News: 4th MEB expert medic earns badge
Story by Sgt. Kelly Malone
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- Five 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade soldiers headed to Fort Riley, Kan., to participate in the Army’s Expert Field Medical Badge competition, May 5-10. A total of 159 participants entered the five-day course and only 24 earned the badge at its conclusion. One of the finalists was 4th MEB soldier, Spc. Benjamin Raymond.
Raymond, company medic, 232nd Engineer Company, 94th Engineer Battalion, 4th MEB, 1st Infantry Division, was awarded the Army’s EFMB after successfully competing with medics from other units.
“This was my first attempt at the expert field medical badge competition, said Raymond.
Raymond said he has been in the Army a little more than two years and wanted to be a medic from the beginning. He spent several years as a full time fire fighter and emergency medical technician in his home town of Milford, N.H., and then enlisted in the Army at age 23.
The Army’s advanced individual training for medics was really different from EMT training but Raymond said he still liked it.
“It was more hands on, and you could tell it was all combat-based training. Stop the bleeding, and then work on airway breathing and circulation,” said Raymond, “The civilian side is completely backward where it’s airway breathing and circulation first then stop any bleeding.”
Units typically host a prequalification course for their soldiers interested in competing in the EFMB competition. The purpose is so those going are qualified medics who have a good chance of earning the badge, said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Gross, senior medic, 4th MEB, 1st ID, who coordinated the brigade’s prequalification training course.
Before Raymond earned his EFMB, Gross was the only badge holder in the brigade.
It is well known how tough this competition is for entrants, said Gross.
“The EFMB competition consists of 120 hours of consecutive testing with 45 tasks to include land navigation, a 100 question written test and a 12 mile road march completed within three hours,” said Gross. “We started with 26 competitors from across the brigade and only sent five to Fort Riley,” he added.
To earn an EFMB, Army medics must not only successfully complete medical-specific tasks but also many common training tasks such as operate and resolve misfires with their assigned weapon, properly utilize and repair radio communication equipment, and function within a simulated chemical environment.
Common training tasks are known as level ten skills throughout the Army. These are basic skills that all soldiers, regardless of rank or job, must be able to perform proficiently.
“The soldiers who go through the entire course become masters of level ten skills because they have weapons, communications, reporting, medical skills, litter (stretcher) obstacles. It is mentally and physically exhausting for them,” said Gross.
Raymond completed the brigade prequalification course which took place over several weeks here.
Sgt. Gross told me how hard the next 120 hours was going to be, especially the final road march, he said.
At hour 100, Raymond described what he was doing and what was going through his mind.
My task was to do maneuver tactics, 3 to 5 second rushes to reach the top of this hill, he said.
“At the top of the hill I hit my first two casualties,” said Raymond. “I had to treat a leg wound with a tourniquet and pack an armpit wound. Going through my mind was paying attention to detail, not to miss one step.”
Col. Frank Rangel, commander, 4th MEB, 1st ID, presented Raymond with a unit coin of excellence May 15, telling Raymond how proud the command was of what Raymond had accomplished.
“These are not easy things we ask you to do,” said Rangel, “it not only elevates you but it elevates the whole organization.”
Raymond said he was satisfied and was happy to have the whole thing behind him.
“The hardest part of the whole thing was the 12-mile road march,” said Raymond. “I never have been afraid of marching before but it was rough. Thirty-one started and only 24 earned their badge after that march.”
“Success, beating the odds of even making it at all and then being a first time go,” said Raymond regarding his final thoughts after such a difficult competition.