16th Sust. Bde. medics earn prestigious EFMB

Story and photo by Pvt. Kevin Alex
16th Sust. Bde. Public Affairs

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Medical Soldiers from the 16th Sustainment Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command recently competed against themselves to earn the coveted Expert Field Medical Badge during the U.S. Army in Europe EFMB course here July 31 to Aug. 13.

The EFMB is the ultimate test of professional competence and physical endurance for medical Soldiers and is the most sought after peacetime award in the Army Medical Department.

Out of the eight 16th Sust. Bde. Soldiers who participated in the competition, five actually received the EFMB: Spcs. Douglas Best, Thomas Mwibanda and Terence Potter, combat medics; 2nd Lt. Brian Embry, a medical operations officer; and 1st Lt. Jen Brouillette, the medical platoon leader. All Soldiers are with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 16th Special Troops Battalion, 16th Sust. Bde.
The first week of the course was standardization week. This consisted of going over everything the competitors would be tested on in the second week so the Soldiers would know the standards before going into the testing phase.

In order to receive the badge, each Soldier had to pass an Army physical fitness test, complete weapons qualification, go through three combat testing lanes, finish a day and night land navigation course, pass a written test, and so a 12-mile road march.

CTL 1 was made up of emergency medical treatment and CPR, CTL 2 was the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear lane and CTL 3 consisted of evacuating a casualty, a litter obstacle course and communications.

“CTL 1 was my favorite part,” said Mwibanda, a native of Dallas. “It was kind of enjoyable as a medic doing what I joined up to do.”

Brouillette, who is originally from Denver, said the most challenging part of EFMB was the tactical combat casualty care tasks.

“There were pages and pages of tasks that we had to perform and missing three or more simple steps could easily send you home,” she said.

The EFMB is one of the most challenging badges in the Army to earn, and even
though three of the eight 16th Sust. Bde. Soldiers competing did not make it all the way through this time, there is always next time.

Potter missed getting his EFMB the first time he went through the course and expressed his joy over receiving his EFMB the second time around.

The EFMB course challenged everyone involved and even surprised some Soldiers.
“It turned out to be more difficult than I expected it to be,” said Best, a native of Olympia, Wash. “It definitely lived up to its reputation.”