Deutsche Leistungsabzeichen: Soldiers compete for German Armed Forces badge for Military Proficiency
Sgt. Barry St. Clair,
24th Press Camp Headquarters:
U.S. Soldiers competed here last week for the German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency.
The GAFBMP is awarded to those who complete the seven events within time or distance standards. Of the 75 competitors who started Sept. 4, 63 were awarded the prestigious badge Friday in gold, silver or bronze, according to their individual performance during the week. The GAFBMP can be worn on the Army service uniform.
The seven events of the GAFBMP include a 200-meter swim, 100-meter sprint, the long jump, three-kilometer run, a pistol shooting competition and a 12-kilometer march with a 33-pound rucksack.
Some of the contestants felt that the 200-meter swim was the most difficult event. The swim was the first event and resulted in elimination from the competition if not completed within the time allowed.
Maj. Robert Wagner, the executive officer for the 402nd Field Artillery Brigade said one Soldier quickly learned a whole new skill just for this event.
“I learned to swim for this competition,” said Staff Sgt. Heather West of the brigade’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company. “It was challenging. I had to push myself.”
Those who did not complete the first 100 meters of the swim in less than two minutes were required to attempt the shot put event. Competitors completed the shot put event and the long jump in the afternoon following the swim.
The second day began with the 100-meter track event and was followed by a three-kilometer run. Most of the contestants were more familiar with running than swimming.
“The run was the easiest event,” said Melissa M. Thomas, with 2nd Logistics Support Battalion, 356th Regiment, based in Fort Carson, Colo., but is forward with her unit here at McGregor Range, N.M.
The shortest run time in the male category went to Spc. Darius Pittman of Melbourne, with E Company, 123rd Brigade Support Bn., 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division. Pittman, who said he likes to push himself, achieved the best run time at 11 minutes, 13 seconds.
The event that almost everyone enjoyed was at the Fort Bliss Rod and Gun Club where contestants shot the German HK P8 nine-millimeter pistol. Each person fired five shots at three targets.
“I really enjoyed the shooting and the running,” said Darren E. Mayes of Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 402nd Field Artillery Brigade. “It was challenging trying to keep up with the younger guys.” Mayes, at age 40, is set to retire from the Army in the spring.
The last event of the competition was a 12-kilometer ruck march, during which Soldiers each carried at least 33 pounds. First Lt. Todd Staiger, with A Troop, 2nd Squadron, 13th Cavalry Regiment, 4th BCT, 1st AD, finished the ruck march in first place with a time of 1 hour, 18 minutes.
The awards were presented by the German Air Force Air Defense Center commander, German Air Force Lt. Col. Nils Wetzel, and the unit’s senior-enlisted adviser, German Air Force Command Sgt. Maj. Bernhardt Koelzer, during a ceremony at the German Community Center here Friday afternoon.
The GAFADC hosts and grades the Olympic-style competition. Soldiers of the 402nd FA Bde. serve as facilitators for the events.
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