GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Medical Soldiers from the 16th Sustainment Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, recently competed against themselves to earn the coveted Expert Field Medical Badge during the U. S. Army in Europe EFMB course here, July 31 - Aug. 13.
The EFMB is the ultimate test of professional competence and physical endurance for medical Soldiers and is the most sought after peacetime award in the Army Medical Department.
Out of the eight 16th Sust. Bde. Soldiers who participated in the competition, five actually received the EFMB: Spcs. Douglas Best, Thomas Mwibanda, and Terence Potter, combat medics and 2nd Lt. Brian Embry, a medical operations officer and 1st Lt. Jen Brouillette, the medical platoon leader, all with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 16th Special Troops Battalion, 16th Sust. Bde.
The first week of the course was standardization week. This consisted of going over everything that the competitors would be tested on in week two, so the Soldiers would know the standards before going into the testing phase.
In order to receive the badge, each Soldier had to pass an Army Physical Fitness Test, complete weapons qualification, go through three Combat Testing Lanes, finish a day and night land navigation course, pass a written test and a 12-mile road march.
CTL 1 was comprised of emergency medical treatment and CPR, CTL 2 was the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear lane and CTL 3 consisted of evacuating a casualty, a litter obstacle course and communications.
"CTL 1 was my favorite part," said Mwibanda, a native of Dallas. "It was kind of enjoyable as a medic doing what I joined up to do."
"The most challenging part of EFMB was the tactical combat casualty care tasks," said Brouillette, originally from Denver. "There were pages and pages of tasks that we had to perform and missing three or more simple steps could easily send you home."
The EFMB is one of the most challenging badges in the Army to earn, and even though three of the eight 16th Sust. Bde. Soldiers competing did not make it all the way through this time, there is always next time.
Potter missed getting his EFMB the first time he went through the course and expressed his joy over receiving his EFMB the second time around.
The EFMB course challenged everyone involved and even surprised some Soldiers.
"It turned out to be more difficult than I expected it to be," said Best, a native of Olympia, Wash. "It definitely lived up to its reputation."
Article by Pvt. Kevin Alex, 16th Sust. Bde. Public Affairs