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    Learning to be German: Texas A&M German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge test part 1 of 5

    Learning to be German: Texas A&M German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge test part 1 of 5

    Photo By Sgt. Kathryn Summerhill | Former U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Chris LaPlant (left), a member of Delta Company of...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Kathryn Summerhill 

    211th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas – At most college campuses, at 5 a.m. students are all sleeping, if not just getting in. The common areas and quad are silent and still. At Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, 5 a.m. was the exact opposite Nov. 8, 2015. It opened with a phrase familiar to Aggies: “I’m going to trust you do it right. Follow the Aggies Code of Honor.”

    That was German Army Lt. Robert Sella, the executive officer for the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge for cadets and local military members. This unrelentingly difficult challenge was possible due to a foreign exchange program between Texas A&M and Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg, Germany. This year, two lieutenants from Germany teamed up with Cadet Maj. Ian Dorsa, the commanding officer for Rudder’s Rangers and a San Antonio native, to bring the highly challenging yet extremely desired GAFB test to Texas A&M. While the main focus for the cadets and service members participating is to complete the rigorous course, Dorsa reads between the lines.

    “It helps us build [a] relationship with the lt’s who come over,” Dorsa said. “It gives us an opportunity to cross-train and see how they run things and how we run things.”

    While Dorsa is a cadet and still learning the way of the military, Selle from knows that Dorsa’s idea of building a relationship through events like the GAFB is right on target.

    “You have to remember that in just 1945 we were fighting each other,” he explained. “Now we are pretty good friends and coalition forces fighting together. It’s a good opportunity for those guys to get in touch with the German system.”

    The first day of the test was the physical fitness test, which was three events: a 10-meter shuttle run, a flexed-arm hang and a 1000-meter run. While the GAFB isn’t combat training per se, experienced veterans participating for the first time see the value of this experience for cadets.

    “I’m happy they get that chance,” commented former Air Force Staff. Sgt. Chris LaPlant, a member of Delta Company and a Sinton, Texas, native. “It builds leaders and a lot of character as they move forward in their careers in the service.”

    The chance to earn a GAFB isn’t a given in the active military, and is even more rare in the ROTC and Corps of Cadets in universities across the nation. To LaPlantt, the chance to participate in the GAFB sends a resounding statement about Texas A&M.

    “I just think it shows that A&M and the Corps of Cadets is a worldwide organization. It proves that we do have a stamp on not just ROTCs locally, but also nationally. We rank among the best.”

    When you know your school is among the best, and you’re getting the chance to go for a GAFB, Cadet Cpl. Mason Lozano, training corporal for Outfit I1 and hailing from Lumberton, Texas, knows there is only one standard to strive for.

    “Oh, definitely gold. Got it. “

    The cadets and service members can earn a bronze, silver or gold badge depending on how well they do cumulatively throughout the week, with each event worth different points on how well they do. The next event is the swim test.



    Date Taken: 11.09.2015
    Date Posted: 11.09.2015 19:56
    Story ID: 181499
    Location: COLLEGE STATION, TX, US 
    Hometown: LUMBERTON, TX, US
    Hometown: SAN ANTONIO, TX, US
    Hometown: SINTON, TX, US

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