The Army Expert Field Medical Badge: An Overview

They are often overlooked when speaking of the Army, or any of America’s military service, but if we were without medics in the field, many more lives would have been lost, and the ravages of war would be much worse. In today’s post, we are going to take a look at a prestigious award that Army medics can earn. This award is called the Army Expert Field Medical Badge. I will provide a brief overview of this award, and how Army medics can earn the right to wear it.


In World War II, the Combat Medical Badge was given to medics who risked their own lives to save the lives of Soldiers who had been injured. The United States Army realized that highly trained medics are very much needed and they decided they needed an award to recognize medics who go above and beyond even if not in combat. In 1965, the United States Army developed, and instituted the Expert Field Medical Badge(EFMB). This award is given to combat medics who have not seen battle, but have passed all the grueling tests to be prepared if war confronts them.

Who is eligible?

The course and testing for the Expert Field Medical Badge can be taken by any enlisted Soldier with an Army medical MOS attached to AMEDD, or a special forces soldier with a medical MOS. Others who qualify are air ambulance personnel and also Soldiers from allied forces who have medical job listings.

To take the test, requirements state the soldier must be able to pass the APFT, be weapons qualified, and also have CPR certification.

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The test

If anyone tells you taking the tests to attain the Expert Field Medical Badge is easy, you have the right to call them on it. The tests and qualifying for the EFMB is everything but easy. It is estimated that only 17% of the Soldiers who take the grueling test pass it. The current requirements and procedures a medic must pass to where the coveted EFMB are:

  • Pass the APFT with no less than 60 points in each event, and an 180 point composite score.

  • Pass the M16 or M4 weapons test.

  • And, be able to pass a 60 question written exam with at least 75% correct.

The Tasks

  • Perform a Tactical Combat Casualty Care(TCCC) assessment.

  • Use a tourniquet, hemostats and dressing to control bleeding.

  • Install and IV with a saline lock.

  • Treat hypothermia.

  • Install a nasopharyngeal airway.

  • Treat a chest wound.

  • Treat an open stomach wound.

  • and, treat a head injury.

  • Immobilize a fractured limb.

  • Treat eye injuries.

  • Evacuate an injured Soldier using a SKED litter.

  • Evacuate an injured Soldier using carries with either 1 or 2 people.

  • Remove a casualty from a vehicle.

  • Create a helicopter landing area.

  • Load casualties onto nonstandard vehicles.

  • Load casualties onto a helicopter.

  • Self decontamination.

  • Self protection using proper mask.

  • Plus, self aid from nerve chemicals.

  • Weapon malfunction correction.

  • Direct, and indirect fire movement.

  • Traversing obstacles.

  • The assembly and operation of Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System(SINCGARS)

  • Transmit a MEDEVAC request.

  • Submission of an Explosive Hazard Spot Report.

  • Much more!

What to expect

In most cases, the testing and qualifications for the Expert Field Medical Badge begins with a 4-7 day period of training. The entrants are shown the standard procedures for everything they will be tested on. After this period is completed, the Soldiers are handed a written test that they have 90 minuted to finish.

If you fail the written test, you will be given one more chance after all field tests are completed. This is when you will be put through land navigation tests both day and night, obstacle tests, and all the other tests that were mentioned above. If an instructor says you did something wrong, and you feel you did it correctly, you do have the opportunity to appeal their assessment.

These tests are grueling. Artillery simulators and smoke grenades are going off all around you as you have to decide the best action to take in the test you are in. It is challenging both physically and mentally. The percentage of Soldiers who fail these tests is high. At the end of all these tests comes the added 12 mile road march. Not only are you tested for your medic capabilities, but also your capabilities as a true Soldier.

As I stated earlier, if you did not pass the written test at the start, this is when you will have the opportunity to retake the written test. Hopefully you learned where you made mistakes and can pass the test at this point. Will you be a part of the small percentage of medics who can proud fully wear the Expert Field Medical Badge?

Final thoughts

Combat medics deserve high recognition. They risk their own lives to save ours. The next time you see a Soldier wearing a medic badge, give them a big thank you. When you see one wearing the EFMB or CMB, give them a double round of thank yous. They deserve it.

Have you earned the EFMB? If so, we would like to hear your story. Please comment in the section below and tell readers just how difficult this test is. Thank you for your service. It is because of you and others like you that many who would have died still live.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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1 thought on “The Army Expert Field Medical Badge: An Overview”

  1. Name is Beyra, SGT
    Took and passed EFMB during 3 yr deployment to Germany. I should mention that I
    had 2 yrs premed as a civilian. None of the test was easy and at the time, results of the written test wasn’t known until one reached the 6th
    mile of the 12 mile 3 hr limit forced march. What I found most difficult was the night compass course and the full dress road march.. The night was hot and so humid that the compass were fogging on the inside making me question its accuracy. I ended up jogging through the course a 2nd time to confirm my results.
    2 soldiers suffered eye impairments from tree branches and washed out.
    Our battalion aid station trained for the 12 mile march 3 times in the past 6 months @ 45-65F (winter) and I figured I’d breeze by, I was so wrong.
    Our march occurred in and around vineyards and we were informed that to make the 3 hrs and pass, one had to jog the flats, force march uphill and run downhill. They were not kidding. I nearly passed out 2x, my socks disintegrated along with the kevlar helmet’s webbing. 12 of us qualified out of 180.
    I’d like to thank the SF guys supervising for given me a second wind after informing me that I had passed everything else. That march was truly mind over matter.

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