FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- A head and neck surgeon, or otolaryngologist, from Blanchfield Army Community Hospital was among the 42 Soldiers to qualify for the Army's Expert Field Medical Badge during EFMB testing sponsored by the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), recently.
Capt. Alexander Lanigan, assigned to BACH's Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic, said he was inspired to earn his badge after working with Soldiers from operational units on Fort Campbell.
"I spent the last nine years in mostly medical training environments and coming to Fort Campbell, a more operational post, has been a great experience," said Lanigan. From the hospital, he works with his medical counterparts in the division to treat Soldiers from the 101st, as well as retirees and family members requiring specialized treatment for diseases, disorders and injuries of the ear, nose, throat and neck region. As a head and neck surgeon, Lanigan must be able to make accurate and immediate decisions, perform under stress and apply critical and technical thinking skills.
"I wanted to see if I could participate and give that mark of respect to them by showing them I could compete for the same badge. It was very challenging. I was very happy to represent MEDDAC (U.S. Army Medical Department Activity -- Fort Campbell)," said Lanigan. "I think it's a mark of respect for combat medics and the rest of the [Army] medical community to earn the badge. It's a badge that I can wear and show I appreciate what they do."
EFMB qualification tests Soldiers' stamina, proficiency in a number of warrior tasks and battle drills, and mastery medical skills used in tactical combat casualty care that enable the Army's ready medical force. TCCC is evidence-based, life saving techniques and strategies developed by the Department of Defense for use in operational settings with a sharp focus on the most common causes of preventable death resulting from combat.
Each candidate must also qualify as expert on their weapons qualification and pass a physical fitness test with an 80 percent or higher on each standard.
"The Expert Field Medical Badge is recognized as the badge of excellence for medical Soldiers. A very small percentage of Soldiers in the medical field are able to earn this badge. It's a true mark of distinction and excellence," said Col. Patrick T. Birchfield, BACH commander, who earned his EFMB in 1995. Birchfield, served as the guest speaker at 101st Airborne Division's EFMB graduation and presented recipients with the coveted badge.
"We had 42 graduates, which is the highest percentage in the Army under the new EFMB standards, so far," said Birchfield, who had praise for all the participants. "If they didn't make it this time I would say try and try again. The training value that you get from just the effort put forth is invaluable and it makes you a better Soldier."
More than 170 Soldiers from across the Army came to Fort Campbell to attempt the two-week EFMB qualification. During week one, EFMB evaluators review the standards with participants so they know what they will be evaluated on. In week two, participants take a written test, physical fitness test, complete day and night land navigation, three days of TCCC combat trauma lane testing and casualty evacuation, and complete a 12-mile ruck march in under three hours.
The Expert Field Medical Badge may be awarded to enlisted Soldiers who have a military occupational specialty in the 68 series Career Management Field as well as an AMEDD primary MOS, MOS18D (Special Forces Medical Sergeant), or 38BW4 (Civil Affairs Medics), and Army officers assigned or detailed to an Army Medical Department Corps; Army officers in training at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; Army officers enrolled in the Health Professions Scholarship Program; warrant officers who have an AMEDD primary military occupational specialty controlled by the Surgeon General; and Army warrant officer pilots that have a special qualification identifier "D" (Aeromedical Evacuation Pilot) and are assigned to an air ambulance unit.
Lanigan said he shares his success with Soldiers from the hospital.
"We had a great program put on by a lot of great [non-commissioned officers] at BACH, training us up for weapons qualification, a lot of the combat trauma lanes, land navigation and it was a great experience," he said.
Lanigan is a native of New York City. He completed his undergraduate education at the State University of New York, Binghamton and his masters at Georgetown University, Washington D.C.
"Signing up for medical school, there were several options to go through including the Health Professions Scholarship Program and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences," said Lanigan, After exploring his options, he chose to attend USUHS, in Bethesda, Maryland and graduated in 2014.
"The Army had the most similar interests in terms of my goals and the best opportunities," said Lanigan.
To learn more about EFMB visit https://www.cs.amedd.army.mil/efmb.aspx