Sixteen of the Army’s top medics from across the Pacific region gathered at Joint Base Lewis-McChord Aug. 21 to 25 for Regional Health Command-Pacific’s Best Medic competition.
Soldiers hailing from duty stations in Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Korea and Japan competed in the grueling weeklong competition.
“We are testing the competitors on their warrior tasks and battle drills, as well as their technical proficiency as combat medics, examining the resiliency of these competitors and seeing how far we can push them, while looking for who can maintain proficiency under high amounts of stress,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Rick Watson, Regional Health Command-Pacific command sergeant major.
The competition was designed to physically and mentally challenge each Soldier and test their readiness, tactical medical proficiency and leadership skills, Watson said. Competitors faced a demanding, continuous and realistic simulated operational environment. Competitors earned points through successful completion of evaluated events during the testing phases.
“Being in this competition has allowed me to test my skills and demonstrate competence in a stressful environment,” said Sgt. 1st Class Sheena Blake, a dental technician from the 62nd Medical Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. “The hardest part for me is the unknown. Every day is something different and we don’t know what’s going to come next.”
The competition included a physical fitness test, obstacle course, force on force combat, tailgate medicine test, stress shoot, patient extraction event, warrior task lane, land navigation and culminated in a 12-mile road march.
Candidates competed as individuals, with the top two individuals going on to compete at the U.S. Army Medical Command competition at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
“My biggest motivation coming into this competition is proving myself to my Soldiers,” said 2nd Lt. Adam Schafer, from the 65th Medical Brigade, Yongsan Garrison in South Korea, who was the winner of the competition.
The competition was planned and executed in conjunction with I Corps, 7th Infantry Division, 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, 62nd Medical Brigade and Madigan Army Medical Center.
“I would encourage everyone who can to come out here,” Blake said. “You don’t have to be a medic to be here, but you have to be a medic at heart. Having the opportunity to show off the skills we train constantly for has been a great experience.”