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Panther Medics Win Best Medic Competition

FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- The U.S. Army issued the following news release:

The strobe lights flashed furiously in a darkened room filled with the shouts of casualties. One by one, they were treated and cared for by medics working their way across the room. Every patient bore multiple injuries, both internal and external. Every move these medics made as they treated patient after patient in a variety of environments was carefully observed and annotated.

Thirteen medics from across the 82nd Airborne Division competed in the division's Best Medic Competition held Sept. 5-10. The grueling competition challenged these Paratroopers to push themselves hard, and to test their training against their peers. The best among them will move on to compete at the U.S. Army's Best Medic Competition at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

The winner, Spc. Daniel Holmes of 5th Squadron, 73rd Airborne Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team stressed the importance of training and leadership, and spending time with and serving combat Paratroopers on the line.

"To prepare for this competition I have spent a fair amount of time on the line serving my troop," Holmes said.

He continued, "I also have a lot of good NCOs. They've given me every opportunity to go out and do competitions and train on the line."

At the end of the competition, the medics and representatives from their units assembled at the 82nd Airborne Division Headquarters. All four of the top-placing competitors who will be participating in Army Best Medic Competition represented 3rd BCT.

"The Best Medic Competition is designed to pick the best medic here in division," said Master Sgt. Jonas Woodruff, the senior noncommissioned officer in charge of the competition. "Here at the division we created a system to send the best possible medics from the 82nd Airborne Division to Fort Sam Houston to compete for the entire Army."

The competition tested these medics in a variety of ways, from stress shoots, to an obstacle course, to running in the humid pine forests of Fort Bragg's extensive training grounds to move patients over and under obstacles and across bodies of water. Many of the events lasted late into evening, and others began in the dead of night.

Every move was scrutinized, and every success and failure was recorded. Only the best medics from the division will be acceptable to send on to the next level, so each event must be closely scrutinized, said Woodruff.

"I structured the competition here to mirror the competition and the scoring scale down at Fort Sam Houston," Woodruff explained. "Last year we placed third for the overall Army, this year we're going to achieve first!"

Sgt. Craig Miller, a medic with 5-73rd CAV, and one of the top-placing medics who will compete at the Army level in November described his extensive training for Expert Field Medical Badge prior to the competition as if it were a casual day on the job. "We've been training up for EFMB, so it's along the same lines. We're constantly evaluating our trauma assessments."

The constant training paid off, said Miller. He was not alone in expressing the importance of rigorous training provided every day by noncommissioned officers.

"Our senior NCOs are pretty good about giving us sensory overload," said Spc. Jonathon Snelling, a top-placing competitor from 5-73rd CAV. "They put us in a dark room with a lot of noises and a lot going on; so it makes it easier to go through the different lanes."

"It was an adventure," Snelling added.

Holmes expressed gratitude to his platoon sergeant, Sgt. 1st Class Clark Hitchcock for allowing him every chance to train in a variety of environments, and attend multiple schools and competitions. "He's provided the opportunity to go out and get hands-on experience," he said.

Maintaining the selfless spirit of the Army medic, Holmes said his greatest achievement is serving and helping others. He said his greatest accomplishment is not awards or badges, but allowing Soldiers on the line to do their jobs and not have to worry about getting hurt, because their medic is experienced, skilled, and will be there when he's needed. "That knowledge brings me a lot of satisfaction," he said.

All four of the top-placing medics were from 3rd BCT and will be competing at the Army level this year. They are Spc. Daniel Holmes of 5th Squadron, 73rd Airborne Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Spc. Jonathon Snelling, 5-73 CAV, 3rd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div., Sgt. Jason Boroff, 1-505 PIR, 3rd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. and Sgt. Craig Miller, 5-73 CAV, 3rd BCT, 82nd Abn. Div. For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at htsyndication@hindustantimes.com

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