After over 72 hours of intense, mentally and physically challenging battle, the 2018 Command Sergeant Major Jack L. Clark, Jr. Army Best Medic Competition (ABMC) ended with high praise for all competitors from the 19th Command Sergeant Major, U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM).
Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Gragg said, "No one here lost. Everyone sitting here grew from this experience and that was our entire focus."
Out of 27 two-Soldier teams, only 25 teams completed a near continuous combat medicine scenario while fighting the harsh elements and terrain of Joint Base San Antonio, Camp Bullis from 16-20 September. While there were no losers, as all of the ABMC challengers earned the title of best medic at their respective commands before continuing their pursuit at the Army level, there was a designated winning team and they hail from 1st Armored Division.
Staff Sgt. Cory Glasgow and Staff Sgt. Branden Mettura earned the title of 2018 Army Best Medics with over a 20 point lead over the challengers. These first place winners received the Meritorious Service Medal, for exceptionally meritorious achievement while competing and winning the 2018 Command Sergeant Major Jack L. Clark, Jr. Best Medic Competition, the coveted Combat Medic Statue, and several other gifts and monetary awards.
The 2nd place team was CPT Michael Broussard and SSG Sean Collins of 75th Ranger Regiment. The 2nd place team received a certificate of achievement for competing in the 2018 ABMC, several prizes and a cash award of $500, the MEDCOM Commander's Coin of Excellence from the MEDCOM Command Sergeant Major.
The 3rd place team was Sgt. First Class David Nagle and Sgt. First Class Adam Church of U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, Health Readiness Center of Excellence (AMEDDC&S HRCoE). The 3rd place team received a certificate of achievement for competing in the 2018 ABMC, several prizes and a cash award of $500.
Church, who is a 68W Army Health Care Specialist, or combat medic, is also an Advanced Individual Training (AIT) Instructor/Writer in the 232nd Medical Battalion, 32nd Medical Brigade, AMEDDC&S HRCoE.
After the awards were presented Church said, "It is an incredible honor to have placed in the top three in the competition." He admits to being a little disappointed that they didn't receive the first place prize that they have trained so hard for; only 4.5 points separated the 2nd and 3rd teams. "There are such high caliber soldiers and medics that we faced this week, we are proud to have been able to represent our units in such a strong way, given the intense competition," continued Church.
The goal of the annual competition, hosted by MEDCOM, is to meet the Army's vision and focus of preparing Soldiers to win against any adversary in a joint, multi-domain battle, high-intensity conflict. Beyond the usual demands of what you would expect from any Army level competition like physical fitness, land navigation, problem solving and warrior tasks, the ABMC, was designed to challenge the elite medical professionals to demonstrate superior medical skills under the most extreme conditions in the areas of prolonged field care, focused primary care and advanced trauma care.
Church's teammate Nagle, also a 68W, is drill instructor in the 188th Medical Battalion, Medical Professionals Training Brigade, AMEDDC&S HRCoE. Nagle admits the task is daunting, but he would still encourage others to enter the competition. Nagle said, "Be willing to humble yourself, meet the physical and mental challenges, and you will be a lot better for it."
Nagle encourages future competitors to acknowledge that they are going to face some challenges that they have never had before. "You will learn a lot about yourself, your intestinal fortitude, and be able to make a pretty honest assessment of your medical capabilities. Take those lessons learned back to your unit and train on them there," he continued.
The 2018 ABMC was planned and conducted by AMEDDC&S HRCoE and included intense, realistic medical scenarios and with opportunities for competitors to use innovative resources that medics will encounter, and be expected to master, on the modern battlefield. Gragg indicated that next year's competition will be conducted by Regional Health Command, Central.
Regardless of the location, and planning lead, the ABMC will continue to meet the MEDCOM's vision of leveraging innovation and technology to become the Nation's premier expeditionary and globally integrated medical force ready to meet the ever-changing challenges of today and tomorrow.
Gragg said, "As we go forward with this competition, please understand we're using these competitions to springboard Army Medicine into the future for the purpose of taking care of America's sons and daughters."