JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- Finalists in the 2019 Army Best Medic Competition dove into a combat water survival challenge on September 25, held in Keeler Pool at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

Immediately following an early morning physical challenge and obstacle course, 28 two-Soldier teams of the Army's top medical specialists found themselves blindfolded and plunging into the water 10 feet below.

Competitors swam the length of the pool multiple times, while also removing equipment and uniforms underwater, rescuing simulated casualties and treading water in timed increments.

"This swimming event is no joke," said Maj. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, Acting, The Surgeon General and Acting Commanding General, U.S. Army Medical Command. "Just listening to the process had me beat. It's going to have them giving their all, but they're also a team."

Scoring relied on each team member's successful completion of the challenge's tasks and would factor into the team's overall rank in the 72-hour competition. Teams earned the right to compete as finalists for this year's title by winning their respective preliminary competitions earlier in the year.

"These are the world's best medics right here," said Dingle. "Any multi-domain battle or combat scenario--they're going to be ready to respond."

The combat water survival challenge is just one part of this year's Army Best Medic Competition, which continues through the week and is scheduled to conclude September 27.