Story by Emily Yeh on 09/25/2019Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. As the day hit high noon, 56 Soldiers set their sights on their third task of the day, the marksmanship challenge at the 2019 Command Sgt. Maj. Jack L. Clark Jr. U.S. Army Best Medic Competition.
During the week of Sept. 23-27, the U.S. Army Medical Command is once again hosting the two-Soldier team competition, but with a twist. For the first time in its 35 year history, the ABMC is not being held on Camp Bullis, Texas. It is the first time Regional Health Command-Pacific, located on Joint Base Lewis-McChord is conducting the competition, which tests the physical and intellectual limits of the Army's best medics during a 72-hour demanding, continuous and realistic simulated operational environment.
"The Army Best Medic Competition is Army Medicine's premier showcase of medical readiness and aptitude," said Col. Joseph "Aric" Bowman, RHC-P's officer-in-charge of the competition. "To host the competition is an unprecedented honor, and our goal was to create a test of skills that ultimately inspires confidence in the warfighters we support. This event is Army Medicine at its best," Bowman added.
On the first day of competition, teams headed into the marksmanship lane after completing a fitness test and obstacle course which began early in the morning. At the firing range, competitors aimed their M4 rifles at targets after passing through a physical challenge meant to keep their heart racing, to simulate what they might feel in a combat fight.
During the physical challenge competitors were faced with 200 meters of obstacles which included flipping LMVT tires, weighing approximately 220 pounds for 100 meters, carrying two 5 gallon water jugs, weighing a about 40 pounds and finishing with a sprint to the firing line. Starting the marksmanship challenge with a physical challenge puts strain on the soldiers, simulating the stressful environment they would face as they engage an enemy down range.
The best competitors safely shoot as many targets, as accurately as possible, in the fastest time.
Staff Sgt. Robert Baulcomb, a behavioral health NCO at RHC-P's Desmond T. Doss Health Clinic, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii wanted to be part of the competition because it gave him the chance to get out of the scope of his practice. Baulcomb also saw that it was a great opportunity for his rank, as a specialist, to be a part of this major competition. He took the opportunity and jumped on it when he had the chance.
The marksmanship challenge is one of several events during the week long competition requiring competitors to be agile, adaptive leaders, who demonstrate mature judgement while testing collective team skills in areas of physical fitness, tactical marksmanship, leadership, warrior skills, land navigation and overall knowledge of medical, technical and tactical proficiencies. through a series of hands-on tasks in a simulated operational environment.
As Maj. Gen. Dennis P. LeMaster, commanding general, RHC-P, spoke to the competitors during their in-processing session, he reminded the soldiers they represent the 15,000 medics within Army Medicine worldwide. LeMaster emphasized that each of the soldiers competing has the training and fortitude to win.
The competition challenges all active duty, Army National Guard and Army Reserve medical soldiers who have earned the Combat Medical Badge or Expert Field Medical Badge.
ABOUT THE COMPETITION
The Command Sgt. Maj. Jack L. Clark Jr. Army Best Medic Competition is dedicated to the 13th Command Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army Medical Command. Clark was one of the most respected leaders and noncommissioned officers in the history of the command who understood the important role of medics in the Army and the trust Soldiers and leaders of units in combat must have in the Army Medical Department.