News: German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge pushes soldiers to their limit
Story by Sgt. James Bunn
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Soldiers from across Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., attempted to earn the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge Dec. 2-4.
The badge is one of only a few foreign awards U.S. service members can earn and wear on their uniform.
“I am extremely excited,” said Staff Sgt. Kacie Conde, a native of Oceanside, Calif., with the 62nd Medical Brigade. “I feel very fortunate that I have the opportunity to compete in something like this. I’m just hoping I do very well and that my battle buddies do well also.”
On the first day of the competition, soldiers completed a German basic fitness test, which consisted of a 100-meter swim in the Army combat uniform, a 1,000-meter run, a 110-meter shuttle run and a timed flexed arm hang. Regardless of the soldiers’ age or gender, the standards for earning a badge were the same.
Depending on their scores in each event, soldiers could earn a bronze, silver or gold badge.
On the second day, participants displayed their proficiency with a 9 mm pistol. In order to advance, soldiers were required to hit at least four out of the six shots at a 25 meter target.
The foot march with 15kg (33.5 pounds) rucksack was the last phase of testing. The march varied in distance based on the desired badge.
Soldiers trying to earn the gold badge had to complete 12 kilometers in 120 minutes, silver badge participants had 90 minutes to complete 9 km and bronze had 60 minutes to complete 6 km.
Although the distances varied, the requirements remained the same, complete the march within designated time.
Conde said whenever this kind of opportunity arises, it is important for soldiers to take advantage of it, adding that this gives people a chance to push themselves, their physical capabilities, and their knowledge.
Those who earned the badge, regardless of the type, get to wear it on their Army service uniform, and according to Staff Sgt. Ethan Perz, a Phoenix native with the 62nd Medical Brigade, earning this badge helps you stand above your peers and personalizes your uniform more.
At the end of the event, Conde earned the bronze badge, but, said she plans on participate again in June for the gold badge.
Conde said, “(In the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge testing) you’re not competing against anybody else, you're competing against yourself.”