Coalition partnerships compete for best medic title

Zach Charest and Alex Kirchner, both KBR, Inc. firemen, load a simulated patient onto an HH-60 Blackhawk during the Best Medic Competition, April 6, 2019, Erbil, Iraq. Charest and Kirchner won the competition, which tested the skills and abilities of medics, currently working in Southwest Asia. These Coalition members support Operation Inherent Resolve, working by, with, and through partner nations to defeat Daesh. (Capt. Matthew St Clair/U.S. Army)
April 22, 2019

ERBIL, Iraq – U.S. Army MEDEVAC personnel assigned to the 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, and Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, both of which are currently assigned to the 35th Combat Aviation Brigade, Missouri Army National Guard, worked together to develop and coordinate the first ever full-scale Best Medic Competition, which was held in Northern Iraq on April 6, 2019.

Competitors from across the globe from multiple organizations competed for the title. The lineup consisted of 16 teams, 32 competitors, 16 role players, and five countries who all participated in the twelve hour event.

“To have participated with American and Coalition defense forces was both an honor and a privilege,” said Alex Kirchner, KBR, Inc. fire crew chief and 1st place winner of the Best Medic Competition. “Having been in the company of these courageous individuals provided a significant level of motivation, which enabled us to put forth maximum effort in every event.”

The competition started before sunrise with the US Army Physical Fitness Test. Upon completion of the APFT there was a 6-mile timed ruck march, which employed 10 critical task lanes. The combined total points from the PT test, timed ruck march and each lane determined the contest winner.

Each team was made up of one medic and one non-medical personnel. This team partnership added the complex challenges medics face in a combat environment. The medic team members had to be patient and precise while coaching their non-medical team members through each event of the competition, much like a real life medic would do in a combat fight.

“As far as preparation, because I am not a prior service member, I had to become familiar with all the military vernacular and the way military medics provide care,” said Zachary Charest, a KBR, Inc. fireman crew chief. Charest strongly expressed the need to engage relationships among the different coalition partners to learn their way of treatment, which he admitted made their team better prepared for the competition.

Of the 16 teams, the third place recipients were U.S. Army 1st Lt. Russell Davis and U.S. Army Spc. Shannon Fletias, both assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Second place was a member from the United Kingdom Role 1 Care and U.S. Army Spc. Aurora Spitz, assigned to the 1-1 ARB. First place was taken by Zach Charest and Alex Kirchner, both from the KBR, Inc. fire department.

“This event should most definitely happen more often. It was the perfect amount of skill level tasks that weren’t so in depth that it became painful and the right amount of physical activity that we had to think through the jitters and remain focused throughout.” Said Fletias.

The event was driven by the motivation and support of the soldiers and leaders of from the 1-1 ARB. U.S. Army Lt. Col. Glenn McQuown, commander of the 1-1 ARB, closed the award ceremony by acknowledging the competitors, soldiers, and supporters who made the competition a success in a combat atmosphere.