For many Soldiers, the honor to earn another countries award is something they do not get the chance to achieve very often. But for a select few from Joint Base Lewis-McChord that opportunity presented itself April 30th and May 1st.

Das Abzeichen fur Leistungen im Truppendienst, or The German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency, is an award earned by German Soldiers and one that after earning it can be worn by any rank in the United States Army. Those who successfully accomplish all the tasks will qualify to wear the gold, silver or bronze award. For the soldiers of the Bundeswehr, this test is done every year, with even more events.

"In Germany we have not only the sport portion of this event, but we have also adapted a first aid test to complete as well, "said Sergeant Maj. Kay Rogge, German Liaison to the Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, Fort Huachuca, Az.

The two-day competition was a first for JBLM; the event was hosted by Madigan Army Medical Center. Seventy-four Soldiers began the nine-task process that included a 200-meter swim, 3,000-meter run, shot-put, long jump or high jump, and had the choice to run either a 100-meter sprint or 1,000 meter dash. Those who successfully made it through the first day returned for a nine-millimeter qualifying range and then the final event, a 7.5-mile ruck march, in under two hours for those trying to earn the gold badge; 5.6 miles in an hour, thirty minutes for the silver badge and 3.8 miles in 1 hour for the bronze badge.

"We had 90 people commit to getting this badge. Of that 90, 74 actually showed up to compete and gave of their time and their weekend. This is dedication at a personal level to go after something that is not required of their day to day business," said Col. Dallas Homas, Madigan Health Care System commander. "My hat is off to everyone of you for being Hoooah. The fact is that you went after this and for that I'm proud of you."

But for many of those who go after this award, the opportunity to wear the coveted medal means more then just having something shiny on their uniform. It is about doing something that allows them to stand out from other Soldiers.

"It feels amazing to earn this badge, because I know not every Soldier in the Army has done this. It is a very small group. It is just a great accomplishment to me," said Pfc. Cameron Aschenbrenner, HHC medical laboratory technician. "My leadership was extremely supportive of me. They pushed me and made sure that I was at every training event. It was easy with all the motivation I received."

For this being the first time ever at JBLM, organizing this opportunity has proven to be a challenge and an excellent opportunity.

"I think the event was an absolute success. We had some of the last minute issues that you get with something this large, but I think we handled it well and organized," said Capt. Tristan Manning, Headquarters and Headquarters Company commander. "I hope that this event becomes a annual thing because it is such a great opportunity to have Sergeant Major Rogge from Fort Huachuca be able to come up here and certify and officiate this event."

Of the 74 Soldiers who began the event only 36 managed to complete all the tasks required to wear the eagle head medallion.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16