FORT BLISS, Texas - In the life of a Soldier, 72 hours is not
much time. But, during a punishing competition, where Soldiers are
pushed to their max, 72 hours is a lifetime.
Soldiers from around Fort Bliss, making up 11 teams, competed in the
Best Medic competition, hosted by 501st Brigade Support Battalion,
1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division during October.
Sgt. Brian Guillen and Sgt. Zane Beach, both medics with 123rd
Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division, carry
a litter during the buddy run portion of the Best Medic competition
at Fort Bliss, Oct. 15, 2014. Guillen and Beach took first place in
the competition and will compete at Fort Sam Houston.
(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kristen Duus)
“The hardest part of the competition was the exhaustion
and lack of sleep, and still having to put out 100 percent
at each physically-demanding event,” said Sgt. Brian
Guillen, a combat medic in 123rd Brigade Support Battalion,
4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division and native of Burbank,
Guillen, alongside his partner in the
competition, Sgt. Zane Beach, won first place in the
competition, edging out all of the best combat medics at
Fort Bliss who they were competing against.
The Best Medic competition comprised of nine
events, including the basics, like a written test, physical
fitness test, and a day and night land navigation course. It
also included more taxing events, such as a stress shoot, a
three-mile buddy run, a medic stakes lane, and ending in a
12-mile ruck march - in full combat gear.
the events, other Soldiers agreed that the most difficult
part was not competing, it was the sheer exhaustion from the
seemingly never-ending tasks.
“The hardest part was
the general fatigue,” said Spc. George Myers, a combat medic
in 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 1st
Armored Division and a native of Portland, Oregon. “We
haven't had a lot of sleep, we haven't had a lot of downtime
in general, so it's difficult staying motivated and making
sure fatigue doesn't set in and we don't get sloppy.”
Despite their tiredness, the Soldiers pushed through
Myers and his teammate, Sgt. James
Wilcox, also a combat medic in 1-36 IN, and a native of
Sioux Falls, South Dakota, dominated the buddy run and the
“Those were both physically demanding,”
said Wilcox. "The buddy run did stuff that we don't normally
do, but we did the best on it.”
Myers and Wilcox
completed the buddy run several minutes ahead of the next
closest team. They fared similar in the ruck march. While
Myers took first and Wilcox took third, they had the overall
fastest team time.
Guillen and his unit had just
recently returned from the National Training Center at Fort
Irwin, California, and had little notice to prepare for the
Guillen received a text from his
teammate asking if he wanted to compete in the competition,
and just days later, they had begun. Other teams, such as
Myers and Wilcox, trained for weeks preparing for it,
pushing each other through road marches and additional
The competition could not have
happened without the support of Charlie Company, 501st BSB,
1/1 AD ‘s medical company, who organized the entire event.
Capt. Aaron Roberts and 1st Sgt. David Barakat, the
company commander and first sergeant of Charlie Company,
501st BSB, started planning the event several months ago,
given only a loose format to follow, allowing them to create
many of the lanes themselves.
But, not every medic
was qualified to compete in the event.
to have either an Expert Field Medical Badge or a Combat
Medical Badge in order to be eligible for this competition,”
said Roberts. “Unfortunately, that leaves out a lot of our
high-quality medics who are physically fit, motivated, and
want to participate. But we have to have that
While each Soldier had
their own favorite stake in the competition, they all felt
one element was the most important to their success -
“My teammate and I really respect each
other,” said Wilcox. “We have been together for a while, we
deployed together, so we have a camaraderie that helped
strengthen both of us."
Guillen agreed in regards to
his team, saying that together, they pushed each other and
were there to validate their team member.
competition is over at Fort Bliss, it has not ended for
Guillen and Beach. As the winners of this level, they will
compete in the Army-wide Best Medic Competition at Fort Sam
Houston in San Antonio in the coming months.
and Beach will not only represent 4/1 AD, they will
represent all Iron Soldiers of the 1st Armored Division.
By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kristen Duus
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