FORT McCOY, Wis. –
Approximately 90 U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from myriad USAR medical units from both Army Reserve Medical Command and 807th Medical Command Deployment Support (MCDS) echelons provided grading, training, administrative and logistical support for the 2023 U.S. Army Reserve Expert Field Medical Badge competition here, April 30 - May 14, 2023. However, setup and pre-execution planning and training immediately began once the advance echleon (ADVON) group of cadre and support personnel arrived on site April 7, 2023, followed by the main body group on April 17, 2023.
Although 2023 USAR EFMB is primarily hosted by Central Medical Area Readiness Support Group out of Fort Sheridan, Illinois, personnel and assets were cross-leveled in a harmonious synchronization of setup, planning and training .
"We identified the roles and responsibilities of the Soldiers that were going to help assist in setting up the lanes, identify the additional EFMB badgeholders who are required to be present as evaluators and graders on lanes, and come up with a setup plan and training program for the candidates as they arrived here," said U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Beal, a combat medic assigned to the 7456th Medical Operational Readiness Unit out of Des Moines, Iowa, and the Tactical Casualty Combat Care (TCCC) lane noncommissioned officer-in-charge. "This year, we had the opportunity to meet our fellow cadre and support members upon arrival, delegate responsibility, ensure compliance with Army Regulation 350-10 for proper setup, checklist and execution, and training our evaluators to perform all evaluations to standard and to be proficient in all skills."
To qualify as graders for the EFMB competition, they have to be current badgeholders regardless of other training or qualifications.
U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Peter Padilla, an emergency room nurse with the 352nd Field Hospital out of Camp Parks, California, and recipient of the EFMB in 1987 in Landsthul Regional Medical Center, Germany, said that strict adherence to standards is paramount in preserving the legacy of the EFMB competition.
"The goal of course is to perform flawlessly in maintaining that standard and the spirit behind the badge that was first implemented in 1965, and upholding those standards as they evolved throughout the years," said Padilla. "And as medicine and evidence-based medical practices are put into place, the EFMB is also designed to grow and improve."
In terms of timely adaptation, the Army has revamped the EFMB to conform with any new medical developments in the civilian and military community.
"In the last three years, there has been a lot of evolution, as it now follows the MARCH (massive hemorrhage, airway, respirations, circulation, head injury/hypothermia) process," said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Moxley, a psychiatric/behavioral health nurse assigned to the 7452nd Medical Operational Readiness Unit out of San Diego, California, and Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) lane grader for 2023 USAR EFMB. "It is very similar to what it was in the past, but just the format has changed and some of the steps have slightly changed to mirror best medical practices. We're trying to keep it as up-to-date as we can."
Finally, the cadre and support staff provide candidates with the most current training materials and equipment to coincide with the previously mentioned changes.
"The training piece that happens during standardization with the candidates gives them the optimal opportunity to see what right looks like, to put their hands on the equipment, and to get a little hands-on training with all of the materials...so they are proficient in the expectation that they will be asked to perform on test days," Moxley said.
The 2023 USAR EFMB began its testing phase on May 8-11, 2023 and culminated in a 12-mile ruck march and EFMB ceremony on May 12, 2023.
"I extend the challenge (to qualify for thte EFMB) to all medical personnel in the United States Army," Padilla said. "And I think that it is important that we re-embrace the EFMB with wholeheartedness and start motivating our Soldiers to attend, train them up, and making sure that they come prepared to meet the high standard that we are demanding from them."