After being crowned the winner of the 2021 U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command’s Best Medic Competition on November 19, Staff Sgt. Paul Tiedemann took a long sigh and – like all perfectionists – immediately started thinking about how to do things better the next time.
“It’s an honor to win,” said Tiedemann, who is currently assigned to USAMRDC’s Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense. “But there’s still a lot I need to learn. I was able to identify what I was good at, and what I need to work on.”
Tiedemann spoke after completing a grueling five-day event packed with a battery of fitness, readiness and stress tests designed to gauge both physical stamina and medical care capacity in severe and austere environments. Among the events – which took place at both Fort Detrick, Maryland and at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania – included the Army Combat Fitness Test, the Combat Water Survival Test and a series of medical lanes designed to test proficiency in tactical combat casualty care and prolonged field care. In addition, competing Soldiers participated in both firearms qualification and land navigation efforts.
In addition to Tiedemann, Staff Sgt. Monrad Monsen (assigned to USAMRDC’s Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases) and Sgt. 1st Class Noemi Lucero (also assigned to USAMRICD) participated in the event. Monsen and Lucero finished the event in second and third place, respectively.
“We need to continue to train,” said Monsen, striking a similar tone to Tiedemann, following the competition. “Personally, I need to work on getting stronger, more fit and I also need to brush up on my [prolonged field care] skills.”
“The three of you stepped forward saying that you’d attempt to represent USAMRDC, and I applaud you for that,” said Brig. Gen. Anthony McQueen, commanding general of USAMRDC and Fort Detrick, in brief remarks to the participants during the awards ceremony at the USAMRDC headquarters building. “This is exactly what we joined the Army for, to do these things in a deployed environment.”
When asked for his opinion on the most demanding portion of the event, Tiedemann quickly referenced the competition’s capstone challenge – a 12 mile-long ruck march designed to test endurance and continued mental acuity in a rugged environment.
“The march was scheduled for the end of the day, and we’d already been through a number of other events by that time,” said Tiedemann, a Texas native who joined who joined the Army in 2014. “It was hilly, it was rainy and it was long.”
Tiedemann and Monson will prepare to represent USAMRDC in the Army-wide version of the best medic competition, which is scheduled to take place in January at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. Lucero will serve as an alternate participant in case either Tiedemann or Monson cannot compete.
“The event was a great learning experience,” said Lucero, a 10-year Army veteran. “It was supportive and extremely motivating, and everyone was dedicated to creating a safe and fun experience.”