Medical Specialists Vie for Expert Field Medical Badge
About 180 service members stepped into formation on Joint Base McGuire Dix-Lakehurst March 23, accepting the challenge to compete for the Expert Field Medical Badge (EFMB), one of the most coveted achievements in military medicine.
As the rain poured down on the range one week later, only about half were left. By the end, statistically, about 20 percent of those who start will cross finish line.
"This badge is not called the really good field medical badge. It's called the Expert Field Medical Badge," said Master Sgt. Daniel Correll, assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
Correll is one of three lead evaluators for three combat training lanes. Candidates, who include Army, Navy and National Guard members, are graded on his lane for their ability to triage and provide immediate combat care. Candidates must also use a radio to call in casualties and load patients into vehicles.
Staff Sgt. Justin Vanhoy, a candidate who is assigned to the 6th Medical Logistics and Management Center, said this is his third time trying for the badge. Vanhoy has 15 years of service in the Army but all of it has centered on medical supply, which means he had to prepare significantly for the combat training lanes. For months, he has been studying and working with others within the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command to learn more about medical care in a combat environment.
"I may not ever use this in a combat environment, but understanding what our combat medics go through is important for me in my logistics mission," explained Vanhoy.
Candidates must pass a written test, provide combat medical care in a chem-bio environment, perform day and night land navigation, and have to complete a 12-mile road march.
USAMRMC, in collaboration with the Public Health Command, the Northern Regional Medical Command, and the Maryland Army National Guard, sponsored the EFMB, which took 7 months to plan.
"The training enhances our ability on the battlefield," said Maj. Gen. Joseph Caravalho Jr., commanding general of USAMRMC and Fort Detrick.