Fort Riley team wins regional top medical team competition
August 3, 2011
Through one of the worst heat waves the Midwest has seen in years, 44 Soldiers from across the Army battled the triple-digit temperature and tested their skills and teamwork during the Top Medical Team Competition hosted by Fort Riley and Irwin Army Community Hospital July 17 to 21.
The 701st Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, team won first place.
The competition put 11 teams of four from across the Western Regional Medical Command and the 1st Infantry Division through exercises they would likely encounter on the battlefield and chose two Soldiers to continue on to the U.S. Army Medical Command’s Expert Medical Challenge at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
Seven of the eight events were conducted outside, including a care under fire event, range qualification, land navigation, physical training test, obstacle course and 12-mile road march.
Sgt. Justin Taylor, 701st BSB, said the competition taught him never to underestimate himself.
“We didn’t really train that much, but we all have our strengths, and we leaned on each other the entire time,” he said, adding that two of his teammates, Pfc. Kyle Brinkmann and Spc. Kyle Murrah, who have been in the Army less than a year, motivated him to do his best.
As a noncommissioned officer, Taylor said he wanted to show the new Soldiers what it was like to do the right thing and set an example for them.
“We felt that we were well matched (in the competition), and a lot of times, we felt we were out done,” he said.
What is most important to remember in a competition and in real-life situations is to think outside the box, he said, and trust what you know and trust the person working next to you.
“No one Soldier can accomplish a mission by himself. It takes a team and confidence in those working alongside you,” Taylor said.
Sgt. Andre Proctor, 701st BSB, said the competition was more of a mental than physical challenge.
His favorite part of the competition, he said, was the obstacle course because it showed him where he stood physically compared to the other Soldiers.
“This being our (Fort Riley’s) first competition, it was a stepping stone, and this competition deserves to be here,” Proctor said.
IACH, the Combat Aviation Brigade and 1st Engineer Battalion, 4th IBCT, also represented Fort Riley at the competition.
Staff Sgt. Alexander Folsom, General Leonard Wood, Army Community Hospital, earned the highest individual points and was selected along with Capt. Joshua Walters, Bassett Army Community Hospital, Fort Wainwright, Alaska, to represent the WRMC in final competition.
“I am shocked I did so well,” Folsom said. “The most challenging part was the road march because 12 miles is hard, and of all the events, it drained me the most because at that point, I was so tired already.”
Folsom, who participated in the event last year, said meeting new people is his favorite part of the weeklong event.
As he starts training for the next level of competition, he said he looks forward to the challenge and the competition.
Events like the care under fire tested Soldiers’ skills in a simulated combat environment and measured how Soldiers provided patient care under stress.
Soldiers practiced moving to injured patients under fire to treat wounds, as well as evacuated injured patients from the combat zone.
Evans Army Community Hospital, Fort Carson, Colo., won the team trophy.
Staff Sgt. Timothy Riutta, Evans ACH, said the competition was challenging and his team was surprised, but happy they won a trophy.
“We knew each other’s strengths, and we built on that to work our best as a team,” Riutta said.