FORT CARSON, Colorado - Nearly 200 Army medical personnel stationed throughout the United States convened at Camp Red Devil here March 2 to vie for the Expert Field Medical Badge. Out of the 187 candidates who competed, only six Soldiers earned the coveted award.
"(The) Expert Field Medical Badge is the trademark of excellence for combat medics," said Col. Michael Place, commander of 10th Combat Support Hospital, that hosted the two-week competition.
The competitors included medical personnel from Fort Carson, Fort Hood, Fort Irwin, Fort Knox, Fort Polk, Fort Riley, Fort Sill, the Walter Reed Institute of Research; and included Army Reserve Soldiers from Colorado, Missouri, Texas and New York.
The competition consisted of a week of standardization and a week of testing. During standardization, candidates and their graders reviewed everything being tested to establish one standard for each task. Testing began with a 60 question written exam, followed by lanes testing tactical combat casualty care, casualty evacuation, communication, survival, and warrior tasks. On a given lane, candidates could encounter obstacles such as a sucking-chest wound, indirect fire, a chemical hazard, and a litter obstacle course. Cadre members constantly changed the status of casualties and the environment on each lane.
"The lanes are designed to test individual tasks in a scenario which most closely replicates the real-world experiences from downrange operations," said Master Sgt. Daniel Traver, noncommissioned-officer-in-charge of the competition. "(The EFMB) is the ultimate challenge of attention to detail."
The candidates were also required to correctly identify three out of four points during day and night land navigation and ruck 12 miles in less than three hours. Following the road march, the candidates who crossed the finish line were greeted by cheers from fellow Soldiers, family members and friends.
"It means a lot to get this because it helps me to understand what my medics do on a daily basis," said 1st Lt. Andrew Destefano, of the 704th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division here who was one of the six Soldiers to earn the badge.
Maj. Gen. David Rubenstein, commander of the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, congratulated the graduates and spoke about the accomplishments of present and past Army medical personnel.
"The biggest reason for the unprecedented survival rate in the current war is point-of-injury care, which is a direct reflection of medics and their training," Place said. "Right now, while we're sitting here in the Special Events Center, a Soldier in Afghanistan is bleeding," he said. "What (the EFMB) is about are the Soldiers who will be treated a month from now, or a year from now."
The EFMP was awarded to:
Capt. Michael Bradley, Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
Capt. Lisa Paroz, Fort Carson Medical Department Activity
Staff Sgt. Justin Jesus, Fort Carson Medical Department Activity
1st Lt. Andrew DeStefano, 704th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th BCT, 4th Inf. Div.;
Sgt. Sean Snibbe, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Inf. Div., Fort Riley, Kansas
Sgt. Ryan Urban, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th BCT, 4th Inf. Div.