By Ms. Maria Yager (Army Medicine)July 26, 2018
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- About 30 competitors from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Regional Health Command-Atlantic will compete in the Fort Campbell Best Medic Competition July 30 to Aug. 2, here.
The winners will go on to represent the 101st and RHC-A in the Army-wide Command Sergeant Major Jack L. Clark, Jr. Army Best Medic Competition at Fort Sam Houston, Texas and Camp Bullis, Texas later this year.
"Both the regional and Army-wide Best Medic Competition tests Soldiers physically and mentally in a demanding, continuous, realistic simulated operational environment. The teams will compete to be named the most technically competent, physically and mentally tough medic team in the United States Army," said Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Earle, U.S. Army Medical Department Activity Fort Campbell and Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, command sergeant major. "We are very excited to help support this event for our region and with the 101st Airborne Division."
Two-person teams from eight military treatment facilities within the region, including BACH, and up to 13 Combat Medics from the 101st will compete in the Fort Campbell Best Medic Competition. Soldiers will arrive July 30 and complete in-processing before beginning more than 48-hours of competition through many of the areas on the installation during the three-day event.
Competition events are not revealed to the competitors beforehand but can include some of the following events used in the Army-wide competition such as an obstacle course, day and night land navigation, tactical marksmanship, warrior skills, combat water survival training, combat medic lanes, and other events that's Soldiers could encounter down range.
"Some of the events are general knowledge but we will also have some mystery events too," said Fort Campbell competition coordinator, Capt. John "Fez" Alderete, division aeromedical evacuation officer, assigned to 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Division Surgeon office. He said coordinating the competition has been a team effort on Fort Campbell.
"There are a lot of events that have involved planning with many organizations on post, from coordinating with MWR to secure use of the pool, to coordinating with Range Control and Rascon School of Combat Medicine to make sure that the areas we need are available. All brigades are providing Soldiers to help us bring this competition together. It's been a lot of work but we are ready to start this competition next week and see it all come together," said Alderete.
Competitors must meet certain eligibility requirements and be selected by their command team to participate. They may be officer or enlisted but must have earned an Expert Field Medical Badge or a Combat Medic Badge to be eligible to compete. Officers must be assigned or detailed to an Army Medical Department Corps and enlisted Soldiers must have an AMEDD primary military occupational specialty. All competitors must be physically fit and prepared to cope with the extremely rigorous demands of the Best Medic Competition.
Modeled after the Army's Best Ranger Competition, the Army's Best Medic Competition began in 1994.
"I've seen a lot of videos about these competitions and the Soldiers who compete and I'm am just excited to be here. I want to represent my unit well," said BACH Best Medic candidate, Sgt. 1st Class Justin Cauthen. Cauthen and Maj. J. Tyler Garrett, BACH Clinical Services Division chief, will represent Blanchfield in the Fort Campbell competition.
BACH's team has been training for the competition with help from a Soldier with first-hand knowledge of the competition, Staff Sgt. Eric Sullivan, assigned to BACH's emergency center and one of the hospital's 2017 Best Medic competitors.
"A lot of the events in Best Medic mirror actual events you may encounter in combat," said Sullivan, an experienced medic with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. "A medic has to problem solve while conducting missions, use the resources they have and improvise and adapt. That's pretty much what the Best Medic is about, along with the ability to execute key warrior skills tasks and show proficient medical training and ability."
Medics serve a vital role in the Army, said Sullivan. "We get to be the first responders when something goes bad and we do our absolute best to make sure that Soldiers return safely. We train very hard to make sure we're very good at that. That's what this competition is about."
Event coverage will be featured on the Blanchfield Army Community Hospital Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BACH.Fort.Campbell/
Headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Regional Health Command-Atlantic provides medical, dental and public health support to Soldiers, retirees and their family members at Army medical centers, hospitals, including BACH, and clinics from Fort Drum, New York, to Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico.