JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- With a packing list in hand and inprocessing complete, 56 of the Army's top medics are prepared to compete in the Command Sgt. Maj. Jack L. Clark Jr. Army Best Medic Competition Sept. 24-27 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

"You know how many medics are in the Army? 15,000. Don't forget what you represent - you represent 15,000 of the Army's medics. You are trained and ready to compete," said Maj. Gen. Dennis LeMaster, commanding general, Regional Health Command-Pacific, during inprocessing remarks to the competitors. "The training you have done up to this point - the sticktoitiveness, the tenacity, the fortitude - all to compete to see who is the toughest, the best, the strongest?"

Twenty-eight two-Soldier teams from all around the world traveled to Washington state to compete in the finals to be named the Army's Best Medic, after already winning regional and command-level competitions. The competition is a 72-hour arduous test of the teams' physical and mental skills through a series of hands-on tasks in a simulated operational environment.

This is the first time the Army Best Medic Competition is at JBLM. In year's past, it has taken place at Camp Bullis, Texas. RHC-P is the host unit for the Army Medical Command event.

The competition will also focus on the changing battlefield - one where Soldiers may face "near-peer" enemies and be asked to operate in austere combat environments where a medic may have to care for injured Soldiers for longer periods of time in a multi-domain battlefield.

"This year is going to be a little bit different, not only are we testing the physical but also your cognitive acumen, not only on medical treatment but also across the broad spectrum of being a health care professional assigned to the operational force or assigned to the generating force," said Regional Health Command-Pacific Command Sgt. Maj. Clark Charpentier. "Hopefully over the next three or four days and nights, you have the opportunity to learn something about yourself, learn something about your competitors, and really have an opportunity to think about why we're here."

Both the RHC-P commanding general and command sergeant major reminded the competitors the importance of the competition - to test their readiness as medics and as Soldiers.

"All of you are who our Soldiers are looking for if someone goes down on the battlefield - they're looking for one of you to take care of them," LeMaster said to the medics.

The competition ends Sept. 27 with a culminating awards ceremony.