‘Wings of Lightning’ compete, earn EFMB

| November 5, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photos by
Staff Sgt. Mike Alberts
25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

Capt. Tirzah Eskew (right), team leader, Co. C, 3rd Bn., 25th GSAB, 25th CAB, 25th ID, assesses a casualty after a simulated improvised explosive device detonates during the EFMB competition, Oct. 18. SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — More than 140 Soldiers began the grueling competition to earn one of the Army’s most coveted skill badges. By graduation day, only 20 remained, and were recognized for their accomplishment as they received the Expert Field Medical Badge on Schofield Barracks’ Sills Field, Oct 22.

The purpose of the EFMB is to provide qualified medical personnel with tough, realistic training, and to recognize those who demonstrate the highest degree of professional skill in warrior tasks and various medical skills in a simulated combat environment. 

1st Lt. Alex Burns, Schofield Barracks Acute Care Clinic, Company C, Tripler Army Medical Center, was the officer in charge of a combat training lane one, for tactical combat casualty care, or TCCC. 

She explained that to earn the EFMB, candidates must pass an Army physical fitness test, qualify with their assigned weapon, have a current life support certification, pass 11 of 14 tasks for TCCC, pass eight of 10 tasks for evacuation of the sick and wounded, pass 10 of 13 warrior skill tasks, pass four of five communication tasks, pass a comprehensive written examination, pass a day and night land-navigation course, and complete a 12-mile foot march in three hours. 

Sgt. 1st Class Michael Johnson, Co. B, TAMC, helped Burns evaluate candidates at the TCCC lane. Johnson earned his badge several years ago and has witnessed the competition become more operationally oriented. 

“The candidates are no longer simply given a series of tasks to accomplish, like applying a tourniquet,” Johnson said. “At each lane, Soldiers are (confronted) with a series of combat-based scenarios. At the TCCC lane, each candidate will treat patients, but the lane includes (everything) from loading vehicles and maintaining weapons, to using communication equipment and moving tactically, while reacting to direct fire.”

Among the candidates were five 25th Combat Aviation Brigade “Wings of Lightning” Soldiers, all assigned to Co. C, 3rd Battalion, 25th General Support Aviation Bn., 25th CAB, 25th Infantry Division. 

1st Lt. Michael Sudweeks, UH-60 pilot and assistant team leader, Co. C, 3rd Bn., 25th GSAB, 25th CAB, 25th ID, moves a casualty to safety for evacuation during the EFMB competition at the East Range field training facility at Schofield Barracks, Oct. 21.Of these candidates, only 1st Lt. Michael Sudweeks, Forward Support Medical Team, earned the badge. 

Capt. Tirzah Eskew, FSMT, made it to the land navigation course; Capt. Zachary Mauss, FSMT, and Sgt. William Lyman, FSMT, advanced to the TCCC lane; and 1st Lt. Hayden Piscal, FSMT, fell just one minute and five seconds short of earning her EFMB during the 12-mile foot march. 

“Personally, it’s rewarding to be a first-time ‘go,’ achieving a badge that has a (less) than 20-percent passing rate,” Sudweeks said. “Professionally, I hope it demonstrates that I’m willing to put in extra work and effort, which is important, especially when I get to a unit that has a bunch of qualified medical personnel. 

“The EFMB shows that I am willing to learn, which is not just good for me, but I hope good for the unit,” he said.

“Our Army is an Army that values its medics and appreciates the extraordinary contribution that medical members of the team make, and that is really why the badge was created,” said retired Lt. Gen. James Benjamin Peake, former secretary of Veterans Affairs and the 40th Army surgeon general, to the Soldiers who earned EMFB.

“The complexity of the tasks, the fog of battle, the stress of combat and the physical demands are all built into the challenges of this competition and represent all the challenges you will face on the battlefield. (You have) truly earned the (EFMB) … and I am proud of what you will do on the battlefield to take care of our Soldiers,” Peake said.

Category: News

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