Garcia, Flores-Godinez Named USAMRDC's Best Medics
Sgt. Juan Garcia and Staff Sgt. Rodrigo Flores-Godinez of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command's Institute of Environmental Medicine earned the title of MRDC's Best Medic Team at the 2023 Medical Readiness Command-East and U.S. Medical Research and Development Command Best Medic Competition at Fort Eisenhower, Georgia Nov. 9.
MRC-E Commanding General Brig. Gen. Lance Raney presented Flores-Godinez and Garcia with the Army Commendation Medal during a ceremony following a grueling four-day competition that tested their physical fitness, medical care skills and knowledge in a variety of austere environments.
Flores-Godinez and Garcia were among seven Soldiers from MRDC participating in the competition, which took place Nov. 5-8. They were joined by Sgt. 1st Class Daphney Jean–Felix and Sgt. Colin Perry of the Institute of Surgical Research, Staff Sgt. Andy Medina of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Staff Sgt. Andres Loor of the Institute of Chemical Defense and Staff Sgt. Chimaobi Umeh of the Institute of Infectious Diseases. Altogether, 16 squads participated in this year's event.
In his remarks during the award ceremony, MRDC Command Sgt. Maj. Kyle Brunell said that events such as the Best Medic Competition present Soldiers with opportunities to demonstrate their medical skills in scenarios outside of their medical occupational specialties.
"This week you weren't 68 Tangos or Kilos or Charlies or X-Rays," said Brunell, referring to common specialties in MRC-E and MRDC. "You were medics. You show the Army that we're not just medical Soldiers who go to war. We are medics who bring a unique capability to the battlefield that the Army needs to fight and win. It's a subtle difference, but it's a big difference."
"To watch these Soldiers perform out here this week was absolutely incredible," Brunell added.
To be eligible to participate in the Best Medic Competition, candidates must have received either the Expert Field Medical Badge or the Combat Medical Badge. In addition to casualty treatment, other competition events include land navigation, an obstacle course, written and physical fitness tests and marksmanship.
Sgt. 1st Class Gary Sawyer and Staff Sgt. Jacob Perron of the Blanchfield Army Community Hospital at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, earned the title of MRC-E's Best Medic Team.
"Not everyone gets to take home a trophy," Raney said during the award ceremony. "But let me tell you what you will take home: You can take home the pride of knowing that you represent the best of the commands out here. You can take home the respect of the individuals who sent you here. You can also take home the experience that will allow you to make our Army better."
Flores-Godinez and Garcia will represent MRDC at the 2024 Command Sgt. Maj. Jack L. Clark Jr. Best Medic Competition, featuring medic teams from across the Army, at Fort Liberty in North Carolina.