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Minnesota National Guard
Two 34th CAB Soldiers earn prestigious Expert Field Medical Badge

PFC BAUM CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait- Deployed Soldiers from all over the Middle East spent nearly two weeks at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, from Jan 29, 2015, to Feb 9, 2015, for an opportunity to earn the highest and most challenging skill award a US Army medic can earn, the Expert Field Medical Badge

The 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team administered the EFMB course to Soldiers, including six from the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade

"We had a 118 [Soldiers] that volunteered to come compete for the Expert Field Medical Badge," said Maj Tracie Dominguez, the officer in charge of the EFMB course and senior brigade physician assistant for the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division at Camp Buehring

On average, approximately 16 percent of Soldiers earn the Expert Field Medical Badge, said Dominguez

The requirements before coming to the course were a passing Army physical fitness test, qualification on the Soldier's assigned weapon, and the ability to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation

Many Soldiers fail the first written exam in the beginning of the course and lose their chance at earning the EFMB, said Pfc Nick Baum, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2-147th Assault Helicopter Battalion medic, who earned the EFMB

"It was more nerve-wracking than exciting," Baum said about the course The slightest mistake on a combat training lane test could mark the end to earning the EFMB

Soldiers had to prove their skills in various categories, such as: tactical combat casualty care, medical evacuations, land navigation and warrior skills

The training was exhausting, tough, but very worthwhile, said Spc Megan Almelia, 90th Aviation Support Battalion medic, who earned the EFMB

It involved studying every night, said Baum

The 28 Soldiers who passed the written tests and combat training lanes, geared up for a 4 am, 12-mile ruck march Feb 9 To successfully complete the ruck march, Soldiers had to cross the finish line in three hours and pass a gear inspection They carried an unslung rifle, gas mask, and other essential Soldier gear

The Soldiers ruck marched to their training sites every day to prepare for the 12-mile ruck march, said Baum

The EFMB is the Army Medical Department standard of excellence, said Dominguez

The Soldiers studied for months, said Dominguez They're highly motivated, and they paid attention to their instructors The Soldiers who earn the EFMB are the cream of the crop Most Soldiers crossed the finish line running, some collapsing, exhausted afterward

"[I'm] still in shock I completed [the march] in time," said Almelia

She completed the ruck march with approximately three minutes to spare

"It hurts, everything," said Baum after the march

With the last test complete, a total of 24 out of 118 Soldiers earned the prestigious Expert Field Medical Badge

February 9, 2015
by Spc Jessica Nemec
34th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs



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