FORT HOOD, Texas– Seventeen medical professionals from units across the 1st Medical Brigade, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, competed in the Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and Best Medic competitions Jan. 12-13.
Soldiers competed in a seven-mile ruck march, Army Warrior Tasks lanes, range operations and other critical events that put their basic Soldier and medical skills to the test.
“The talent is within our formations,” Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Jackson, 1st Med. Bde., said. “We want to display that we are the largest, most diverse and best medical brigade in the Army.”
After the competition was delayed a day due to sudden winter conditions, the medical professionals took on the initial ruck march event during a cold, brisk morning, along the unforgiving tank trails on Fort Hood.
Part of developing Soldiers into strong sergeants means teaching them to be resilient, and Gypsum, Colorado-native, Pfc. Tiegan Torbett, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Med. Bde., adapted and overcame to best 16 his peers to finish in one hour and forty-two minutes.
Torbett was competing for the Soldier of the Year honor, and the ruck march tested his resiliency and the training his leaders gave to prepare him.
“After about four miles, I got my second wind and gained the lead from the Soldier in front of me,” Torbett said. “Coming in first wasn’t just a win for me, but for my whole section.”
Next at the AWT lanes, Soldiers navigated through a simulated, near-peer, training environment reminiscent of the city streets of Iraq and Afghanistan, and took on challenging tasks throughout such as; military tactical movements, assembling and disassembling weapons, reacting to direct and indirect fire, casualty evaluation and transport and reacting to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.
Medical laboratory specialist, Staff Sgt. Genero Bueno from the 528th Field Hospital, Fort Bliss, Texas, has been involved as a cadre in years past, but was eager to compete for the Best Medic title with his teammate, win, lose or draw.
“Whether we win or not, I want to experience it as a competitor to take the training and knowledge back to my unit,” Bueno said.
Combat medic Sgt. Tyler Bisio, 61st Multifunctional Medical Battalion, has been in the medical field for eight years, and this was his first time participating in the Best Medic competition.
Bisio earned his Expert Field Medical Badge in 2014, and welcomed the challenge of the Best Medic competition as well.
“All the tasks we do here are modified from the EFMB,” Bisio said. “Being in teams, we were able to fly through the patient assessment because we worked off of one another well.”
After the AWT lanes, the competitors engaged in a stress shoot at the range, a three-mile mystery run and urban orienteering.
At the end of the event, Sgt. Christopher Muiruri and Sgt. Tyler Bisio from 61st MMB earned the Best Medic honors, NCO of the Year went to HHC, 1st Med. Bde.’s Sgt. Jeffrey Criswell and Spc. Daniel Schantin also from 61st MMB earned Soldier of the Year honors.
“I’m both excited and nervous,” Criswell said. “I trained hard for this, but that means I have to keep preparing even harder for the next one. I can’t give up now.”