By Sfc. Brent HuntMay 2, 2014
WARRIOR BASE, South Korea -- Soldiers from the 2nd Infantry Division dominated the annual 2014 Eighth U.S. Army Expert Field Medical Badge qualification at Warrior Base, South Korea, May 2.
Just two weeks ago, 242 medics from around the Korean peninsula started training for the two-week event. Today, at a ceremony on Warrior Base near the Demilitarized Zone, only 18 Soldiers remained. Of the 18 left standing, 12 2nd Inf. Div. Soldiers were pinned with the coveted EFMB to wear proudly above their U.S. Army nameplate on their uniforms.
"EFMB is one of the most grueling tests in our Army," said Command Sgt. Maj. Ray Devens, U.S. Eighth Army senior enlisted advisor. "The badge is about taking your proficiency and knowledge and passing it to others. You are now charged with ensuring others can, too, someday earn that badge. You are now the expert and everywhere you go you will be recognized as an expert. Congratulations on earning the badge."
Over the course of two-weeks, medics must first train on the tasks that will be tested to earn the badge. At the completion of the training, the candidates than take a written test to see if they qualify for the testing portion of the EFMB.
During the testing week, candidates must perform to perfection 42 standardized tasks and complete a 12-mile roadmarch in less than three hours. At any time during the testing week the Soldier gets a "no-go" on a task, they are sent back to their unit and will have to try again next year.
The EFMB recognizes medical Soldiers who attain a high degree of professional skill and proficiency as field medics. With less than a 20 percent success rate Army-wide, the EFMB is considered the crowning achievement for the Army medical community. Currently, only three percent of the Army medical community wear the EFMB.
Of the 12 2nd Inf. Div. Soldiers who earned the EFMB, several achieved special honors: 1st Lt. Jessica McKenzie, from Ocala, Fl., was the only female Soldier to earn the badge; Spc. Don Driver, from Hubertus, Wisc., won the fastest time for the 12-mile footmarch with a blazing two hours and 11 minutes completion time; Capt. Garrett Latham, of Lakewood, Wash., had the best written score; and Sgt. Alejandro Segovia, a native of Athens, Ga., had the most "go's" in the hands-on testing phase.
"The EFMB is a very prestigious badge not only in the medical field, but in the Army," said Sgt. Maj. Joe Stewart, senior enlisted advisor for the 2nd Inf. Div. Surgeon Office. "The 12 2ID Soldiers put the effort in before the competition even began. It is very time cosnuming during standardization week, and by the time testing begins you are already mentally and physically exhausted. It takes a special kind of person with a lot of heart and drive to want to compete for the badge."