By Staff Sgt. Aaron P. DuncanDecember 4, 2012
"They have different scenarios you can react to. You're moving in-between each event and each event is pretty physical. Since it is medic focused, you are not just shooting; you're dragging a casualty between firing points and assessing people as you go."
The speaker is a calm, serious 29-year-old U.S. Army officer from Atlanta. 1st Lt. Jonathan Jordan, with Company E, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, recently returned from competing in the Army's Best Medic Competition where he and his teammate, Spc. Brandon Chavez, placed second.
Before competing at the Army level, they first had to compete in a competition across the 2nd Infantry Division. The top two competitors from the division, were then placed together to compete Army-wide.
"It just kind of worked out that we were both from the same unit. We were training together from the start because we were under the impression that [the 2nd Infantry Division Best Medic Competition] was a buddy team event. So, we went there as a team and were really happy that we finished first and second allowing us to go as a team to the Army's Best Medic Competition."
They spent the weeks leading up to the competitions training hard even though they were still on medical evacuation duties.
"Once we knew the exact date for the medic competition in Korea, we pretty much started training at least four days a week, before or after work," said Jones. "After the first competition we updated our training and added a couple mini medic lanes. It was kind of rough for us, because we were on MEDEVAC duty. One of us would be stuck at the hanger, and the other would come up and we would do whatever we could without leaving our area.
The 72-hour two-Soldier team competition challenged the Army's best medical personnel in a demanding, continuous and realistic simulated operational environment at Camp Bullis, Texas, Oct. 26-28, 2012.
The combat medic is the spearhead of Army medical care - the first step in keeping wounded Soldiers alive," said Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, the U.S. Army surgeon general and commander of U.S. Army Medical Command. "Our Soldier-medics may be competitors today, but they will be heroes tomorrow.
The 32 teams, representing the best Army medics worldwide, who participated this year engaged in fierce competition to be named the Army's Best Medic.
"You are evaluated on timed completion and adherence to medical standards," said Jordan.
In its second year, the course designers were able to make the competition more physically demanding and test the competitors on additional medical tasks. It did not stop Jordan or Chavez from giving it their all.
"You definitely learn important lessons while competing, such as if I have a wire obstacle then I do want a Sked; but if I have a hill I want a litter since we learned it is easier to carry a litter up a hill than to drag a Sked," said Jordan.
This year's Best Medic Competition may be over but the lessons learned through the training leading up to the event and the competition itself will continue to ensure that Jordan and Chavez are always ready to fight tonight.
"I know my teammate and I walked away feeling more confident in our abilities," said Jordan. "I feel more confident in my abilities because the varied realistic scenarios we completed in the competition. Certain tasks get performed so much, like applying tourniquets, you can practically do them asleep. "