Soldiers vie for titles of best warriors in Europe Regional Medical Command

By Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Fincham, 30th Medical Command Public Affairs Office
Sept. 27, 2010

The 2011 Europe Regional Medical Command Best Warrior of the Year, Pfc. Brian Dzwoniarek of the Bavaria Medical Department Activity, directs his squad during a Military Operations on Urban Terrain challenge that was part of the ERMC Best Warrior of the Year Competition in Baumholder, Germany, Sept. 22. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Fincham)
The 2011 Europe Regional Medical Command Best Warrior of the Year, Pfc. Brian Dzwoniarek of the Bavaria Medical Department Activity, directs his squad during a Military Operations on Urban Terrain challenge that was part of the ERMC Best Warrior of the Year Competition in Baumholder, Germany, Sept. 22. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Fincham)

BAUMHOLDER, Germany -- Leaders from across the Europe Regional Medical Command sent their best and brightest Soldiers, Noncommissioned Officers and Officers to the Baumholder Training Area here to compete in the ERMC Best Warrior Competition and Expert Field Medical Competition September 20-24.

The 2011 Europe Regional Medical Command’s Best Warriors of the Year are Sgt. George Watlington, from the Heidelberg Medical Department Activity, and Pvt. 1st Class Brian Dzwoniarek, of the Bavaria Medical Department Activity. The team from 30th Medical Command – 1st Lt. Matthew McCreery, from the 67th Forward Surgical Team (Airborne), and Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Ruff of B Company, 212th Combat Support Hospital – won the EFMC competition.

The Best Warrior Competition pitted four Soldiers and four NCOs against each other to be named the top Soldier and top NCO for ERMC, while six teams of two competed for top honors in the EFMC. Both competitions were held simultaneously.

“The best warrior includes Soldiers and NCOs from all military specialties to compete in basic army warrior tasks, physical fitness, and an oral board,” explained Staff Sgt. Joseph Iglesias, the Best Warrior Competition noncommissioned officer in charge. “The EFMC is a team event consisting of more medical tasks. The competitors must be Expert Field Medical Badge or Combat Medic Badge holders.”

As the warrior competitors were challenged on their abilities to complete battle-focused warrior tasks and drills, the EFMC candidates faced a combination of warrior and medical specific evaluations including combat trauma lanes and evacuation procedures. However, all the competitors faced constant physical and mental obstacles throughout both competitions. Both began with a written test. Other events included areas such as day and night orienteering, reflexive fire, military operations in urban terrain, combatives and a fitness assessment. Both culminated with a 10-mile road march.

After running three miles in the Army Combat Uniform while carrying an M4 rifle, Sgt. Sean Kennedy from Heidelberg Medical Department Activity, quickly summed up the fitness assessment of the EFMC saying, “The run was brutal – fun – but I’d never want to do that again.”

During the competition, the ERMC Soldiers also became the first US Soldiers to use a newly completed German Obstacle Course at BTA. The competitors raced against the clock to complete the 10-obstacle, 4-kilometer course, which included everything from squeezing through tight spaces to gliding across a rope 50 feet above the ground.

While the challenges were many, Pvt. 1st Class Marvin Broadus of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, was thankful for the experience. He said he would welcome the opportunity to compete again.

“I would definitely want to come back and try again next year,” said Broadus, who has only been on active duty for less than a year. “I’ll certainly feel like I know what I’m doing a little more, but this experience has been very challenging and rewarding.”

The winners of the Best Warrior and the EFMC will now begin preparations for the upcoming competitions at the U.S. Army Medical Command. Leading up to these challenges, the winners will have the opportunity to hone skills by attending several military schools including the Small Arms Master Marksmanship Course, Close Quarters Battle Course as well as further training in Modern Army Combatives. The MEDCOM competitions are tentatively planned for early 2011.