GRAFENWOEHR, Germany, Aug. 10, 2011 -- When people think of the U.S. Army Expert Field Medical Badge they may imagine battle-hardened medics just off deployment being tested on combat casualty tasks, trudging through dense forest on a land navigation course or gutting out the final steps of a 12-mile road march for the right to wear the EFMB on their uniforms.

If so, they would be only half right.

At the 2011 U.S. Army Europe Expert Field Medical Badge Standardization and Testing, held Aug.1-13, 285 U.S and German military health professionals, from behavioral health specialists to dental technicians, gathered here to try their hand at earning the badge.

Since 1965 the EFMB has been awarded to U.S Army medical personnel in recognition of exceptional competence and outstanding performance in field medicine.

Contrary to popular belief, the EFMB is not limited to only the military medical community.

“The EFMB is open to all U.S. or NATO military personnel,” said Staff Sgt. Dustin Miller, a previous EFMB recipient and evaluator on this year’s Combat Testing Lane 2. “But only medical personnel can wear the badge”.

Miller said that it is actually very beneficial for all service members, regardless of military occupational specialty, or MOS, to give the standardization and testing a try.

“It [the testing] has a lot of memorization, a lot of steps and a lot of sequences that can be applied to anything in life. It’s a big learning tool,” said Miller.

Miller stressed another reason for medical and non-medical Soldiers alike to prepare and participate in the EFMB testing: The knowledge to save lives.

“You never know when you be called upon to save a buddy’s life,” said Miller. “Downrange it’s not just medics pulling the wounded out of vehicles, it’s everybody. It’s one medic and a bunch of other Soldiers, so the more medical knowledge you have the more lives you can save.”

1st Lt. Alan Vaugn, a first-time participant in the EFMB and laboratory officer assigned to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, felt it was important to give the EFMB a try.

“All and all it’s a great opportunity to come out here to see how the lanes are run and to see the new medical standards,” said Vaugn. “Working in a hospital it’s kind of hard to keep up on the current field standards so this is a great opportunity for us to get the standards and bring them back to our units.”

The EFMB test includes everything from warrior tasks, detailed combat casualty-care scenarios, a day and night land navigation course, and a 12-mile, road march.

“The EFMB has a 15 percent to 20 percent pass rate,” said Sgt. 1st Class William Ambrose, noncommissioned officer in charge of Combat Testing Lane 3. “That’s why it’s such an honor to go through it and pass all these difficult tasks -- saying you’re one of the best medics.”