By 1st Lt. Grant Taulbee, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment CommandDecember 7, 2012
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Soldiers from nine different subordinate commands under U.S. Army-Pacific earned the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge after completing a series of athletic and military events, here, recently.
Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines of all ranks are allowed to earn the badge, which is a decoration of the Bundeswehr, the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany.
This contest was the third time the test has been given in Hawaii.
"There were a few minor hiccups, but overall it was good," said Master Sgt. Cornelious Kenan, noncommissioned officer in charge, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, USARPAC, and NCOIC for the event.
"We haven't had as many folks disqualified as last time," Kenan added. "Most of them are making it through."
The testing began well before sunrise Nov. 5 with a 200-meter swim, followed by track and field events that included a sprint, distance run, bench press and high jump or long jump.
"The hardest part, I honestly think, was the swim," said Staff Sgt. Peter Pena, combat engineer, 34th Sapper Company, 65th Engineer Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command. "But I made it in time; it was no problem."
Soldiers also said the distance run was more difficult than they had anticipated, because it was on a grass track, and by the time they got to the run, the sun was up and temperatures were high.
The first day of testing concluded with a first aid test for all Soldiers not currently certified on the Combat Lifesavers Course.
The second day of testing began with a 9-millimeter qualification on KR8A range, here. For most participants, the pistol qualification was the limiting factor on which medal they could earn. The gold medal required five out of five rounds on target; silver and bronze required four out of five and three out of five, respectively.
After scoring gold on the pistol range, Sgt. Elida Parra, human resources specialist, Headquarters and Headquarters Command, 130th Eng. Bde., was determined to score gold on the final event, the road march.
"I'm running the whole way; I don't care if I get dehydrated or anything," she said.
The standard for earning a gold on the road march is completing 7.5 miles in two hours, wearing full Army combat uniform and carrying a 33-pound rucksack.
Out of 191 Soldiers who attempted to earn the badge, a total of 121 were awarded, with 74 gold, 31 silver and 16 bronze.