Staff Sgt. Jennifer Bunn
2nd Brigade Combat Team PAO NCOIC
When opportunity knocks for Spc. Vincent Maritim, he answers the door.
Maritim, a health care specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, recently was given an opportunity to go to Fort Polk, La., to qualify for the Expert Field Medical Badge.
He was one of eight medics and the only 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldier to earn the badge.
“I always want to go for success, so any kind of training and opportunity I get, I go for it,” Maritim said.
With less than three years in the Army, Maritim has also earned himself a Ranger tab and Air Assault Badge.
One hundred and seven health care specialists from across the Army attended the EFMB qualification at Fort Polk with expectations of qualifying for the badge.
Thirty-six medical personnel from the 10th Mountain Division, including 11 from Fort Drum and 25 from 4th Brigade Combat Team, Fort Polk, participated in the event from Sept. 23 through Oct. 3.
The 115th Combat Support Hospital hosted the event with previous EFMB holders from different posts who performed as evaluators and cadre.
They held a standardization week for the Soldiers so everyone knew what the performance standards for the hands-on testing would be.
“It is a very difficult course, and when you look at the statistics, less than 10 percent pass,” said 2nd Lt. Samantha Henke, medical platoon leader for HHB, 2-15 FA.
“Only eight out of 107 graduated,” she continued. “Maritim was the only one from the 10th Mountain Division to earn the badge this time.
“Spc. Maritim has always shown the determination and motivation to want to do it,” Henke added.
To earn the EFMB badge, medical personnel must go through a grueling week that tests their ability to perform in a physically and mentally challenging setting on a wide range of critical medical and Soldier skills.
The test week begins with a written test; then the candidates perform tasks in situational exercise lanes called combat training lanes. These hands-on tasks include emergency medical treatments; evacuation of casualties; litter obstacle course; communication skills; day and night land navigation; M-4 and M-9 disassemble and assemble; and perform medical duties in a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear sit- uation.
If candidates receive a “go” in all areas of evaluation, they move on to the 12-mile ruck march that they must complete within three hours.
Maritim completed all tasks to standard and made it through the ruck march with a sprained ankle he sustained during the land navigation course.
“I am really proud of getting the badge, especially since I am the only one wearing it in my medical section, so it’s such an accomplishment,” Maritim said. “And I want to pass on (my knowledge) to the next person who needs it – whoever is determined to move forward.”