German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge Award Ceremony
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – More than 70 American Soldiers from the 52nd Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and other Fort Campbell units earned the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge during a qualification event. Soldiers had to complete a basic fitness test, 100-meter swim in uniform, pistol qualification and 12-kilometer road march to earn the badge. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Capt. David G. Moehling) VIEW ORIGINAL
German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge Award Ceremony
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – More than 70 American Soldiers from the 52nd Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and other Fort Campbell units earned the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge during a qualification event. Soldiers had to complete a basic fitness test, 100-meter swim in uniform, pistol qualification and 12-kilometer road march to earn the badge. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Capt. David G. Moehling) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal Soldiers earned the prestigious German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge during a competition on Fort Campbell in late August.

More than 70 American Soldiers from the 52nd Ordnance Group (EOD) and other Fort Campbell units earned the badge during the qualification event.

Headquartered on Fort Campbell, the 52nd Ordnance Group (EOD) commands all U.S. Army EOD technicians east of the Mississippi River, including two battalions and 14 companies that are based on six installations.

The 52nd EOD Group is part of the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosives (CBRNE) Command, the U.S. military’s premier all hazards command.

The 20th CBRNE Command is home to 75 percent of the active-duty U.S. Army’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) specialists and Explosive Ordnance Disposal units, as well as the 1st Area Medical Laboratory, CBRNE Analytical and Remediation Activity, five weapons of mass destruction coordination teams and three nuclear disablement teams.

From 19 bases in 16 states, Soldiers and Army civilians from the 20th CBRNE Command tackle the world’s most dangerous hazards in support of joint, interagency and allied operations.

During the qualification event, Soldiers had to complete a basic fitness test, 100-meter swim in uniform, pistol qualification and 12-kilometer road march to earn the badge.

German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge competition
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – More than 70 American Soldiers from the 52nd Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and other Fort Campbell units earned the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge during a qualification event. Soldiers had to complete a basic fitness test, 100-meter swim in uniform, pistol qualification and 12-kilometer road march to earn the badge. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Capt. David G. Moehling) VIEW ORIGINAL
German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge competition
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – More than 70 American Soldiers from the 52nd Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and other Fort Campbell units earned the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge during a qualification event. Soldiers had to complete a basic fitness test, 100-meter swim in uniform, pistol qualification and 12-kilometer road march to earn the badge. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Capt. David G. Moehling) VIEW ORIGINAL

Hosted by the 52nd Ordnance Group (EOD), the event was supported by the German liaison team.

The Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Germany, also known as the Bundeswehr, awards the badge to German and allied troops who complete the qualification course.

Sgt. 1st Class Arthur F. Malchert, the future operations sergeant for the 52nd Ordnance Group (EOD), served as the lead planner for the event.

“The biggest challenge was planning down to the minute details to ensure the competition was commensurate with the level of resources and effort necessary to host a high-level competition,” said Malchert, an Iraq veteran from McLeansboro, Illinois, who has served in the U.S. Army for 20 years, including 15 years on active duty.

Malchert said it took months of planning to set up the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge competition and he had to become fluent in the regulations and standards for the competition.

“The highlight was definitely the award presentation,” said Malchert. “I was grateful to see months and months of planning come to fruition when the Soldiers were awarded for their hard work and dedication.”

German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge Award Ceremony
More than 70 American Soldiers from the 52nd Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and other Fort Campbell units earned the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge during a qualification event. Soldiers had to complete a basic fitness test, 100-meter swim in uniform, pistol qualification and 12-kilometer road march to earn the badge. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Capt. David G. Moehling) VIEW ORIGINAL

Lt. Col. Justin L. Gerron, the 52nd Ordnance Group (EOD) operations officer, said the German liaison team traveled more than 400 miles to support the event.

“The fact that the German liaison team from Fort Benning, Georgia, was willing to come to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to facilitate this event for the 52nd demonstrates that we have a good working relationship that will only strengthen with time,” said Gerron, who became an EOD officer because he wanted to safeguard Soldiers and civilians by mitigating explosive hazards.

When he was previously stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Gerron earned the German Armed Forces Parachutist Badge (Bronze) and the Royal Netherlands Army Parachute Badge.

A Kennedale, Texas, native who has deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait, Gerron also earned the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge (Gold) while he was an ROTC cadet at the University of Texas-Arlington.

“It was not only a great experience, but it was the first time I had the opportunity to interact with someone from a foreign military,” said Gerron. “The idea behind setting this event up was to try and replicate that experience and opportunity for Soldiers.”