IN THE NEWS
More than 50 Soldiers competed for the honor of wearing the German Armed Forces Prociency Badge also known as the Das Abzeichen für Leistungen im Truppendienst. (U.S. Army Africa photos by Maj. Kimbia Rey)
April 18, 2014 - By Maj. Kimbia Rey, U.S. Army Africa Public Affairs
VICENZA, Italy – U.S. Army Africa hosted its first-ever German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge competition, March 24-26. Fifty-five Soldiers competed in the competition with 35 earning the honor to wear Das Abzeichen für Leistungen im Truppendienst.
U.S. Soldiers call it the GAFPB and it consists of a basic fitness test that includes a 100 meter swim; first aid knowledge, pistol marksmanship, a road march and a commander´s evaluation of performance.
Similar to Olympic medals, successful contestants for the GAFPB earn bronze, silver and gold badges with respective minimum point scorers of 200, 300 and 400.
Hosting the GAFPB competition was the brainchild of Sgt. 1st Class Aric Brackeen, USARAF operations sergeant. Brackeen pitched the idea to Lt. Col. Robert A. Brogan, the battalion commander of USARAF’s Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion.
Brackeen competed in the competition six times since 2001 and earned the Gold badge each time.
After initial planning, a group of USARAF, 173rd Airborne and Vicenza U.S. Army Garrison Soldiers were set to compete for the GAFPB.
“Hopefully, this will become an annual event,” Brackeen said. “This event builds esprit de corps between USARAF, 173rd, and Garrison and the German Armed Forces.”
According to Brackeen, hosting a GAFPB event requires supervision by a German soldier. Bundeswehr Sgt. Maj. Ronny Raemsch was tapped as the German liaison for the USARAF competition. Raemsch traveled from Headquarters U.S. Army Europe in Wiesbaden, Germany to officiate the USAARAF GAFPB.
He said Bundeswehr troops aren’t required to compete for the badge but it is a valued award.
“It’s not mandatory for all German soldiers to compete in this event, but our soldiers are aware of the program and many take part in it,” Raemsch said.
He believes the event is special for U.S. Soldiers.