Fort Riley, Kansas



Two ‘Iron Rangers’ place in ‘Best Medic’ competition

By Chad L. Simon | 1ST INFANTRY DIVISION PUBLIC AFFAIRS | September 29, 2017

     The 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley held a “Best Medic” competition throughout the post Sept. 19-20 with the top two finishers being recognized by Maj. Gen. Joseph M. Martin, 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley commanding general, Sept. 21 at the division’s headquarters building.

     Sgt. Daniel Martin was the overall winner of the competition while Sgt. Brett Reynolds finished second. Both medics are assigned to 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div. The “Iron Rangers” medics will now train together daily before heading to the Army Best Medic Competition at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, in late October, according to Sgt. 1st Class Noel Hunter, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Inf. Div., medical operations noncommissioned officer.

     The medics were tested in more than just their medical skills and knowledge. They also had to complete a day and night land navigation course, 12-mile foot march, combat water survival training, stress shoot and qualification with M-4 carbine rifles and a trauma lane with opposition forces. They also complete a written test and a clinical skills competition.

      Due to the many responsibilities and work environments for medics in the Army, some Soldiers learned new skills during the competition.

     “They did sutures yesterday and both of them had never done sutures before,” Hunter said. “They learned it and became proficient in about an hour.”

     Some of the most realistic and hardest training to simulate in a garrison environment is the trauma lane, Hunter said. Acting as a quick reaction force, the medics had to evaluate and treat a simulation of a severely wounded Soldier after encountering an opposition force at the Medical Simulation Training Center. After stabilizing the injured the Soldier, the medic and an untrained combat life saver transported the casualty through a movement course.

     “The medics are very stressed in that event,” Hunter said. “It is very physical. They have to drag or carry the (180-pound) casualty. They are also very tired. It really simulates that combat environment.”

      The replica casualties used are advanced pieces of medical equipment.

     “The computerized mannequins they have out there, they give it a different aspect,” Sgt. Martin said. “There is actual (liquid) blood rather than just the person overseeing the training telling you. You get to actually see it and feel the pulse. It makes a big difference.”

     In addition to being recognized as the best medics in the “Big Red One” and testing their physical limits during the two-day competition, the Soldiers also received training that will make them better medics for future deployments.

     “Medics are one of those (military occupational specialties) that we do have specialized skills,” Hunter said. “Oftentimes we get tasked with doing other jobs so medics sometimes only get to use their skills when we have to save somebody’s life.

     “An event like this for medics is like going and shooting your weapon. You get to go and practice. The more you practice the better you are at it. Your hands just do what they are supposed to do.”

      Martin and Reynolds are on a specific training plan to get them ready for the next level of competition.

     “We will have them on a weekly training schedule,” Hunter said. “We will have it laid out so they will train in medevac, they will do more trauma lanes and they will go back out to the range so they really hone their marksmanship skills.

     “Anything we can possibly think of to add to their training, we will come up with. They will be with each other every single day. They will get to know each other and use that knowledge to work together to become a better team and more effective.”

     Now that he is recognized as one of the best medics in the division, Reynolds is ready to test his skills in San Antonio.

     “I am really excited for this opportunity,” Reynolds said. “It is what I have wanted to do for a while now in the Army and just being able to take part in it, win and go represent 1st Inf. Div. in San Antonio is amazing.”