Bragg Soldiers Compete in Army Best Medic Competition
November 1, 2012
CAMP BULLIS, Texas -- Four medics from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division traveled to San Antonio, Texas to compete in the U.S. Army's Best Medic Competition Oct. 26 -28, 2012.
On a cold day filled with rain and lighting the Paratroopers from the Panther Brigade would not be deterred from completing the mission that they traveled so far to accomplish. The task at hand is to become the U.S. Army's Best Medic.
Sixty-four Soldiers selected from all across the Army competed in the continuous 72-hour two-man team competition that would put stress on the most seasoned medics. For the Soldiers to compete in the competition, they first earn the Combat Medic Badge or the Expert Field Medical Badge.
Spc. Daniel Holmes and Spc. Jonathon Snelling, Team 2, and Staff Sgt. Craig Miller and Sgt. Jason Boroff, Team 23, bested the 82nd Airborne Division's Best Medic Competition to earn the right to represent the Division here at Camp Bullis.
"Let me state that we have with us 64 of America's finest Soldiers in all of Army medicine here today", said Army Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, who was the guest speaker at the awards ceremony. "We have every division, every region, special operation, Special Forces, and the national guard that's represented here today".
Day one began with a physical fitness challenge, an obstacle course and the M-9 and M-4 stress shoots that tested the team's physical strength as well as their marksmanship skills.
During the M-9 and M-4 stress shoots the teams had to evacuate a simulated casualty on a litter while engaging the enemy through a haze of smoke and the sound of weapons blaring from the loud-speakers.
"The best part of the competition was the physical demand and the medical tasks", said Boroff. "You get two hours to sleep and night before, and then the next day you get slammed with four medical lanes back-to-back. It was good training for sure".
The competitors also had to turn-in their written test which consisted of 250 questions. The written test was issued at the start of the competition and the medics had the option of completing their test or sleeping during their down time.
On day two of the competition the Soldiers maneuvered through combat medic lanes, the land navigation course, and an urban assault course using simulated munitions similar to paintball rounds while defending themselves and treating casualties.
"The creativity and work that went into the medical lanes this year was great, every one that you hit was uniquely different and provided a different challenge" said Holmes, who competed here last year. "From the vehicle extractions to the tunnel system, everything was aimed to challenge you in a slightly different way".
On the final day the candidates had to access a mass casualty scenario and complete a litter obstacle course with a 180-pound dummy. If that wasn't enough, a timed 2.7 mile buddy run, testing the fortitude and endurance of the competitors was the final event.
When asked how this competition differed from the 82nd Abn. Div., Snelling said the competition was more physical and continuous versus break in-between events, but the division competition definitely helped a lot in preparation for all of the tasks.
"We spent a lot of time at the division surgeon cell getting hands on training with the mannequin, getting familiar with equipment and talking through scenarios" said Holmes. "At the end of the day we came off the lanes really feeling confident that we did well and accomplished the objectives within those lanes".
The Paratroopers from 82nd gave their best effort but Staff Sgt. Andrew Balha from Evans Army Community Hospital, Fort Carson, Colo. and Staff Sgt. Alexander Folsom from Madigan Army Medical Center in Fort Lewis, Wash. representing Western Regional Medical Command earned the title of best Army medic and was presented trophies by Horoho.
"I would definitely like to come back again", said Snelling, who teamed with Holmes to finish fourth this year. "I would like to train up again, keep on top of my skills, stay proficient, get in a little better physical shape and come back and give it another shot".
"The combat medic is the key component in greater than 90 percent survival rate of our combat wounded", said Horoho. "Our soldier medics may be competitors today but they will be heroes tomorrow. I congratulate all of the competitors for their efforts in this competition and for the contributions every day to our soldiers and their families".