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Fort Riley Soldiers earn Expert Field Medical Badge

By Chad L. Simon | 1ST INF. DIV. PUBLIC AFFAIRS | November 03, 2017

      A dozen medical field Soldiers were awarded the Expert Field Medical Badge Oct. 26 at Fort Riley’s Barlow Theater after completing the grueling six-day competition.

     More than 75 candidates arrived at Fort Riley from throughout the world on Oct. 15 to start a week of standardization training. From Oct. 21 to 26, the candidates attempted to pass several events ranging from day and night land navigation to accessing, treating and evacuating a wounded Soldier in a hostile environment.

     Soldiers attempting to earn the coveted badge ranged from privates and noncommissioned officers to officers.

     “To me, it is really important to show my junior Soldiers that I still know what I am doing,” said Sgt. 1st Class Noel Hunter, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Infantry Division. “I still own my task, I can still stay on top, but I am also willing to put myself out there to learn new things and challenge myself.”

      Although Hunter was not able to earn her EFMB this time, she said she volunteered to take the course to improve herself and take part in the EFMB tradition. This was her first attempt.

    “It is not a required task,” Hunter said. “It is a ‘volunteer, I want to do it.’ It is more tradition and historical value more so than it is a requirement.”

     Hunter said being exposed to such exercise is crucial to a Soldier in or working with the Medical Department Activity.

     “This is one of the more realistic trainings that we do get as a medic. This does put us in those situations that we will be in when we are in a tactical environment. We are tired, we have limited food rations and we are living in harsher conditions than if we went on a normal field exercise.”

     Sgt. Shawn Volckmann, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Inf. Div., earned his EFMB during the competition, his fifth attempt. He was also recognized for having the highest score on the written test.

     “When I fail at something, I want to go back and achieve it,” Volckmann said. “I believe in failing because we are humans and we fail at things. We aren’t perfect, but I had a hunger to come back and get it. I hate failing, I hate it. I had to keep coming out and going for it.”