After four days in the grueling Texas heat and pushing through events designed to task the participants both physically and mentally, Regional Health Command-Central named Sgt. Samantha Delgado and Sgt. Kevin Ramirez, both from Brooke Army Medical Center, the Region's Best Medics at a ceremony on Camp Bullis today. They will go on to compete at the U.S. Army Medical Command Best Medic Competition in the fall, for a chance to compete at the Army level.

Brig. Gen. George "Ned" Appenzeller, RHC-C commanding general, congratulated all the competitors for their perseverance through all the events, and requested two things from them after they go back to their commands. "I have two things I am going to ask of you. One: save lives. You are the reason we have such a low mortality rate for our deployed Soldiers. It's not the doctors or nurses--it's the initial care they receive from the medics deployed with their units. It's because of each of you. Number two: pay it forward. Train those Soldiers who are coming up behind you to take your place."

Each of the winners received a trophy and an Army Commendation Medal from both Appenzeller and Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph L. Cecil, RHC-C command sergeant major. Cecil also thanked the participants for their tenacity and resilience throughout the last 96 hours. "Be proud of yourself," he said, "this was a difficult competition. It's meant to be that way. As you move up to the MEDCOM and Army competitions, it will be even harder."

Of the eight competing teams, only five made it to the finish line--Brooke Army Medical Center, Irwin Army Community Hospital, Evans Army Community Hospital, Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center and Munson Army Health Clinic.

"The competition was extremely hard," Delgado, a radiology specialist from BAMC, said. "They packed so much into every day, and it physically exhausting and mentally draining."

"It was definitely challenging. They packed so much into it, I don't know how we got through it. There were no sure winners throughout the entire course, and we were fighting [for the lead] the entire time, even after this morning no one knew who won. It was definitely a competition," Ramirez, a medical laboratory specialist, concluded.

Some of the events the Soldiers were required to do were the Air Assault course, the obstacle course, both the Army and the Marine Corps WWII physical fitness tests, combatives and more, followed by a 12 mile road march that started before dawn today.

Both Ramirez and Delgado were extremely proud of their accomplishments and at the chance they had to represent BAMC. They are excited to represent the Region at the next level. When asked what they thought was the most difficult event, they both agreed that the Land Navigation event was the most difficult due to the large area it covered and the full rucksack they had to carry.

"We came out way off on one of our points," Delgado explained, "and we had an hour to make it to the finish line between three or four miles away, and we wound up running the entire way back so we could finish on time," Delgado added.

"I enjoyed it," Ramirez stated. "It was hard a lot of times, but winning it makes all of it worth it. I'm very proud and thankful I could be a part of it."