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EFMB Competition

17 earn coveted medical badges

593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command

Published: 04:08PM June 14th, 2018

593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command

Soldiers try to earn the coveted Expert Field Medical Badge during a competition at Joint Base Lewis-McChord June 1 to Tuesday. The EFMB is one of the hardest badges to achieve in the Army.

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Capt. Clifford Wong, 56th Med. Bn.

Capt. Justin Ghan, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division

Capt. David McKeon, 1st Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division

Sgt. Enrique Avendando, 56th Med. Bn.

Sgt. Bryce Dickinsonbutler, 56th Med. Bn.

Sgt. Rafael Rodriguez, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade

Sgt. Ashley Conlon, 2nd Bde. 2nd Inf. Div.

Sgt. Crockett Wessels, 2nd Bde. 2nd Inf. Div.

Sgt. Li Tian, 47th Combat Support Hospital, 62nd Medical Brigade

Staff Sgt. Gregory Duque, 56th Med. Bn.

Staff Sgt. Jordon Peterson, 4th Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment

Spc. Jared Gamble, 1st Bde. 2nd Inf. Div.

Spc. Jakari Ford, 16th CAB

Spc. Ulysses Dubon, 2nd Bde. 2nd Inf. Div.

Spc. Justin Bautista, 56th Med. Bn.

Spc. Mason McHaney, 2nd Bde. 2nd Inf. Div.

Pfc. Jared Banks, 555th Engineer Brigade

Seventeen out of 283 candidates from the medical field earned the Expert Field Medical Badge Tuesday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Only 6 percent of the service members who competed were awarded the prestigious badge. The pass rate for a typical EFMB competition across the Army is between 5 to 25 percent.

“Earning the Expert Field Medical Badge is a demonstration of excellence both in your Soldier skills and your medical skills,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Mahoney, 56th Multifunctional Medical Battalion commander. “It’s a commitment to excellence and physical endurance.”

The EFMB competition began June 7 with 282 candidates from Army and one Navy lieutenant. Soldiers, ranging from the ranks of private to lieutenant colonel from units across JBLM, attended this year’s competition.

The train-up for the competition began Tuesday. Candidates had a week in which they were able to execute the tasks and get guidance from the graders.

The evaluators, who were all recipients of the badge, answered questions as candidates executed the tasks to ensure they understood the standard.

Many of the competitors were there for their second or even third attempt to attain the coveted medical badge.

During the competition, many of the competitors were sent home for medical, emergency leave, voluntary or administrative reasons. The majority are for administrative reasons.

“It is hard work, and whether you earn the badge or you don’t, it’s all still worth it because you’ve gained valuable lessons and some awesome knowledge,” said Navy Lt. Jason Fuchs, United States Northern Command medic.

The competitors were tested both physically and mentally. With little or no time to sleep for six days, they were tested on their medical skills and physical fitness.

Overall, the competition involved 120 hours of testing for the competitors. They had timed events such as a written exam, Combat Testing Lanes, night and day land navigation course and a 12-mile road march that they had three hours to complete.

The candidates first took the written examination, and if they received a passing grade, they moved on to day land navigation. In order to move to the next task, the candidates had to achieve a passing grade on the task at hand.

The last task was the 12-mile road march. Only 17 candidates started, and 17, in this case, finished.

Setting up for an event of this magnitude is no easy task. It took 56th Med. Bn. months of planning and approximately 325 support personnel to ensure everything was ready for the candidates.

“It’s a tough job, but it is always fun to see your team succeed at such a large task,” said Maj. Matthews Tillman, operations officer, 56th Med. Bn. “It takes hard work from senior noncommissioned officers and junior officers to make an event like this happen.”

The 17 Soldiers, who completed all tasks, were awarded the Expert Field Medical badge Tuesday after the final event in a ceremony at Cowan Stadium on JBLM.

“Staying focused and not letting the stress get to you was the hardest part, but anyone can do it as long as you want it,” said Capt. Clifford Wong, executive officer, 153rd Medical Detachment, 56th Med. Bn.