she said.
EFMB testing has evolved over time to more closely mirror the skills Soldiers are required to use on today's battlefields.
The candidates must utilize current methods of casualty care such as, applying a Combat Application Tourniquet, homeostatic clotted agent and emergency trauma dressing to treat simulated casualties.
They must also evacuate their patients to a Stryker Medical Evacuation Vehicle and a HH-60L Medical Evacuation Helicopter under simulated indirect fire and Improvised Explosive Devices, over, through and around obstacles.
The first two weeks, candidates work with the instructors running through scenarios in the combat testing lanes and are briefed on the warrior tasks they are expected to complete.
During the third week candidates take the written test, complete day and night land navigation, and their skills are tested in the combat lanes. The event culminates with the 12-mile foot march.
Czerw addressed the Soldiers who did not earn the badge saying, "Understand that they call it the 'expert' and not the average. It is very difficult," he said, encouraging them to try again.