By Russell K. DodsonDecember 28, 2011
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (Dec. 28, 2011) -- Hawaii-based Soldiers earned the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge in qualifications held Dec. 12-13 at Schofield Barracks. It was the first time the qualification test was given in Hawaii.
The German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge, or GAFPB, is a decoration awarded by the German Army and authorized by the U.S. Army by meeting or exceeding qualification standards. To be awarded the badge a German liaison officer must be present.
"The purpose of this event is to improve overall morale. Take advantage of the unique opportunity for Soldiers to get qualified for the GAF Proficiency Badge," said Maj. Richard Dixon, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, U.S. Army Pacific.
"This is an opportunity to bring out something special from our armed forces. Younger Soldiers can see how we train. We are proud and honored to bring our badge to our allied Soldiers," said German Sgt. Maj. Frank Bergander.
The first event started out with a weigh-in before a timed 200-meter swim.
The maximum passing times for the swimming competition were based on age groups, said Master Sgt. Cornelious Kenan, GAFB project noncommissioned officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, U.S. Army Pacific.
The first day finished with competitors being able to choose from 75-meter, 100-meter, 400-meter, or 1,000-meter sprints; 2,000-meter, 3,000-meter, 5,000-meter run, or swim 1,000-meters for the distance event; and bench press or 100 meter swim.
Soldiers not certified in the Combat Lifesavers Course began day two with a medical test. That was followed by pistol qualification, and finished with a timed 33-pound rucksack march.
"This event is definitely fun and a good change of pace. It's a good way to change up PT," said Pfc. Shana Greene, 715th Military Intelligence Battalion.
GAF Proficiency Badge testing helps build partner nation relationships. U.S. Army Pacific doesn't typically interact with Germany, said Dixon.
The GAFPB was presented by Bergander to 95 Soldiers during a luncheon Dec. 14. The GAFB has three different levels; gold, silver and bronze. Soldiers were awarded 77 Gold Medals, 12 Silver and 6 Bronze medals. The qualification test had 109 Soldiers competing.
"The German Army has about eight or nine months to train for these events while these Soldiers completed all the requirements in a two-day period," said Dixon.
At the conclusion of the badge presentations, Bergander recognized the oldest Soldier, Staff Sgt. Randy Vogts from Headquarters Support Company, USARPAC.