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    Twenty-three Earn EFMB as Sky Solider Wins Top Honors

    Allies Work with Sky Soldiers to Earn EFMB

    Photo By Lt. Col. John Hall | Two Allied Soldiers from Kosovo worked with the six medics from the 173rd Airborne...... read more read more



    Story by Lt. Col. John Hall 

    173rd Airborne Brigade

    GRAFENWOEHR, Germany – Sweatsicles were formed on the Army Combat Helmet of Pfc. Jonah Petrick as he crossed the finish line of the 12-mile foot march of the Expert Field Medical Badge testing on a cold March morning in Grafenwoehr, Germany.

    The Expert Field Medical Badge (EFMB) is one of the most difficult badges for a Soldier to earn, so when you see it on a U.S. Army medic, you know they are proven to be the absolute best. Saturday morning 191 Soldiers from six nations assembled from across Europe vying for the coveted EFMB. When the snow settled five days later, only 23 crossed the finish line of the 12-mile ruck march to earn the badge.

    The Expert Field Medical Badge (EFMB) was designed as a special skill award for recognition of exceptional competence and outstanding performance by field medical personnel and approved by the Department of the Army on 18 June 1965. The badge consists of a litter placed horizontally behind a caduceus with the cross of the Geneva Convention.

    “The EFMB 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 AMEDD, and while the Combat Medical Badge is the ‘portrait of courage’ in wartime, the Expert Field Medical Badge is undoubtedly the ‘portrait of excellence’ in the Army all of the time,” states the US Army Medical Department Center and School.

    Among those demonstrating their excellence, earning this year’s distinction as Honor Graduate, and awarded the Army Medical Department EFMB Coin of Excellence was SPC Matthew Holtz from the 173rd Airborne Brigade for his performance in combat and casualty care as well as the written assessment. Also earning the Honor Graduate status was 1LT Matthew Carroll from the Regional Health Command for being first in the 12-mile combat load foot march in a time of 2 hours 16 minutes.

    The testing hosted by U.S. Army Europe’s 21st Theater Sustainment Command, began earlier this month in Grafenwoehr, Germany, where 179 U.S. and 12 International Soliders completed the standardization week in which participants are briefed on the tasks to be tested and the Army standard to be achieved.

    “It’s an attention to detail badge, it’s a following directions badge, it’s not just medical,” stated 1st Lt. Laura Benz, EFMB Cadre and Medical Surgical Nurse at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. “Nothing prepares you like the standardization week, the first week of training when you get here [Grafenwoehr]. It’s great to see how all the hard work we have done to get the lanes set up when the candidates come through and we see how motivated they are, how hard they have worked, for whoever knows how long. To see some of them get the badge is really special."

    “Twenty-one US Army, and two international Soldiers, twelve percent of those who started, have the earned the privilege of wearing the badge. One hundred and twenty hours of testing on essential warrior tasks in a simulated wartime environment culminating with a 12-mile road march. This is a testament to the heart and will of the twenty-three who started the ruck march this morning and completed it. Earning the EFMB takes determination, commitment and personal courage. These EFMB recipients have proven themselves as soliders and leaders,” said Cmd Sgt. Maj. Joseph Cesil, Regional Health Command Europe.

    Guidance for conducting the EFMB testing is governed by the Army Medical Department Center and School (AMEDDC&S) in Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Over the past five decades, hundreds of thousands of Soldiers have attempted to earn the most prestigious Army medical badge. Historically, less than seventeen percent of those attempting to earn the badge have met the challenging standards and earned the right to wear it.

    Countless hours of work Have been dedicated to overcome one of our Armies most difficult challenges which include a test of physical fitness, medical standards, Soldier skills – critical medical and Soldier skills.

    “This right to earn the badge was achieved through combat leaders training their medics in the lead up to the testing. We had a really good train up this year, by coming to Grafenwoehr and working together with all of our battalions to get our medics ready for this testing. We were very aggressive in getting our paratroopers ready in all aspects of this test. The numbers show how hard this test is – at 12 percent pass rate. If you earn this badge, it shows you know your business,” said SFC Reinaldo Gotierrez, 173rd Airborne Brigade Medical NCOIC.

    The medics are proud of their achievement and their potential to enhance the combat readiness of their units. Sgt. Angel Gomez, from the 173rd Brigade Support Battalion commented, “This was my second try at earning the EFMB. I went back to Vicenza, Italy after the last effort and immediately went to work on my training. This is important to earn because it shows every Soldier that we are working to be the best medics we can be, that we are working to make sure the paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade know we are there to take care of them on the battlefield. This is our badge – the badge that shows we are ready”.

    And that Soldier who finished the early morning ruck march with icicles hanging from his combat helmet, was all smiles as he stated, “I was fourth overall in the ruck, third out of the 173rd. The best part for me was being able to perform every day with a clear head on all of the skills I was taught. I really enjoyed seeing how well I performed under pressure”. Petrick concluded by saying, “As a PFC in the 1/91 Cavalry, earning the EFMB, this means a whole lot. It will put me in front of my peers, help me toward the goals I have to become an NCO, to train paratroopers and some day to return to school to become a Physician’s Assistant (PA).

    The newest recipients of the EFMB in the U.S. Army Europe are: 173rd Airborne Brigade, Sgt. Angel Gomez, Sgt. Brenden Lee, Sgt. Jacob Shepherd, Spc. Kyle Daron, Spc. Matthew Holtz and Pfc. Jonah Petrick; from 2ABCT Pfc. Adam Ridgeway; from 2nd Cavalry Regiment, Cpt. Alexander May, 1st Lt. Ashley Mohr, 2nd Lt. Emily Kirchner, 2nd Lt. Kyle Newsome, Spc. Ramiro Fonseca, Spc. Andrew Hansen, Spc. Jordon Rainey; from 421 MMB, Sgt. Korey Wilson and Sgt. Phillip Young; from RHC-E, Cpt. Jason Christman, Cpt. Thomas Hansen, 1st Lt. Matthew Carroll and Spc. Cody Hardin; and from Kosovo, Cpl. Besart Ejupi and Cpl. Kushtrim Hyseni.



    Date Taken: 03.22.2018
    Date Posted: 03.22.2018 12:07
    Story ID: 270265
    Location: DE

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