Socorro hero wins at Army’s Best Medic competition

........................................................................................................................................................................................

Socorro’s hometown Army hero Spc. Brandon Chavez, 21, took second place with his partner, pilot Lt. Jonathan Jordan, at the Army’s Best Medic competition that took place at Camp Bullis in San Antonio, Texas.

Submitted Photo: Spc. Brandon Chavez and partner Lt. Jonathan Jordan had to go through many obstacles such as crawling and rescuing mannequins at the Army’s Best Medic competition that took place in late October.

The two came home from Korea to the United States for the Army’s Best Medic competition, which took place Oct. 26-28.

Chavez’s grandma, Lorella Chavez, attended the competition with her husband Bill Chavez and other family members. Brandon Chavez and Jordan were team No. 6 and received commendation medals for taking second place. The Meritorious Service Medal was awarded to the team that took first place, Lorella said.

The Meritorious Service Medal is the highest medal one can receive in the United States armed forces, she said. The medal shows strengths in what they learned, and participants must also be in the medic field to participate in both competitions, she said.

According to Lorella, the Army’s Best Medic competition entails physical, mental and written tests. Sixty four competitors from all over the world participated in the competition, totalling 32 teams. Lorella said the competition isn’t mandatory, but the participants must compete where they are stationed in order to qualify for the Army’s Best Medic competition. This is the second year the competition took place and will be an annual event, she said. It was a 72-hour competition and consisted of an obstacle course and a written exam.

“It was a cold and rainy competition,” Lorella said.

For the qualifying competition, held in Korea, where they are stationed, Jordan took first place and Brandon Chavez took second place, she said. Lorella’s son, Sgt. William A. Chavez, Brandon’s father, is also a medic and instructor stationed in San Antonio, Texas. Sgt. Chavez was in charge of the final event, “Buddy Run,” in which Brandon Chavez and his partner came in first place, she said.

“The guys are timed and were so exhausted,” Lorella said.

It was an intense three day medic competition with helicopters, a night obstacle, rope climbing and crawling while the smoke bombs went off, she said. Brandon Chavez has been in the Army for three years. He also had to go through a tunnel to find a soldier with a fake arm injury to save him and pull him out, she said.

“This was cool, we got to see it, we were the only family there all three days,” Lorella said. “I was emotional, and I learned a lot about what he does, how important he is. He is a medic warrior. These men do so much more than non-military men.”

The competition included very lifelike mannequins that Brandon Chavez had to deal with them, she said. South Korea conducted its Best Medic competition July 23-26 at the Warrior Base, she said. According to Chavez, they took competitors from the second Infantry Division and 65 Medical Brigade to determine the top medics on the Korean Peninsula. Chavez said in the Korean competition, Brandon Chavez and Jordan spent 96 hours in a series of events, spanning locations in the Korean Peninsula from Warrior Base to Camps Hovey and Casey.

“We are extremely proud of him, we are proud of what he has accomplished and the road the chose,” Chavez said.