Experts in the field, McChord medics hit training grounds

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jordan Castelan
  • 3rd Combat Camera Squadron
U.S. Air Force Reserve Citizen Airmen, and Army medics fell into ranks for the opportunity to prove themselves worthy of earning one of the most challenging badges in the military.

More than 200 Air Force and Army candidates convened at one of the base's many field training areas to see if they possessed the know-how to earn the Army Expert Field Medic Badge.

During the past seven months, eight 446th Aeromedical Staging Squadron Reservists have been training to face this test.

"It's exceptional for someone to be able to wear this badge," said Capt. Jeffrey Mermilliod, 446th ASTS executive officer and EFMB candidate. "Only about 17 percent of the people [who] attempt this test [complete it]."

The ASTS Airmen were placed within a 42-person platoon for the event testing cycle, to complete the tactical combat casualty care tasks portion first.

"Testing felt like a blur," said Staff Sgt. Kyle Bosshart, 446th ASTS technician and EFMB candidate. "We had been training for months for this opportunity. When the time finally came it was as if everything fell into sync."

Nearly half of the platoon failed to advance, and after the second day of testing only two Airmen remained.

"I was so focused on plotting my points," said Lt. Col. Erin Hutchinson, 446th ASTS nurse and EFMB candidate. "We didn't cate how wet or cold it got, didn't care if we got lost, we just wanted to move forward."

The rest of the platoon were then faced with the night land navigation test, where in practice only three out of the original 42 candidates managed to meet the requirements to advance further.

"Night land navigation was probably the most daunting task we were going to face," said Staff Sgt. Remeet Singh, 446th ASTS technician and EFMB candidate. "It was what most of us felt like was going to be the difference maker."

As the sun rose the morning of Sept. 26, the Air Force's hope for having a candidate set, thus setting the testing cycle.

"I wanted to really excel and show what skills I bring to the table," Singh said. "Even though I was cut short I feel that I came back with an exceptional amount of invaluable knowledge and experience."

Now, armed with hands on experience the 446th ASTS Reservists look toward the future with hope and promise to one day soon sew on their very own EFMB.