German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge pushes soldiers to their limit

5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
Story by Sgt. James Bunn

Date: 12.03.2013
Posted: 12.06.2013 16:18
News ID: 117862
German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge pushes soldiers to their limit

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.<br /> <br /> The badge is one of only a few foreign awards U.S. service members can earn and wear on their uniform. <br /> <br /> “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.”<br /> <br /> 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. <br /> <br /> Depending on their scores in each event, soldiers could earn a bronze, silver or gold badge.<br /> <br /> 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. <br /> <br /> 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. <br /> <br /> 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. <br /> <br /> Although the distances varied, the requirements remained the same, complete the march within designated time.<br /> <br /> 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.<br /> <br /> 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. <br /> <br /> At the end of the event, Conde earned the bronze badge, but, said she plans on participate again in June for the gold badge.<br /> <br /> Conde said, “(In the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge testing) you’re not competing against anybody else, you're competing against yourself.”