NAPLES, Italy--Soldiers from Allied Forces South Battalion teamed up with German Army troops for two hard-fought days to compete for the German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency Nov. 21 at NATO's Joint Force Command, Naples.
The GAFB is a highly sought-after foreign qualification badge that can be worn on the U.S. Army Service Uniform.
Competition for the GAFB consisted of 6 events ranging from marksmanship to physical fitness and even swimming. The intensity and variety of events is designed to test the Soldiers' mental toughness and physical abilities. Based on their performance in each event, Soldiers who qualified for the badge earned either a bronze, silver or gold GAFB, (see medal scoring criteria below).
On the first day of the competition, the GAFB challenged the Soldiers muscular endurance and stamina, beginning with eleven ten-meter shuttle sprints, followed by a chin-up test or flexed-arm hang, a 1000-meter run, and marksmanship range.
While each individual event was tough in its own right, the combination of them together made it a real challenge, according to 1st Lt. Emerald Padgett, B Company, AFSOUTH Bn. a native of Dallas, Georgia.
"The most difficult part of doing the events back to back on the first day was conducting two running events in one day," said Padget. "I consider myself a runner but my legs felt very heavy during the 1000 meter run."
Participant Sgt. Brandon Lee a native of Pell City Alabama, also concluded that it was the combination of multiple demanding feats that forced participants to dig deep and give it their all.
"The hardest part had to be the underestimated amount of fatigue my legs were in," he said. "I have always been solid at rucking, but I have never done it after an intense swim, which is definitely a game changer."
Bronze medal standards: 11 shuttle runs in 49-60 seconds, flexed arm hang for 5-44 seconds, 1,000 meter run in 4:41 to 6:30 minutes, and march 6 km in 60 minutes.
Silver medal standards: 11 shuttle runs in 43-48 seconds, flexed arm hang for 45-64 seconds, 1,000 meter run in 4:46 4:40 minutes, and march 9 km in 90 minutes.
Gold medal standards: 11 shuttle runs in less than 43 seconds, flexed arm hang for more than 64 seconds, 1,000 meter run in less than 2:50 minutes, and march 12 km in 120 minutes.
Multinational events like this are a regular part of operations at the AFSOUTH battalion, and throughout the U.S. Army NATO Brigade, which supports roughly 1,000 U.S. Soldiers assigned to 44 NATO organizations in 20 different countries.