By Spc. Samantha ParksJune 24, 2013
PRIZREN, Kosovo - Soldiers across Multinational Battle Group-East participated in a German-hosted range event June 17 that gave all soldiers the opportunity to familiarize on German weapons in preparation for the German Armed Forces Badge for Weapons Proficiency.
The German Armed Forces Badge for Weapons Proficiency, known as the "Schutzenschnur," is a combination of the German service rifle (G36), pistol (P8) and machine gun (MG3). If the number of required hits is met, troops qualify in either bronze, silver or gold standards.
U.S. Army Spc. Joshua Lytle, a soldier with Multinational Battle Group-East, said he was surprised at the differences between German and U.S. weapons.
"Trigger squeeze is the biggest difference," Lytle said. "The MG3 tricked me a little bit. I thought I had it on safe, but I just had to pull it back more than I thought I needed to."
The German troops have hosted more than several separate qualifications. Kosovo Forces German army Command Sgt. Maj. Angelo Fuchs said each event is very important.
"Here we have the possibility to bring different nations together," Fuchs said. "So not only do Americans have the opportunity to shoot with us [the Germans], but also other nations like the Slovenians, the Swiss, and so on."
Lytle seconded Fuchs thoughts, but added a personal reason for having events like this.
"It's important because it builds relationships between different countries," Lytle said. "And to me it's important because I'm part German and to take part in something like this is just something very personal."
Fuchs added that not only are events like this enjoyable for soldiers to participate in, but it also breaks down potential barriers.
"What I figured out is, it is very challenging for some [people] to overcome the language problems and when they meet here in such locations, the language [barriers] suddenly become not that important," Fuchs said. "So they meet each other [at the range] and some day when they have to work together, and that happens very often, then they have no problem to find common bases because they know each other."