BAUMHOLDER, Germany -- With extra safety precautions due to COVID-19, Soldiers from Regional Health Command Europe, alongside Soldiers from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, simultaneously competed in a Best Medic and Best Warrior competition Nov. 3 and 4 in Baumholder.
After a grueling 48 hours that tested the competitors physically and mentally, winners for the respective competitions were announced.
Sgt. Michael Metcalf and Spc. Walter Galdamez from U.S. Army Medical Department Activity-Bavaria earned the title of Best Medic team. 1st Lt. Jacob Schwanz and Spc. Brenden Lopez, both from MEDDAC Bavaria, and Sgt. James Gabisum from Landstuhl Regional Medical Center were the Best Warrior winners in the officer, Soldier and noncommissioned officer categories, respectively.
“My motivation for competing was seizing the opportunity to be able to not only train with the Soldiers I work with in a clinical setting, but also to really have the opportunity to go out and train on basic warrior tasks and drills,” said Schwanz, the executive officer at U.S. Army Health Clinic Grafenwoehr. “I’m very appreciative of the opportunity to compete and to be able to learn from the others here.”
Surviving on just a few hours of sleep over a two-day period, Galdamez was just as happy.
“I came here to be challenged,” said Galdamez, a lab technician at U.S. Army Health Clinic Vilseck. “My everyday task is to work in a lab and it was very nice to go out and do something different and prove I’m not just a lab tech.”
Galdamez and Metcalf both earned their Expert Field Medical Badge back in September. That competition tested competitors in similar areas to the Best Medic.
“Those Soldiers didn’t have to be here, but they volunteered to challenge themselves to be the best and to earn the title of Best Warrior/Best Medic,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Kyle Brunell, the Regional Health Command Europe command sergeant major. “So I’m proud that they accepted this challenge.”
Competitors had to complete the Army Combat Fitness test, day and night land navigation, weapons qualification, a stress shoot, a timed 8-mile road march, a written essay, multiple choice test and an oral board. The last event was providing care to simulated injuries that one might experience in a battlefield environment.
“Events like this are important because they test our medical field craft in a high stress environment,” added Brunell. “But it’s also more than that. Our medics get to prove that they are not only great medical personnel, but also some of the best Soldiers in our Army.”