Airman overcomes obstacles littered with soldiers

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jordan Castelan
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Having someone's life in your hands day after day can be a demanding experience. Taking care of a life after a 12-mile road march in less than three hours would prove stressful to anyone.

Senior Airman Robert Fulham, 86th Medical Squadron medical technician, displayed the Air Force's fighting spirit by completing the Army's Expert Field Medical Badge course.

Fulham arrived at the 17-day course in late August to discover that out of the 260 plus students he would be the sole Airman, the only representation to show-off the Air Force's capabilities.

"It was a whirlwind experience," said Fulham, a Cape Cod, Massachusetts native. "When we arrived, everyone else was already in formation. It was a sea of tan boots and I was the lone Airman."

Only 19 percent of students were able to pass the course during fiscal year 2013, failure is a concern for many when attempting to receive the EFMB.

"It's a very big deal for the Army," said Capt. Chad Eneix, 86th MDS clinical nurse. "We very often work in a joint environment and for our Airmen to go out there and successfully represent us shows we're more than capable of tackling any challenges in our way."

Many units prepare their members for the EFMB course by allowing them to take time out of their normal duty hours. However, Fulham wasn't always able to take the time to prepare.

"Fulham always came to work, attended his shift and then attended training whenever he could afterward," said Eneix. "He never complained and he was back to work the very next day after the course."

High-speed Airmen like Eneix get the job done, and those around Fulham attribute his warrior ethos to continued success.

"He's my ideal Airman," said Eneix. "He doesn't complain, always completes his mission and leads more effectively than many in his demographic."

After battling through multiple land navigation courses, comprehensive class tests, the wilderness and 15-hour days lasting long into the night, motivation can begin to falter.

"I was absolutely exhausted, but I was also incredibly excited and relieved," said Fulham. "Upon graduation I saw my chief and my commander waiting on the wings for me, knowing that I made them proud."

Fulham graduated Sept. 9 and received his EFMB which he proudly wears; now fully integrated back into his normal routine, Fulham expressed a desire for more Airmen to take on challenges.

"We need to accomplish more of a mentality that we are out there shoulder-to-shoulder in the field with our sister branches," said Fulham. "Anyone who's on the edge of challenging themselves needs to. The tools needed to succeed are supplied so reach out and accomplish it."

Triage casualties, open head injuries, inserting a nasopharyngeal airway, establishing helicopter landing points, moving under direct fire, reacting to indirect fire, and reacting to an unexploded ordinance or possible improvised explosive devices are just a few situations Fulham is prepared for when the time comes to have someone's life in his hands.