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NEWS | Dec. 1, 2015

Troops Qualify for Expert Field Medical Badge

By Cpl. Jaewoo Oh

CAMP CASEY, South Korea - The annual Expert Field Medical Badge qualification course was recently conducted for Eighth Army medical personnel on the Korean Peninsula. The 12-day course was conducted to recognize Soldiers demonstrating the level of professional skill and proficiency necessary to become expert field medics.

Among the 140 candidates who began course, fourteen Soldiers represented the 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division/ROK-U.S Combined Division during the qualification at Rodriguez Live Fire Complex November 13-24 near Pocheon, South Korea.

"Expert Field Medical Badge is a skills badge available to any medical personnel who serve in the U.S. Army," said Maj. Justin Decker, officer in charge of the EFMB test board committee for the 2nd Infantry Division. "EFMB is the most stringent skills badge with respect to gradees, with a pass ratio of 15 to 20 percent."

The high attrition rate can be equated to the course's high expectations and discipline needed to withstand the series of comprehensive medical testing.

"We test Soldiers in six parts," said Staff Sgt. Ivan D. Pagan, the EFMB platoon sergeant in charge of the brigade's candidates. "We test people on their ability to safely intervene casualties in a combat situation."

"The students will begin with the standardization phase where they will learn what they will be tested on," said Pagan, a Valparaiso, Florida, native assigned to Battery E, 6th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. "Then, over the course of 6 days, they will be assessed in different combat testing lanes, a written test and land navigation course."

Combat Testing Lane One tested candidates' ability to assess and treat casualties in a combat scenario whereas Combat Testing Lane Two focused on their response to a chemical environment while wearing mission oriented protective posture gear.

Combat Testing Lane Three assessed candidates on casualty intervention using extrication and transportation. The lane required candidates to follow strict protocols in relation to medical evacuation and calling for a "Nine Line," the military standard used to request medical evacuation of a casualty.

Candidates who successfully completed all tasks and lanes with passing marks were then required to complete a 12-mile road march in under three hours for the final event.

When testing was complete, five Soldiers from the brigade proudly earned the distinction of wearing the badge.

In front of the small formation of graduates, one "Thunder" Soldiers stood out among the rest as an honor graduate, achieving the highest score in the course's written test with a 93 percent.

"I think the Expert Field Medical Badge shows the commitment and determination of everyone who went through the course," said 1st Lt. Jeffery Soboleski, a Baltimore, Maryland, native and physician assistant for Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 6th Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment. "I am honored to graduate from EFMB."

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