8th TSC pursues medical excellence during EFMB testing

| November 5, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photo by
Capt. Stephen Robinson
130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

EFMB candidates are required to perform a variety of different tasks on combat training lanes. In this scenario, the candidate tries to successfully place a neck brace on the driver of a vehicle hit by an improvised explosive device, on the training lane, Oct. 22. SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Ten Soldiers from the 130th Engineer and 45th Sustainment brigades, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, along with 137 other medical Soldiers from across the island, attempted to qualify for the Expert Field Medical Badge, in a challenge held at Area X and East Range, here, Oct. 17-22.  

After a grueling two weeks of training in soggy-terrain, only 20 Soldiers were awarded the EFMB during a ceremony on Sills Field, here, Oct. 22.  

Spc. Christopher Nettles, 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Bde, was one of the 20 Soldiers to receive the EFMB. 

“My biggest motivators, which helped me to make it through this competition, (were) the inspiration my family and peers gave me and the support I got from my unit’s chain of command,” Nettles said, about receiving the badge on his first try. “But the bottom line is that I knew I had to look in my peers’ faces when it was all over … and that I was also promised a four-day pass if I finished strong.”  

The EFMB challenges the professional competence and physical endurance of a Soldier-medic. The competition entails military occupational specialty-qualified medical personnel, officers and enlisted to display professionalism, commitment, courage and compassion. These attributes must remain constant for the participants to complete the EFMB course.

“Statistically, the (EFMB) is one of the toughest badges a Soldier can earn. Only the best-of-the-best ever get pinned,” said Capt. Henry Schnedler, EFMB test control officer, Army Medical Department of the U.S. Army Center and School, Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

The competition is designed as a special-skill award for exceptional competence and outstanding performance by field medical personnel. 

During the EFMB competition, the candidates spent the first week in lane standardization, and they started the second week with a day and night land-navigation course. 

“Testing also included, but was not limited to, three total combat lane testing sites, ranging from evacuating a casualty, negotiating rough terrain with a litter and (setting) up radios to call a nine-line medical evacuation,” said Master Sgt. Roberto Rosales, noncommissioned officer in charge of a combat training lane, 25th Infantry Division. “Candidates must receive eight of 10 tasks correctly to pass the event.” 

The demands of the competition test and gauge the medic’s competence in using medical skill sets in unexpected situations, which occur on and off the battlefield.  

“The evaluators made sure all candidates understood that the same guidelines applied across the board, and everyone is graded according to the same standards,” Rosales said.  

The EFMB testing culminated with a punishing 12-mile foot march.  

“My toughest challenge was during the first two miles into the road march,” Nettles said. “Because of muscle fatigue, I started having a little tingling over my body. Even though this put negative thoughts in my head of possibly not going another 10 miles, I overcame those thoughts. I drove on and finished.”

The EFMB was approved by the Department of the Army, June 18, 1965, and more than 96,000 personnel have competed for the EFMB since 1986.

Category: News

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