By Capt Bryan Woods, 21st TSC Public AffairsSeptember 18, 2008
KASTELLAUN, Germany - U.S. Army Europe Soldiers tested their skills with several German weapon systems Sep. 10 when their German partnership unit hosted a SchAfA1/4tzenschnur on a German rifle range just outside the city of Kastellaun.
The Soldiers from the German Joint Support Command trained and certified 42 Soldiers from the Special Troops Battalion, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, and the 5th Military Police Company, Criminal Investigation Division, on the German P8 9mm pistol, the MG 3v 7.62mm machine gun, and the German service rifle (G36 / G3).
"The SchAfA1/4tzenschnur is the German weapons qualification badge which is close to our weapon certification badge," said Capt. Randy Brooks, HHC commander for 21st STB. "The training event, which is an important partnership program, provides the Soldiers the opportunity to earn a foreign award such as the German's Marksmanship Badge."
"The German hosts were very helpful, and I have learned a lot about their weapon systems and how they operate," said Pvt. 1st Class Cynthia Morgan a materiel expeditor with Support Operations, 21st TSC. "It is nice to see how other military units operate, and not just ours."
"This range was the best operated and managed range that I have been to in a very long time," said Brooks. "The weapons were very well maintained. The instructors were very well educated on the weapon systems, and they all knew English, which was a plus."
The SchAfA1/4tzenschnur is a silver colored rope with a round metal badge on a flat end near the top of the rope. The center of the badge displays the German eagle surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves, which is a symbol of the Bundeswehr, the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Germany.
"The history of the qualification badge is more than 150 years old," said Lt. Col. Michael DAfAPrr, a German liaison officer with the 21st TSC. "Even though the name has changed several times, the importance of having a weapons qualification to test the proficiency of your Soldiers weaponry skills is very important."
Out of the 42 Soldiers who competed for the badge, 17 Soldiers earned the Bronze, 17 Soldiers earned the Silver, and seven Soldiers earned the Gold SchAfA1/4tzenschnur badges, said DAfAPrr.
The 21st TSC and the German Joint Support Command has a strong partnership that dates back to 1996.
"The relationship of conducting the SchAfA1/4tzenschnur dates back to 1996," said DAfAPrr, "where there was a continuing partnership with the former German Army Support Command and the 21st Theater Army Area Command (TAACOM), which was the predecessor to the 21st Theater Support Command and 21st Theater Sustainment Command."
"It should be in every commander's training program to keep the partnership running, and if the leaders delegate their partnerships to lower levels, it is not so good," said DAfAPrr. "The leaders make the partnerships."
Both the U.S. Soldiers and the German Soldiers are looking forward to November as they begin to plan the next weapons qualification as the 21st TSC will train and certify the German Soldiers of the German Joint Command on the American pistol, rifle and grenade launcher.
"The machine gun was the best because it was hard to qualify due to the fact you had to concentrate on what you were shooting at, but the kick and power behind the weapon was fun," said Morgan. "It was definitely a great opportunity and I would like to do this again."