FORT HOOD, Texas – The 61st Multifunctional Medical Battalion (MMB), 1st Medical Brigade, began in-processing Soldiers from across Fort Hood for Expert Field Medical Badge (EFMB) training Oct. 12.
Over 200 candidates began the process which will involve a week of familiarization and standardization beginning the week of Oct. 19. This period also covers the criteria for each task and how the candidates are expected to execute the training.
Testing for the EFMB is conducted once a year here and is open to all medical military occupational specialties. Testing covers tactical combat casualty care, casualty evacuation, Army warrior tasks and drills, day and night land navigation, an APFT, communication tasks and conducting a 12-mile ruck march. Before they were even allowed to come out, Soldiers had to qualify expert on their assigned weapon and complete diagnostic APFTs and 12-mile ruck marches.
Since March, the 61st MMB has meticulously prepared for execution of the coveted EFMB qualification process. The planning phase involved months of detailed rehearsal of concept drills, key leader meetings and required many crucial decisions be made by leaders across the battalion.
After months of planning, the execution phase began Oct. 5 by setting up combat testing lanes in the area of operations. In order to ensure the combat testing lanes were up to the Army-wide EFMB standards, they had to be validated by EFMB officials from Fort Sam Houston, Texas, to certify the 61st MMB were enforcing standards.
Establishing a command headquarters, a Role I medical aid station, a Role II field medical station, combat testing lanes (CTLs), land navigation courses, ambulance exchange points and the 12-mile ruck route, were tasks that required technical and tactical proficiency. In order to prepare the training areas for EFMB execution, 24-hour operations were required to meet these standards.
One of the officers-in-charge of the combat testing lanes, Capt. Robert Kearney, the 582nd Medical Logistics Company (MLC), relished in the opportunity to operate the CTLs.
"Being an EFMB CTL OIC is an outstanding opportunity that I wish upon all of my battle buddies who have earned the badge," Kearney said. “It is a difficult but rewarding opportunity to say the least.”
Due to the large number of Soldiers involved in the entire operation, strict COVID-19 mitigation efforts were enforced. Soldiers received temperature checks during in-processing and masks were mandatory for all participants, staff and support personnel. Also, candidates who remain in the field for the entirety of standardization and testing will have no more than eight Soldiers per tent.
Col. Genera Miller, 1st Med. Bde., is part the EFMB test board and emphasized the importance of the badge.
“The Army’s medical department needs more risk takers competing for the badge who are armed with the skills needed on the battlefield,” Miller explained. “The skills needed at the right time, right place and manner to support our forces to enclose, engage and destroy the enemies of the United States. If you are ready to take the risk and get the badge, we are ready for you.”
The EFMB testing will occur the week of Oct. 26, and if a Soldier fails any task, they will be removed from consideration for the badge and sent home.
For updates on the EFMB testing, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/1MBSilverKnights