Army medical personnel from the 30th Medical Brigade and Medical Readiness Command, Europe squared off against their peers to earn the title of Best Medic Nov. 28 to Dec.2 at Baumholder, Germany.
When the dust settled, four competitors were selected to compete in the 2023 Command Sgt. Maj. Jack L. Clark Jr. U.S. Army Best Medic Competition to be held Jan. 23-27 at Ft. Polk. Staff Sgt. Kyle Kraft and Spc. Lake Goo will represent the 30th Medical Brigade, and Sgt. 1st Class Peter Bassman and Sgt. Joshua Alfaro will represent Medical Readiness Command, Europe.
The Army’s Best Medic Competition is an annual event that challenges two-Soldier teams to compete in a demanding, continuous, and realistic simulated operational environment. The teams compete for bragging rights as the most technically competent, physically and mentally tough medic team in the United States Army.
“We in uniform that are healthcare providers, and in the Army, are in the two most noble professions there are - the profession of arms and the profession of medicine,” said Brig. Gen. Clinton Murray, commanding general of Medical Readiness Command, Europe. “You had a crucible this week and we tested your METL and validated your resilience. Your character, commitment and competence really came out during this competition.”
“It’s all about testing the limits of our soldiers and really seeing how far we can push them and challenge them physically and mentally,” said 1st Lt. Hannah Peoples, a nurse case manager at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and Officer-in-Charge of the 2022 Best Medic competition. “The competitors were up all through the day and night. This competition really helps us build a medical readiness platform.”
The competition consists of multiple events, starting with a road march, followed by the Army Combat Fitness Test and a written exam. From that point, each team is given a road map to help them navigate to additional competition areas where they completed tasks ranging from providing tactical combat casualty care in a simulated combat environment, to properly donning a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear protective suit.
Medical Readiness Command, Europe Command Sgt. Major Omar Mascarenas was the guest speaker for the Best Medic awards ceremony.
“Each of you truly exemplify what it means to be a Soldier,” Mascarenas said. “You are the best of the best, and four of you will go on to represent us at the Army Best Medic competition in January.”
“The past couple of years spent dealing with the COVID epidemic has been challenging, but, nonetheless, you still took the time to train, prepare and compete, and for that we are all truly grateful. One day, the skills you used in this competition may be needed to save lives on the battlefield of tomorrow.”
Competitors are required to complete the majority of the tasks while wearing a helmet and flack vest and carrying a 35-pound rucksack.
Sgt. 1st Class Peter Bassman, a combat medic assigned to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Family Health Clinic, commented that the competition was very strenuous and challenging.
“The competition was really steep, these guys and gals are absolute animals,” Bassman said with a smile. “For us to place first was surprising. These soldiers are amazing and I love them all. I am older than most of them, so trying to keep up with these young soldiers was a challenge for me.”
“The competition was awesome and it was definitely no joke,” said Sgt. Joshua Alfaro, a behavioral health specialist assigned to the Baumholder Army Health Clinic. “It was a blast and I had the best partner to work with. We will continue to prepare for the next competition mainly by running and making sure we can outlast everyone. We each have different skill sets so we complement each other as a team.”
The winners from this competition will spend the two months preparing for the Army-level Best Medic competition scheduled to take place at Ft. Polk Jan. 23-27.