EDINBURGH, Ind. (Army News Service, February 26, 2007) - During the span of a Soldier's military career, there are few opportunities to earn approved foreign military decorations. Indiana University ROTC in conjunction with the German Armed Forces Liaison Office at Fort Knox, Ky., gave Soldiers and Cadets a chance to earn the German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency.

Over 150 Soldiers and Cadets came out to participate in events held on Feb. 17-18 at both Indiana University and Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center.

"This is an outstanding opportunity for the Cadets to meet Cadets from other programs throughout Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, and even up as far as Michigan," said Lt. Col. Stewart Fearon, the Professor of Military Science at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. "All of these Soldiers get the opportunity to compete for the badge, which they can actually carry with them on active duty to wear on their uniforms."

The award was established in the 1970s to reward and recognize Soldiers in the German Armed Forces who possessed superior physical abilities.

"Everything was very nice and organized, especially this event that had over 150 Soldiers participating in a variety of events in a short time," said Sgt. Maj. Karl-Heinz Grenzebach, a member of the German Army Liaison Staff at Fort Knox. "I'm very glad to be here, and this is a great event for me."

This rigorous multi-day competition challenged Soldiers and Cadets to demonstrate proficiency in a wide range of physical activities at Indiana University and Camp Atterbury. Events included a 200-meter swim, 100, 400, or 1000-meter sprint, high jump, long jump, shot-put, and 5000-meter run. Soldier skills, including an 18-mile road march, pistol qualification, and first aid proficiency test, were also required elements for this badge. Soldiers and Cadets had to meet the standards in each event based on their age and gender to qualify. In addition to the above requirements, a commander's evaluation of the Soldiers and Cadets was included in their overall review.

"It was just a good accomplishment and morale booster," said Sgt. Andrew Burns of Camp Atterbury. "I didn't get any promotion points for it or anything like that, but it was something that I just wanted to do. We had less than a week to train for it and we did pretty well."

After completing all requirements in each event, Soldiers and Cadets who qualified were given a certificate and badge personally presented by Sgt. Maj Grenzebach
to validate their achievement.