JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-CAMP BULLIS, Texas —
Enduring five days of challenging combat simulations that tested their physical and intellectual resolve, the team of Staff Sgt. Cory Glasgow and Staff Sgt. Branden Mettura, 1st Armored Division, won the 2018 Command Sergeant Major Jack L. Clark Jr. Army Best Medic Competition at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis Sept. 16-20.
Glasgow and Mettura beat out 26 other two-Soldier teams in the annual competition that tests the readiness of Army medics in a continuous, realistic simulated combat operational environment.
The Army Best Medic Competition pits teams against each other from Army units across the world and is hosted by the U.S. Army Medical Command and conducted by the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, both headquartered at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.
The competition is open to all Army active-duty, Reserve and National Guard medical members who have earned the Expert Field Medical Badge or the Combat Medical Badge. Competitions are held at local command and regional levels to determine the 27 two-member teams that will make it to the Army Best Medic contest.
Altogether, a total of 54 Army medics participated in the Army Best Medic Competition.
For winning the competition, Glasgow and Mettura were presented the Combat Medic Statue and Meritorious Service Medal, and several other gifts and monetary awards.
“I feel super pumped, super excited,” Glasgow said. “This was my fourth time competing.”
“We’re really excited to represent the 1st AD (Armored Division),” Mettura said. “We’re bringing this home to them.”
The 1st Armored Division, a tank division, is located at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Gragg, command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Medical Command, said the competition tests medics on their medical and tactical competency skills and their physical prowess, pushing competitors to raise their level of performance.
“Competition is the lifeblood of the Army,” Gragg said. “That’s what we are about. We are an organization built on winning, and we have to encourage a culture of winning and exceeding and excelling the standard. So this (Army Best Medic Competition) right here just reinforces that need to be the best.”
Compared to previous competitions, Gragg said the 2018 competition puts an additional emphasis on challenging medics intellectually as well as being able to endure the physical rigors of the combat simulations.
Gragg said the skills the medics utilize and learn in the Army Best Medic Competition helps improve overall medical readiness and care for servicemembers on the front lines.
“It highlights the professionalism and excellence that we have in the Army Medical Department,” he said. “It also reinforces the confidence in the rest of the Army because as they see the level of professionalism and excellence that these individuals embody, they will understand the medical professionals that are in the fox hole with them are extremely qualified and that they will take care of them to their utmost ability. If they (medics) happen to do their job in the theater of operations, their (service members) chances of coming back home are very, very good.”
The team of Glasgow and Mettura totaled 1,725.5 points in the competition, 22 points ahead of the second-place team of Capt. Michael Broussard and Staff Sgt. Sean Collins of the 75th Ranger Regiment from Fort Benning, Georgia (1,703.5 points). Finishing in third place was the team of Sgt. 1st Class David Nagle and Sgt. 1st Class Adam Church of the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, Health Readiness Center of Excellence (1,699 points).
Sgt. Ian Thompson of the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas, said the competition was both mentally and physically demanding, as he was told beforehand.
“They promised it would be hard, it would be mentally taxing … and they were right,” Thompson said. “It was tough. For instance, tactical land navigation with 60 pounds worth of gear and then rolled right into a rough march. It was a lot. Mentally, it was a blow because you think you’re going to have some time to rest and then it’s right back to it. It really has been go, go, go since day one.
“That’s just part of the game, but part of the reason why it was good to be here, and we had fun doing it,” Thompson added.
Thompson said the benefit of being in the competition was learning about and utilizing the practices for prolonged field care. Prolonged field care is the treatment and care for a patient for a full day on the front lines.
Staff Sgt. Jeremy Leach of the 1st Infantry Division, and Thompson’s team partner, said he and Thompson got through the grueling competition by encouraging each other.
“He would see me struggling, I would see him struggling and you would just boost each other up, like ‘Hey, we got this,’” Leach said. “If you can’t find it internally, you got your partner to help you through.”
Leach said he decided to compete in the Army Best Medic Competition because it was a way for him to challenge himself.
“I just came out here to test myself and see what I got,” he said. “It’s something every medic should do at least once.”
Established in 1984, today's Army Best Medic Competition was originally known as the Expert Field Medical Badge Challenge. In 2003, the competition was designated as the Command Sergeant Major Jack L. Clark Jr., Army Best Medic Competition in honor of the 13th MEDCOM Command Sergeant Major.