The U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command’s annual Best Medic Competition kicked off on November 15, promising a week’s worth of grueling physical and mental challenges for the assembled participants – a trio of Soldiers tapped from laboratory locations across USAMRDC.
“This is not a fake it until you make it competition,” said Sgt. 1st Class Dominic Marconi, the event’s main organizer, during initial remarks to the participants on the first day of activities. “Your best bet is to do all the events to the best of your ability regardless of your skill level in any given event because you’ll be scored on everything you do.”
The three USAMRDC entrants for the event are Staff Sgt. Paul Tiedemann, Sgt. 1st Class Noemi Lucero and Staff Sgt. Monrad Monsen. Both Tiedemann and Lucero are assigned to USAMRDC’s Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense, while Monsen is assigned to USAMRDC’s Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. Each Soldier will undergo a five-day battery of fitness, readiness and stress tests designed to determine both their physical stamina and their medical care capacity in the most severe and austere environments. Among those events will include the standard Army Combat Fitness Test, the Combat Water Survival Test, a series of medical lanes designed to test proficiency in tactical combat casualty care and prolonged field care and both firearms qualification and land navigation efforts. Following initial testing efforts at Fort Detrick, the event will shift to Fort Indiantown Gap in Pennsylvania for the remaining portion of the competition.
“I love this, I just love being part of the Army,” said Tiedemann, a Texas native who joined the Army in 2014, during introductions on the first day of the event. “I’m excited about this. I mean, I’m scared – but I’m excited.”
“I salute you for your dedication and effort,” said Sgt. Maj. Mario Wible during remarks to the participants prior to the start of the event. “You’re leaving your climate-controlled offices and your set hours for something that is going to be extraordinary challenging.”
The winner of the event will be announced on November 19 in a ceremony taking place at USAMRDC headquarters. From there, the winner will prepare to participate in the Army-wide version of the best medic competition, scheduled to take place in the coming months.
“At the end of the day, I’m just trying to have fun,” said Lucero, a 10-year Army veteran, when asked about her motivation for participating in the event. “I know what I know and I’m trying my best to show that.”