Just days following the rigorous three-week syllabus of the U.S. Army’s physically and mentally demanding Expert Field Medical Badge, two Soldiers from Landstuhl Regional Medical Center joined a third Soldier, to compete for LRMC’s 2022 Best Medic title.
The competition, held Nov. 16-18, held at a local level by most Active-Duty, National Guard and Reserve Army units, is formally known as the Command Sergeant Major Jack L. Clark, Jr. Best Medic Competition and culminates with Soldiers representing their respective units at an Army-wide event.
Competitors included U.S. Army Sgt. Jhoshua Alfaro, a behavioral health specialist at U.S. Army Health Clinic Baumholder; U.S. Army Sgt. Eli Jeanquart, a biomedical equipment specialist at LRMC, and Sgt. 1st Class Peter Bassman, a combat medic at LRMC.
“It's a lot of fun,” said Sgt. 1st Class Peter Bassman, noncommissioned officer in charge at LRMC’s Family Medicine Clinic.
Bassman, who himself had been part of the EMFB course staff the weeks prior, praised Alfaro and Jeanquart for volunteering to compete for Best Medic less than a week following their successful completion of the EFMB course, and for pursuing career development despite not having a traditional combat-focused medical military occupational specialty.
“(Alfaro and Jeanquart) are not (combat medics), so them being out here definitely speaks to who they are and their capabilities,” said Bassman, a native of Union County, New Jersey.
During the 72-hour period, the Soldiers were tested in a series of events including the Army Combat Fitness Test, a stress shoot, various road marches, day and night land navigation, litter obstacle course, combat testing lanes, and prolonged field care.
Although the competition weighs heavily on medical ability and physical readiness, the combat testing lane assessed the Soldiers’ knack in traditional soldiering skills such as movement under fire; nine-line medical evacuation request; and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives (CBRNE) response.
Following the three-day competition, competitors were lauded by hospital leadership for their efforts.
“Just remember that we don't get to pick when we go to the fight. We don't get to pick the weapon,” explained U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Alain Ayan, LRMC command sergeant major. “When (the competitors) went out there, they were tired, they got wet, they went to the trenches. You must do things like this. You need people that will stand up and say let me challenge myself.”
The competition concluded with Alfaro and Bassman being recognized as LRMC’s Best Medic team, who will go on to compete at Medical Readiness Command, Europe’s Best Medic competition later this month.
“This is what it’s all about. To have the courage, the dedication, and professionalism it takes coming off that type of training event (EFMB) and say I've got this,” added U.S. Army Col. Andrew Landers, commander, LRMC. “Not a lot of people answered the call (to compete), but all three of these soldiers should be an inspiration to everyone in our formation. They showed courage, willingness, professionalism, and the dedication to be something above and beyond."