LRMC major wins medic competition

Spc. Todd Goodman
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center

Amid explosions, gunfire and bleeding wounded, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Executive Officer Maj. Chuck Unruh won the Expert Field Medical Competition Feb. 24 in Kitzingen, Germany – and punched his ticket to Texas.

***image1***The 56-hour competition was a test of stamina, concentration and basic military skills. Competitors bunked up much like they were back in basic training. They slept on cots and had little privacy or home comforts.

Once they settled in, they had to take the Army Physical Fitness Test as well as a 100-question written exam. After these two tests, Major Unruh
was up by nearly 100 points.

The next day competitors performed day and night land navigation while hauling a 45-pound rucksack and an obstacle course that as the major said was a “smoker.”

“It was your typical belly buster type stuff, with rope swings and monkey bars,” he said. “It was very difficult.”

Competitors also had to complete a 12-mile road march prior to weapons qualification.
He won the competition with 503 points, with the next closest at 428. The  maximum number of points is 728, but the chances of a perfect score are slim.

“There is not someone who is going to max it, I can assure you of that,” said Capt. Kevin Ridderhoff, Clinical Operations Division chief. “In these combat medic lanes there are literally hundreds of tasks, from assessing a patient to obtaining vital signs, treatment to evacuation. There also are two graders at each point, watching you and using a checklist to see if you did everything properly.”

“I definitely went out there and gave it my best,” said Major Unruh. “It was nice to have the opportunity to represent Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.”

Next up for the major is the Army-wide competition at Fort Sam, Texas May 16 to 19. Although he won the Germany competition, Major Unruh downplayed his win.

“It’s not like I am the best medic in Germany,” he said. “There are tons of better medics. The ones deployed supporting our guys downrange are caring for real wounded, not simulation men .. and they were unable to compete. I merely ended up with the most points.”

Captain Ridderhoff disagreed, saying, “That was the point of this competition – to find the best field medic to give us the best chance to win the Army-wide EFMC.”

“I am going to go out and give it everything I have,” Major Uhruh said. “Winning that one would definitely be a big deal.”