Approximately 130 U.S. Soldiers from more than 10 units at Tower and Rose Barracks participated in a German shooting event July 25 in order to achieve the German shooting badge, called the "Schützenschnur."

Close to 40 of the same U.S. Soldiers also participated in various physical fitness events July 30-31 to achieve the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge, the "Leistungsabzeichen."

To qualify for the German shooting badge, the Soldiers had to shoot with the G36 rifle and the P8 pistol.

"I personally liked the shooting a lot. It gave us really good insight on how the weapons work and what other NATO countries we work together with use," said Sgt. Christopher Unger, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment.

The Schützenschnur is awarded in three grades: gold, silver and bronze. To qualify for gold, you need to shoot at least two different weapons and successfully complete both exercises in gold. If you shoot a silver with the pistol and a gold with the rifle, you only qualify for silver overall.

The difference between the German badge and the U.S. marksmanship qualification badges is that there is no individual badge for each weapon.

The U.S. Soldiers who also participated in the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge test had an even harder job conducting events in temperatures up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

The proficiency badge is also awarded in three grades: gold, silver and bronze. To qualify for gold, the following is needed:
- Successfully complete a shooting exercise in gold with at least one weapon.
- Complete a 100-meter swim in uniform under 4 minutes. After the 100 meters, the uniform is to be taken off while staying in the water.
- Complete a Basic Fitness Test consisting of three events: Sprint, hang on a bar in a chin-up position and run 1000 meters. The grading for the Basic Fitness Test is from 1.00 to 6.00. To qualify for gold, it is necessary to stay under 1.50.
- Complete a 12 kilometer (7.5 mile) march with a 15-kilogram (33-pound) rucksack in under 120 minutes.
- Complete a CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear) training.
- Complete first aid/casualty care training.

"Taking the swimming test, the fitness test and the ruck march with just the heat were really individual exhausting tests throughout the day, but they led to an absolute worthwhile experience for the training. The variety overall with multiple components is definitely tougher than doing the Army Physical Training Test," said Staff Sgt. Casey Dunn, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment.

"By far the swim and hanging on the bar at the Basic Fitness Test were the hardest," added Spc. Jared Mardon, 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment. "Being able to swim normally, but then putting on a uniform makes it way harder to just even do a front stroke."

The shooting event was organized by the German Army Representatives' Office Grafenwoehr.

All events for the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge were voluntarily organized by the German reserve soldiers Maj. Christian Matok, Master Sgt. Gerald Morgenstern, Sgt. 1st Class André Potzler and active soldier Sgt. 1st Class Mario Gayer.