Army Medics Test Skills at Competition in Germany

It is 6 a.m. and a light mist begins to fall on Minick Field here.

Fourteen medical professionals, representing the best of the best from their units, await the opening event, a physical fitness assessment at the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s annual Best Medic Competition, held Aug. 27-30.

Soldiers from Regional Health Command Europe, 18th Military Police Brigade and 30th Medical Brigade, among others, tested their medical skills, physical fitness and basic soldier task skills during the four-day event.

The competition was split into two teams. One team comprised of competitors from the 30th Medical Brigade and the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, and the other team comprised of competitors from Regional Health Command Europe.

Army Capt. Stona Jackson and Army Sgt. 1st Class Steven Lockwood won the competition for Regional Health Command Europe, while Army 1st Lt. Keith Ammerman and Army Sgt. Jake Weingartz, won from 30th Medical Brigade. They were recognized during the Aug. 30 closing ceremony, and will advance to the Department of the Army-level competition — the 2018 Command Sgt. Maj. Jack L. Clark Best Medic Competition at Camp Bullis, Texas, in September.

Testing Medics’ Readiness

“The concept of the competition was to test each soldier on their ability to perform tactical combat casualty care, as well as their physical and mental agility throughout the competition,” said Army 1st Lt. Brianna Brown, 30th Medical Brigade, who served as the event coordinator. “More so, it is designed to test the readiness of our medics to perform under stressful conditions and throughout daily situations they might encounter.”

The event also gives competitors the opportunity to put their skills on display in a contingency environment.

“These competitions are about making sure soldiers are prepared for anything and this competition allows these medics skills and abilities to shine,” said Army Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew Baller, senior noncommissioned officer for the 30th Medical Brigade. You never know what to expect, and at any time we must always be ready to answer our nation’s call. This type of event showcases Army medicine, and what our medics bring to the fight when called.”

The competition was broken down into four days. Events included: a physical fitness assessment, M4 rifle qualification and stress shoot, tactical combat casualty care, tailgate medicine, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive event, a mystery event, obstacle course, day and night land navigation, a written exam and a 12-mile foot march followed by the award ceremony to announce the winners.

The winners discussed their experiences and lessons learned during the competition. For Jackson, this was about redeeming himself for a disappointing performance in last year’s competition.

“It is a lot of lessons learned. Slowing down, and making sure I check all the boxes and try not to rush what I am doing,” he said.

Sharpening Skills

Weingartz offered a perspective of learning to grow through the competition.

“I think it is about finding our weaknesses and strengths, and then sharpening our skills to adapt and overcome,” Weingartz said.

All the competitors have earned the Expert Field Medic Badge, the Combat Medical Badge, or both. The purpose of the competition was to test the readiness of these soldiers and find out who are the best medics.

“Train hard, hone your skills and come with the right attitude,” Weingartz said. “That’s what it takes to win.”