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Home News Army Medics Earn Ultimate Peacetime Award

Army Medics Earn Ultimate Peacetime Award

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Pfc. Ryoma Nichols after finishing the Expert Field Medical Badge's last test, a 12-mile road march on April 17, 2014. The badge is a Department of the Army special skill award recognizing exceptional competence and outstanding performance by field medical personnel. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Miriam Espinoza-Torres.

 

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – This year’s Expert Field Medical Badge competition ended with 42 medics earning the elite badge April 17.

The Expert Field Medical Badge is a Department of the Army special skill award recognizing exceptional competence and outstanding performance by field medical personnel.

The certification test began with 294 candidates on April 5. Just 14 percent made the final cut at  this year’s competition and were awarded the badge.





The two-week event requires candidates to pass three combat testing lanes that challenged them on warrior skills, medical and casualty evacuation, night and day land navigation, tactical combat casualty care, communication tasks and a road march.

Each lane consisted of up to 20 events to test candidates’ knowledge and ability to react under stress . The final test required the candidates to finish a 12-mile road march in less than three hours.

According to the U.S. Army Medical Department, the Expert Field Medical Badge test is the utmost challenge to the professional competence and physical endurance of the soldier medic. It is the most sought after peacetime award in the medical community.

The youngest candidate to complete all tasks and earn the Expert Field Medical Badge this year was Pfc. Ryoma Nichols a medic with 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. Within 18 months of entering the Army Nichols has earned something that less than 10 percent of Army medics achieve.

“It’s an honor to receive the Expert Field Medical Badge, but this was no competition. We all worked together as a team,” Nichols said.

After one week of certification and one week of testing the remaining candidates crossed the finish line at Cowan Stadium April 17. Sgt. Drew Evans, 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, was the first candidate to finish the road march. He crossed the finish line at two hours and 13 minutes. With a look of exhaustion he walks over to dump his 35-pound rucksack to account for all the equipment he began the march with.

All candidates must finish with what they started with or they are automatically disqualified.

“It feels great, but it was more of a team effort so I feel very blessed to have a great chain of command, sponsors and battle buddies, I am glad to have the team that I have,” said Pfc. Eric Loredo, medic, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. “It was 120 hours of grueling work, but you get through it and in the end it’s definitely worth it. “Stick to your battle buddies, help them and let them help you.”


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