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Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers team up to win Army's Best Medic Competition

Army Best Medic Competition winners Sgt. Manuel Sanchez, center left, and Spc. Jared Gamble, center right, of the 7th Infantry Division, celebrate with their wives, Kimberly Sanchez and Arryn Gamble, and Maj. Gen. Dennis LeMaster, the commanding general of Regional Health Command Pacific, far left, and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Gragg, the senior enlisted advisor for Army Medical Command and The Surgeon General, at the competition's award ceremony held at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., on Sept. 27.

KIRSTIN GRACE-SIMONS/U.S. ARMY

By KATHY LEIGH BERKOWITZ | The Ledger | Published: October 25, 2019

AUBURNDALE, Fla. (Tribune News Service) — Sgt. Jared D. Gamble has something to be proud of — the 30-year-old and his teammate, Sgt. Manuel Sanchez, of California, were named Medics of the Year for 2019 following the U.S. Army's Best Medic Competition.

Of the 15,000 medics in the U.S. Army, 56 competed in 28 two-soldier teams at the Command Sgt. Maj. Jack L. Clark Jr. Army Best Medic Competition held in late September at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Tacoma, Wash.

Gamble, of the 7th Infantry Division, was presented the honor on Sept. 27.

The stiff competition spanned a grueling 72 hours. Gamble's team scored a total of 93 points to take the Best Medic title.

Upon receiving the honor, Gamble said the competition was extremely difficult.

"It represents what we're supposed to be prepared for in the future, a vast amount of physical exercise, and then, after being drained both mentally and physically, to be able to perform our medical tasks with excellence," he told banquet attendees at Lewis-McChord, a group which included officials from the Pentagon, Western Division and Elite forces.

But Gamble had another honor coming, his new rank of sergeant. The promotion was anticipated after achieving Ranger certification, which he completed in April.

He was pinned with the new Sergeant tab by his wife, Arryn Crawford Gamble.

Gamble is a 2006 graduate of Auburndale High School, and earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Central Florida in 2011.

At AHS, he lettered in soccer, played defensive line on the football team and held office in the Future Business Leaders and DECA.

In March 2016, he joined the Army, and is stationed with his wife at Joint Base Lewis-McCord.

The awards were presented by Maj. Gen. Dennis LeMaster, the commanding general of Regional Health Command Pacific, and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Gragg, the senior enlisted advisor for Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) and the Surgeon General.

According to the U.S. Army website, the competition was named for Command Sgt. Maj. Jack L. Clark Jr., the 13th command sergeant major of MEDCOM as well as the command sergeant major for Madigan Army Medical Center at Fort Lewis. He earned the Expert Field Medical Badge and the Combat Medic Badge and knew the vital role medics play for all Army units.

Medics participated in ruck marches, obstacle courses, M4 range qualifications, navigation in daylight and darkness, K-9 first aid, scavenger hunts and more.

An example of the competition elements includes a water survival segment that required the competitors to drop, weapon held above their head, blindfolded from a 10-foot platform, swim the length of the pool, rescue a simulated casualty and tread water.

The "mystery event" was a medic scavenger hunt in which the competitors had to gather medical supplies from different locations, race to an end point and treat role players with simulated field injuries. A written test was administered afterward. The idea is that medics have to be ready for any scenario.

"What you do today, what our medics do across the battlefield, is engage and support our warfighters to ensure they understand that if they are injured, if they are in need, you will be there," Gragg said. "Not only will you be there, you will give them the best opportunity to come home."

kberkowitz@theledger.com

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