By Sgt. Quanesha DeloachJune 24, 2016
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - A medic has to react to direct fire. He has to low crawl through bushes and sprint for cover to get to his destination. And upon reaching the casualty, he has to be fit enough, mentally and physically tough enough, and proficient enough to provide care and save a life.
The 62nd Medical Brigade, 593rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) hosted an Expert Field Medical Badge competition at Joint Base Lewis- McChord, Wash., June 18-23, for qualified medical personnel to earn the badge while enhancing medical readiness.
Candidates were challenged on a written test, land navigation, reacting under fire and a 12-mile ruck march, but of the 200 who started, only 37 Soldiers received the badge.
"It was a standardization week and all lanes were identified and tasked to the standard," said 2nd Lt. Jacob Burns, health care assistant in the 62nd Med Bde.
From the smoke to the barbed wire, Soldiers continued to treat their casualties and communicated with them to ensure they received the proper care while being under fire.
"It was an excellent event to really get out and work with Soldiers, and we learned from officers and noncommissioned officers," Burns said. "We all had common goals to try to earn the EFMB."
As they ran through the lanes, they conducted a nine-line medical evacuation, set up radio connections and removed casualties from high mobility multipurpose-wheeled vehicle into a safe area in order to provide aid.
"The challenging task was land navigation," said Spc. Kahleb Wells, health care specialist, 47th Combat Support Hospital. "It was hard to keep the map and everything dry on a rainy dark night trying not to miss any points."
Breathing hard, candidates ran through the finish line completing a 12-mile ruck march in three hours carrying their individual equipment, which had to be inspected before they could graduate and receive their badges.
"The badge is earned not given, and it is worth the time you put into preparation and actually achieving it," Burns said. "It is definitely a discriminator in everybody's career, and it identified individuals as experts in our field."