Medics in South Korea pursue elusive field badge
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — A total of 210 medical personnel serving in South Korea will have a chance to win the coveted Expert Field Medical Badge next month.
The training and testing will take place at Warrior Base, near the Demilitarized Zone, Oct. 19-29, Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Robinson of the 2nd Infantry Division Surgeon’s Office said.
U.S. Army personnel with medical specialties and medical personnel from the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, and Korean Augmentees to the U.S. Army serving with medical units are eligible for the EFMB, said Robinson, 40, a native of Bossier City, La.
Soldiers seeking the badge, which signifies the wearer is an elite U.S. Army field medic, spend a week training. Then they face such challenges as a 100- question written exam, a 12-mile road march and several assessment tests focused on a particular skill set.
To add realism, casualty role players are splattered with fake blood while supervisors set off smoke canisters and simulated explosives.
During last year’s test, loudspeakers played the soundtrack to the opening scene from the movie “Saving Private Ryan” — where U.S. troops storm the beach at Normandy under a hail of fire — to simulate the sound of battle.
Robinson, who earned his badge in December 1990 at Fort Pope, La., said 19 servicemembers graduated from last year’s testing — a 9 percent pass rate.
“The badge teaches you to pay attention to detail and follow procedures,” he said.
Unlike soldiers competing for the Expert Infantryman’s Badge, personnel who fail any section of the EFMB testing do not get a second chance, Robinson said.
“We lost 100 the first day last year. We lost a lot of people on emergency medical training, which is combat lane one (involving soldiers treating simulated casualties on the battlefield) and we lost 50 percent on the written test,” he said.
Military personnel who want to compete should contact Robinson’s office at DSN 730-2113 for an application, which must be submitted by Sept. 30.