PAJU, Republic of Korea -- Private 1st Class Emily A. Sperling, combat medic, 3rd Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, earned the Expert Field Medical Badge during her first attempt.
The elite Army EFMB was only awarded to the most qualified field medical personnel who demonstrated exceptional competence and outstanding performance through medical proficiency, Warrior skills and physical ability at Warrior Base Sept. 22.
It is not easy or common to obtain the EFMB on a first-time attempt, but Sperling, a Dallas native, proved it was possible. She challenged herself by staying motivated and receiving 'first-time Go's" in each event.
Sperling had to complete combat-related tasks such as treat patients under fire, moving a casualty off the battlefield and how to assess casualties quickly.
"I just tried to relax and not worry about the next day because it wouldn't do me any good," said Sperling. "I just took it one day at a time, and prepared for land navigation, which was the hardest event."
"Sperling and our other candidates did outstanding throughout the training," said 1st Lt. Eric Roggow, a Cedartown, Ga. native, and medical service officer, 1ABCT. "She was simply patient, not afraid to ask questions and a very adaptive learner throughout the process."
As for some combat medics, night land navigation proved to be one of the hardest parts of the Eighth Army-Korea EFMB competition because of the terrain and vegetation, but Sperling didn't get discouraged. She continued to study every night to move on to the next event.
"I didn't give up, I keep a positive attitude because I know I was working hard to receive the badge," said Sperling.
Sperling completed the evacuation and Warrior skills, moving onto the final event, which was a 12-mile ruck march in under three hours, before she was awarded her badge.
"The fact that so few privates attempt to earn the badge motivated me to compete," said Sperling. "Crossing the finish line after the 12-mile ruck march, knowing I had accomplished my goal, was the most rewarding part of this experience."