FORT CARSON, Colo. — Over 150 Soldiers across the U.S. Army endured a week-long test to earn the Army’s Expert Field Medical Badge, from Aug. 15 through 26, 2022, at Wilderness Readiness Complex at Fort Carson.
The purpose of the Expert Field Medical Badge, or EFMB, is to recognize Army Medical Department personnel who demonstrate a high degree of professional skills, stamina and proficiency.
“This is an opportunity for Soldiers to distinguish themselves from their peers, subordinates or seniors by earning the badge,” said Maj. Andrey Tsepelev, an environmental science and engineering officer assigned to the Department for Public Health, Evans Army Community Hospital, U.S. Army Medical Department Activity–Fort Carson. “The badge is called the ‘Badge of Excellence’ because it shows an individual Soldier is one of the best at their job and they can perform very tedious, very physically demanding tasks exactly to the standard they were taught.”
In order to earn the badge candidates must complete a written test, a physical fitness assessment, a land navigation course at both day and night, various warrior skills, tactical combat casualty care and evacuation lanes, a 12-mile foot march, and disassemble, reassemble and perform a functions check on their M4 carbine; validating themselves as Army medical professionals and distinguishing themselves amongst their peers.
According to the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence, fiscal year 22 has had 29% of passing EFMB candidates.
Forty-five candidates withdrew after the written test, leaving 110 candidates to move on to the next event — the physical fitness assessment.
This year’s EFMB was executed differently than previous iterations. The physical fitness assessment replaced the Army Physical Fitness Test. Tsepelev said Soldiers must now complete 15 burpees, 15 rowers, a 400-meter run and a 50-meter drag of a 160-pound Sked.
“The Army has a high standard, especially for medical personnel, which is a great way to show who has the highest standards and who can achieve the standards the Army provides,” said EFMB candidate Spc. Preslie Mecham, an Army combat medic specialist assigned to 704th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.
At the completion of all the EFMB tasks, these Soldiers showed they are capable of completing all assigned missions, anytime, anywhere and under any circumstance.
“Earning the badge shows that I am an expert in my craft and I want to set an example to Soldiers in my unit,” said 1st Lt. James Rodeman, an Army health services admin assigned to 627th Hospital Center based at Fort Carson.
Rodeman was recognized as "Top Doc," a candidate who earned the EFMB and received the most "GOs" during lane testing.
One hundred and fifty-five candidates competed to earn their EFMB and only 33 graduated, proving that this was a challenging event with a 21% success rate.
Mecham said she competed in the EFMB to prove to herself that she could earn one of the most challenging and hardest badges to earn in the military.
“Earning the EFMB is also a great career progression,” said Mecham. “I want to go far in the medical field in my Army career. This is a great way to prove that I have high standards and I can achieve it.”
Earning the EFMB is one of the greatest achievements of Soldiers in an Army Medical Department, which requires dedication to completing various challenges to be recognized as professionals, experts and proficient Soldiers, who will save other Soldiers in need of medical attention in any situation.