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On the hunt for the coveted Expert Field Medical Badge

Sgt. Willard Wilson, a member of the U.S. Army's Bavaria Dental Activity, demonstrates how to pull a casualty on a rescue stretcher on Sept. 11, 2013, for candidates hoping to earn the Army Expert Field Medical Badge at Grafenwöhr Training Area in Germany.

Randall Jackson/U.S. Army

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 18, 2013

More than 260 American, British and Belgian servicemembers began testing last week in Grafenwöhr, Germany, to earn the U.S. Army’s Expert Field Medical Badge. By Monday afternoon, with a written test and a 12-mile ruck march left to go, the field had been whittled down to about 60.

Each year, between 5 percent and 25 percent of candidates pass qualification for the EFMB, making it one of the toughest badges to earn in the U.S. military. It rates just below the Combat Medical Badge, earned for medical support to a ground unit engaged in combat, and is considered the medical equivalent of the Expert Infantryman Badge. Of the 262 military personnel who began the hunt for the Army’s coveted Expert Field Medical Badge last week in Grafenwöhr, Germany, 47 finished, passing the final event — a 12-mile ruck march — early Tuesday morning.

Though it is an Army decoration, members of other services are often invited to participate in EFMB qualifications. In Europe, qualification sometimes includes foreign medical personnel as well. This year, nine participants from the United Kingdom and Belgium took part, along with more than 250 U.S. servicemembers.


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Partly concealed by smoke from a smoke grenade, Army 2nd Lt. Chunjiang Liao of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command's 16th Sustainment Brigade lies in the prone firing position Sept. 13, 2013, during testing for the Expert Field Medical Badge at Grafenwöhr, Germany.
Randall Jackson/U.S. Army

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