ROTC cadets earn German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge

Cadet Spencer Allen, left holds the German flag with German military Command Sgt. Maj. Grommes. (Byron Hunter)

BYU ROTC cadets had the opportunity to complete a series of difficult physical and skill-based evaluations for the German Armed Forces proficiency test.

The German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge is a decoration of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. Allied soldiers may also be awarded the badge. The German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge is one of the several foreign awards U.S. Army soldiers can earn. 

A cadet must pass seven evaluations in order to receive the award and be considered proficient. The first is an evaluation report conducted by the cadet’s commanding officer, who must indicate the soldier’s physical and moral standards. Cadets must show proficiency in first aid, donning protective clothing and various fitness challenges.

BYU cadet Ashton Winslow participated in the evaluations March 10 and 11.

“The GAFPB has a lot of different testing categories including physical abilities, knowledge (for first aid and Chemical gear), shooting and swimming,” Winslow said. “The ability to pass all of these tests shows that a soldier is well rounded.”

Cadets must also pass a basic fitness test. There are minimum requirements in order to pass, but there are also gold, silver, and bronze levels within each event. A soldier needs to hold a flexed arm hang, keeping his or her chin above the bar for a minimum of five seconds in order to pass. But he or she can reach the second —or silver — level by holding the arm hang for at least 45 seconds. A gold level can be achieved by holding the arm hang for 65 seconds.

Cadets also complete a sprint test and 1000 meter run in order to pass the fitness test.

Cadet Travis Komm, left, and Cadet McCrea Malkovich show off their marksmanship skills while participating in the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge. (Byron Hunter)

Marksmanship is another aspect of the proficiency test. Soldiers use the weapon of their choice for shooting and are judged on distance, number of targets hit, position of firing and number of shots, based on which weapon is used.

“I was most nervous about the pistol shoot. I didn’t know if I could pass it,” Winslow said. “After applying all the tips from the cadre (faculty), I was able to succeed in passing the pistol shoot.”

Cadets also have to complete a 100 meter swim in military uniform to receive the award.

“I hate swimming normally and with a uniform it’s even worse, but we practice combat survival swimming anyway, so in reality it wasn’t too difficult,” said BYU cadet Matthew Geddes.

The last test cadets participated in was the Foot March. Soldiers march in military uniform and boots with a rucksack weighing 33 pounds. Soldiers must march six kilometers in 60 minutes in order to pass, and can reach silver or gold levels by marching for a longer distance in a longer amount of time.

Fifty-four cadets participated in the evaluation. Thirty-one cadets achieved the gold level and 12 cadets achieved silver.

ROTC cadets march for 12 kilometers within 120 minutes while carrying a 33-pound rucksack in order to reach the gold level for the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge. (Byron Hunter)

Geddes said the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge is one of the few awards cadets can wear on their uniforms in the military after completing the ROTC program. Geddes said participating in this evaluation promotes camaraderie between the U.S. and Germany. 

“I participated in the GAFPB because it was a cool opportunity to test myself,” Winslow said. “I knew that I would be really good at certain events and would have to practice at others, and I wanted to become better at the skills tested so I could become a more well rounded cadet and leader.”

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