By Capt Tonia Jordan, 212th Combat Support HospitalMarch 29, 2017
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- "Victory Medics" from the 212th Combat Support Hospital hosted the Spring United States Army Europe Expert Field Medical Badge, March 20-30 at the Grafenwoehr Training Area.
A total of 215 soldiers from across Europe, including 35 international candidates from 10 different countries, started testing Sunday in hopes of obtaining the coveted EFMB. The badge itself is a symbol of excellence and respect across military medical communities and the whole of the Army. Prior to testing, candidates were put through an arduous training week and given the opportunity to rehearse the skills and tasks required to earn the EFMB.
EFMB testing consists of three combat testing lanes, a written test, day and night land navigation as well as a 12-mile foot march. Standardization of all tasks is accomplished though the oversight of a five-member test board comprised of senior EFMB holders. These board members ensure each evaluator is training and testing the candidates to the exact same standard.
"Being on the test board is an incredible opportunity to advise and assist the cadre on validation and standardization of EFMB in order to ensure the candidates have the best training and environment to earn the badge," said Capt. Brent Turpin, 212th CSH, test board member.
Going through the training is a mentally and physically challenging experience for many of the participants. Candidates must learn very specific details about medical, evacuation, and military communications skills and then correctly preform these tasks with minimal error. On test day one, students begin early with a written exam and then proceed straight to Combat Testing Lanes.
"Leading up to the test phase, the candidates are already mentally and physically fatigued from the week prior going through standardization training, many have also been a train-up at their home units before even arriving in Grafenwoehr," said Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph Stewart, 221th CSH Command Sgt. Maj.
For each combat testing lane, candidates must receive a 'First-time Go" on a minimum number of tasks for each of the four categories: medical, evacuation, communication, and warrior skills. Candidates must complete 11 of 14 tasks for medical, 8 of 10 for evacuation, 4 of 5 for communication, and 10 of 13 tasks for warrior skills.
Candidates must answer 45 of 60 questions correctly during a 90 minute written exam on the first day of test week. This is the only event that allows retesting and that is given once prior to the final event; a 12-mile foot march.
Statistically, only 15-25 percent of candidates will receive the badge, though senior leaders emphasized the value of the training that all participants receive.
"The Expert Field Medical Badge is an example of that achievement in action," Brig. Gen. Steven Ainsworth, Deputy Commanding General, 21th Theater Sustainment Command. "Although not all participating in EFMB may get the badge, they still take away enormous value from the training."
Multinational events such as the USAREUR EFMB continues to foster a "Strong Europe" campaign bringing together Allied nations. The EFMB links military medical assets from around the globe, creating the opportunity to improve interoperability between NATO allies.
"We are looking forward to a continued fruitful partnership with our medical teams that do everything to prove that trust in them is well founded," Ainsworth said.
USAREUR conducts two EFMB events per year in the spring and fall to provide the opportunity for Soldiers stationed within USAREUR as well as our international partners to come and pursue the EFMB.