SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii – U.S. Army Pacific medical specialists tackled three different combat tactical lanes that included 46 different medical tasks, passed a written test, day and night land navigation, and finished a 12-mile foot march before walking onto the graduation field to earn the prestigious Expert Field Medical Badge, here, Nov. 8.
After a rough week of long days and nights of training for medical Soldiers from across the Pacific theater and from many different medical military occupational skills, or Army jobs, candidates went through another week of testing to obtain the badge that, in 2010, had a 17 percent passing rate by candidates who tested then.
The Surgeon General and Commanding General of the United States Army Medical Command, Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho, and Brig. Gen. Dennis Doyle, commander, Pacific Regional Medical Command and Tripler Army Medical Center, visited the Soldiers on one of the training lanes and encouraged them, while observing the course and the training.
Horoho stated, the visit to the EFMB testing at Schofield Barracks was a clear reminder that our medical profession exists, first and foremost, to save lives. Without the quick ability to intervene and provide those initial actions that allow us to bring back the injured as patients not victim – we will fail in our mission.
She went on the explain that the interventions buy time for the injured so that the rest of the Team can offer definitive care to save lives. Further, these interventions are often accomplished in austere and difficult situations and the EFMB confirms these abilities.
Candidates trained for one week with evaluators prior to test week.
During that week the soldiers and the evaluators started hands-on training early mornings and spent late nights reviewing in study hall.
“It makes you think about what a lot of the line medics are doing in their job specialty,” said Staff Sgt. Vance Maxey, dental technician, Tripler Dental Clinic, from Oceanside, Calif. “Going through this course makes you have an understanding of what they’re doing outside of your military occupational skill.”
Maxey went on to described the training as motivating, making you want to get dirty and learn new, rather than routine, skills.
Many still went home without the EFMB, but they received a certificate for completing the training.
Doyle stated how he was very impressed that all the cadre were very focused on adhering to the standards for the coveted EFMB and that even if soldiers don’t receive the badge, for whatever reason, they would still be much better medics for all the training received. These are the skills, under combat conditions, that our soldiers (and their families) expect us to be proficient in, and the 18th Medical Command (Deployment Support) team has done a magnificent job in training, resourcing and maintaining the standard that the EFMB represents.