By Sgt. 1st Class Andrew KostermanJune 1, 2015
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea - Friday is a day celebrated by workers around
the world because it signals the end to the workweek. For 27 Soldiers
serving in South Korea, it was the end of a multi-week challenge that tested
their medical skills and dedication to self-improvement and resulted in the
awarding of a respected badge.
Candidates from the U.S. and South Korean armies gathered at Warrior Base, a
complex of training locations near Paju, South Korea, May 18-29 for an
opportunity to earn the Expert Field Medical Badge, or EFMB. The EFMB is a
badge worn by those who demonstrate expertise on various medical and soldier
tasks. It is a badge that distinguishes the top Soldiers within the ranks
of the Army's Medical Corps.
This year's EFMB challenge produced 27 recipients of the badge. There were
180 Soldiers who started the challenge. Among the 15 percent of finishers
was a KATUSA Soldier from 2nd Infantry Division.
"(The candidates) represent the best of who we are and who we can become,"
said Lt. Col. Tom Schumacher, the commander of 168th Multifunctional Medical
Battalion and officer in charge of organizing and running the EFMB course.
"They represent every major subordinate unit on this peninsula. they're from
the infantry units, the support battalions, the artillery battalions -
because that's where Army medicine is."
One of the recipients of the EFMB was 2nd Lt. Sinclair Lee, a medical
service officer assigned to 210th Fires Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. Lee
said the events were challenging and require candidates who compete for the
badge to have exceptional skills understanding the intricate details that
are required to treat casualties on the battlefield.
Lee was the first to complete the rucksack march, a 12-mile course that must
be finished in three or fewer hours. It is the final test the Soldiers must
pass in order to earn the EFMB.
"It feels great (to earn the EFMB)," said Lee after completing the march in
2 hours, 34 minutes. "I didn't think I was going to get it, but I'm here
and it's a good feeling of accomplishment."
Lee said that while he's still a junior officer, it is important for him to
demonstrate his capacity to learn and perform tasks that he expects Soldiers
in his charge to do. The ability to feel empathy for Soldiers performing
tasks is something Lee said will make him a better leader.