Soldiers vie for German military badge
October 20, 2011
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- Fort Leavenworth Soldiers participated in a grueling German military physical fitness test Oct. 11-14.
Forty-eight gold, two silver and five bronze medals for the German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency, called the Abzeichen für Leistungen im Truppendienst, were awarded to U.S. Soldiers who qualified.
The German Army Liaison Office to the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth sponsors the event twice each year in honor of the spirit of camaraderie between U.S. and German soldiers. Col. Werner Albl and Sgt. Maj. Matthias Lueck, German liaison officer and noncommissioned liaison to CAC, said members of the German military go through the same challenges to qualify for the badge. Germans will have a "5" or "10" or even higher to show the number of times they have completed the badge test.
There are five requirements: a good evaluation report, a first-aid test, a physical fitness test, a ruck march and a shooting competition. Leaders recommend U.S. Soldiers to ensure they're eligible.
The majority of the weeklong competition on post focuses on the physical fitness requirements. The physical tests vary by gender and age group: a 200-meter swim, long jump, 100-meter sprint, shot-put or stone-put, a 3-kilometer run, shooting a 9 mm pistol and a ruck march in Army Combat Uniforms.
In the end, it comes down to shooting -- a Soldier can successfully complete all the physical events, but if he or she misses any of the five shots, the medal is downgraded to a silver or bronze.
Maj. Rich Martin, Maj. Scott Horrigan and Maj. Jimmy Salazar, all in seminar 6 in the School of Advanced Military Studies, earned gold. The majors decided to compete for a bit of fun in between strenuous academic schedules at SAMS.
For them, it was also a chance to brush elbows with some of their favorite people -- junior enlisted Soldiers.
"It makes you really miss your unit to be around Soldiers again," Martin said. "It was good to see that many Soldiers doing that well."
The majors also said they enjoyed trying to keep up with younger Soldiers during the ruck march.
Sgt. Eric Williams, 526th Military Police Company, 40th MP Internment and Resettlement Battalion, also received the gold badge. He said the most difficult for him was sprinting. In his age group, he had to run 1.8 miles in 13 minutes.
Sgt. Joseph Billet, 291st Military Police Company, 40th, received the bronze badge. He thought the hardest part was the swimming, which is not required as part of U.S. Army physical fitness.
"Anytime you have the opportunity to better yourself and compete, that's a good thing," Billet said.
Sgt. Sara Savage, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Joint Regional Correctional Facility, said she had heard the German badge had been offered on Fort Leavenworth before and hadn't had the chance to participate until now. She also earned the gold.
"I just focused on getting the gold and didn't give up," she said.
Spc. William Sieck, also in the 526th, was born in Germany while his mother was visiting that country.
"So it's actually an honor for me to go do the German badge, and I'm a big competitor, so anytime there's a challenge I like to take on that challenge," Sieck said.