During an emotional finale to a grueling 13-day course designed to identify those who possess the highest level of professional skill and proficiency, only a few had demonstrated that they earned the right to wear the Expert Field Medical Badge.
A ceremony at Sadowski Field honored 22 soldiers, from units throughout Fort Hood, who successfully completed the EFMB course Oct. 4. Of the 230 soldiers to volunteer for the course, these few displayed the perseverance the course demanded.
“This is one of the proudest moments of my life, and I feel like I have done everyone proud,” said Spc. Bruce Stack, a combat medic from 3rd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, adding that he has always wanted people to look at him and know that he was squared away.
“I always try to present myself the best way I can, and this is just one more way to show that I know what I am doing and am on top of my game,” Stack said.
This was the first EFMB course to be held at Fort Hood since 2008.
“Now that we have the time and resources, we hope the results of this event will lay the groundwork for more frequent EFMB events in the future,” said Maj. Caryn Vernon, the Tactical Operations Center officer-in-charge.
Candidates were trained by the course evaluators in a number of individual tasks, such as tactical combat casualty care, communication, evacuation platform, warrior skills and land navigation during the standardization week of the course.
“There typically is a high-failure rate for the EFMB course. On average, only 15 percent of the candidates pass, because should they fail one portion of the course, they are sent home without the option to finish the course,” Vernon said.
At Combat Testing Lane 1, candidates were presented with 16 tasks, including a weapons function check and reaction to sniper fire. From there, candidates had to use tactical movements until they reached their first simulated casualty — a gunshot wound to the leg.
“The badge shows that you are the cream of the crop, that you know how to conduct yourself in a field tactical environment, and sets you apart from your peers,” said 1st Sgt. William Dicker, first sergeant of Bravo Company, 21st Combat Support Hospital, as he described how attention to detail leads to success.
Dicker said that while only 4 percent of soldiers in the medical field have earned the EFMB, he tells candidates not to give up and that it is OK to retake the course.
“The badge knows if it is your time,” said Dicker, who earned his badge in 1997 after more than one attempt.