Premier combat medics earn prestigious badge

| November 20, 2015 | 0 Comments
Photo by SFC Nicole Howell, 8th Theater Sustainment Command Since 1945, Army medical professionals who demonstrate their ability to provide medical care while engaged in actual combat are able to earn the Combat Medical Badge.  Unfortunately, all Soldiers were not afforded the opportunity to receive this badge. To extend the opportunity for those who did not see battle, the U.S. Army implemented the Expert Field Medical Badge in 1965 to recognize Soldiers for their outstanding medical capabilities under stressful conditions.

Photo by SFC Nicole Howell, 8th Theater Sustainment Command
Since 1945, Army medical professionals who demonstrate their ability to provide medical care while engaged in actual combat are able to earn the Combat Medical Badge.
Unfortunately, all Soldiers were not afforded the opportunity to receive this badge. To extend the opportunity for those who did not see battle, the U.S. Army implemented the Expert Field Medical Badge in 1965 to recognize Soldiers for their outstanding medical capabilities under stressful conditions.

Sgt. Jon Heinrich
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Since 1945, Army medical professionals who demonstrate their ability to provide medical care while engaged in actual combat are able to earn the Combat Medical Badge.

Unfortunately, all Soldiers were not afforded the opportunity to receive this badge.

To extend the opportunity for those who did not see battle, the U.S. Army implemented the Expert Field Medical Badge in 1965 to recognize Soldiers for their outstanding medical capabilities under stressful conditions.

The testing for this badge is five days long with a three-day train-up period. The graded evaluations consist of a written exam, day and night land navigation, tactical combat casualty care tasks, medical and casualty evacuations, warrior skills and the 12-mile ruck march as the culmination event.

Although many candidates have made the attempt, less than 20 percent of the Army’s medical community has accomplished this prestigious achievement.

On Oct. 20-30, two of the six 8th Theater Sustainment Command candidates, Sgt. Gilbert Garcia, 561st Engineer Company, 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, and Sgt. James Derosa, 8th Military Police Bde., earned the EFMB.

The candidates began the EFMB training by receiving a demonstration of how the each event would be graded during testing week.

“The first week was focused on learning medical tasks that we already knew as medics, but were required to learn to the exact standard expected of the EFMB program,” Garcia said. “It taught us to both get rid of bad habits and to learn and adapt to very detailed standards and methods for these medical techniques.”

From there, the candidates went directly into testing week where the Solders were evaluated on their ability to perform all tactical and technical duties required of a combat medic.

“The evaluations were very detail oriented, everything down to getting the property brevity codes and phonetic alphabet pronunciations in the 9-line MEDEVAC (medical evacuation) report,” Garcia said.

Along with the four combat training lanes, the Soldiers were also required to complete a written test consisting of a minimum of 60 questions and finish with a 12-mile ruck march that began at 3 a.m.

“We had to stay up all night studying then go to bed, sleep for four hours, then get up,” Derosa said. “That was probably the worst part. We were all tired from marching around from all the lanes and everything,” he added. “I think I hit mile five and wanted to stop.”

Derosa said he had to keep pushing himself to avoid giving up during the course.

For Garcia, the past attempt at earning the badge almost stopped him from accomplishing his goal.

“I tried for the badge once before in my last duty station, (but) came up short,” Garcia said. “I was really discouraged and was unsure about going through the EFMB process again, but received lots of encouragement from my command, and although I became fatigued and had to sacrifice sleep, the payoff for hard work for 10 straight days was success.”

Now that Garcia and Derosa are official EFMB holders, they are charged with helping others who are trying to do the same.

“I plan on doing a train-up for the Soldiers in my unit for the next EFMB and taking on the challenge of being EFMB cadre, which also requires hard work and a significant amount of time in the field, so I can pass on my knowledge and experiences,” Garcia said. “I really appreciated the environment that this cadre set because they were focused on providing positive reinforcement, and they really cared about teaching us.”

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