JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —
Eight Soldiers from the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston earned the esteemed German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency after a three-day rigorous competition Nov. 3-5 in San Antonio.
The competition for the badge consisted of several activities including 100-meter swim in uniform; first aid test; nuclear, biological, and chemical protection proficiency; German physical fitness test (11X10-meter sprint; 100-meter sprint; arm flexed hang); pistol qualification; and a 12-kilometer ruck march with 33 pounds. Depending on individual performance, the Soldiers earned a gold, silver or bronze badge. Four of the USAISR Soldiers earned gold badges, three earned silver and one bronze.
“The reason I chose to compete for this badge was to challenge myself physically and experience how one of our foreign counterparts maintain and ensure their physical fitness,” said Staff Sgt. Cedric Martin, USAISR Burn Center perioperative nursing service noncommissioned officer in charge. “Earning this badge definitely produced a feeling of accomplishment. The events were not terribly difficult but they definitely weren’t easy, especially the swim.”
The USAISR Soldiers were among the 250-plus service members from the local bases and the state of Texas. Only 140 earned the decoration which is awarded to and worn by German soldiers of all ranks of the Bundeswehr, the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. In the United States military, the German badge is one of the few foreign awards approved for wear on the uniform, and is one of the most sought after.
The competition was sponsored by U.S. Army North with two soldiers (a master sergeant and sergeant major) from the German Army. There were also 15 American Soldiers from local units in San Antonio who served as proctors. Sgt. 1st Class Dustyn Rose, the noncommissioned officer in charge of ocular trauma at the USAISR was among the proctors at the competition. Rose earned the gold badge in April, “to test myself against the physical fitness performance standards of the German Army and to see if I could get gold.”
“Competing for the badge was pretty fun. Every competitor out there had a very positive attitude which in return created a positive atmosphere throughout the competition,” Martin added. “All in all the experience was very rewarding and since I earned the silver badge I definitely plan on going back next year to challenge the gold badge. It's not very often that we get to compete for a foreign award so I challenge every service member to go out and compete for the badge, especially when it's conveniently offered in the area.”