FORT STEWART, GA -- Fort Stewart's Non-Commissioned Officer's Academy offered Marne Soldiers a chance to compete for and earn one of the few approved foreign awards here, Oct. 8-11.

The German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge, awarded to all German Soldiers, was offered to the NCO Academy cadre, Soldiers from 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team and a ROTC cadet from Las Vegas, Nevada.

"This is a great opportunity for Soldiers here to compete for the GAFPB," said Command Sgt. Major Jerry L. Taylor, commandant of the NCO Academy. "They would normally only get this opportunity if they were stationed in Germany. It involves a series of sporting events to include first aid training, a foot march, swimming, 100m dash, 3000m run, shot-put, long-jump and high-jump."

Cadet Jeff Greer said he was glad for the opportunity to compete for the GAFPB.

"I've always known about the GAFPB," he said. "And, by luck of the draw I was online looking at Army schools when I came across this school and found out it was going on. I'd recommend anyone to come out here and try it. It deviates from what you would normally do and lets you learn where you're at from someone else's standard."

But Greer learned more than just that.

"It's great that I can come out here and get this badge, but second to that, it's been so nice to have all these NCOs that just kind of took me in. I'm getting two things out here: one, I'm getting a GAFPB, and two, I'm getting tutoring from outstanding NCOs."

"A lot of these guys have been pulling me aside and tutoring me," Greer continued. "You can tell that these NCOs take a lot of pride in what they're doing and they really care about developing future officers."

Another competitor was Sgt. 1st Class William Staun IV, senior small group leader for the NCO Academy.

"I should be getting the gold badge," he said with a smile, adding that he enjoyed the pistol shoot the most. "However, the most challenging was the foot march, which I would most definitely do again. It was a very enjoyable competition."

Sergeant Major Karl Grenzebach, German liaison for armored cavalry at Fort Knox, observed the competition.

"The Soldiers did great," he said "especially in the foot march. Normally when I run this I have Soldiers who can't walk for awhile (afterward), but these Soldiers are very fit."
Taylor shared similar sentiments.

"The NCOs that competed today were very motivated and I was happy to give them the opportunity to compete for this badge," he said. "Their spirits are high. I know there are a few blisters, but overall they're motivated and ready to move on."