A handful of Fort Lee Soldiers are the newest recipients of the Das Abzeichen für Leistungen im Truppendienst.
The 10, assigned to the 59th Ordnance Brigade, were awarded with the coveted German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency during a ceremony Nov. 5 at Ball Auditorium.
Col. Daniel P. Ellinger and Command Sgt. Maj. Ivy L. Guido, 59th Ord. Bde. commander and CSM, respectively, were present for the awards that included representatives of CASCOM’s German Liaison Office.
The ceremony capped an event starting with a ruck march Oct. 28 and concluding with a swim Nov. 4. Soldiers competed for the GAFBMP -- represented by the German eagle surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves -- at three levels: gold, silver and bronze.
To earn the badge, participants must:
- Submit an evaluation report from commanders.
- Satisfactorily complete a combat lifesaving event.
- Don a protective chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear mask and clothing.
- Pass a basic fitness test.
- Qualify with a pistol.
- Complete a ruck march of no less than 3.72 miles.
- Swim 100 meters while in military uniform, with the physical training uniform worn underneath.
The gold award eluded the Soldiers, but the silver awardees are:
- lst Lt. Grant McMains, Delta Company, 16th Ord. Battalion
- 1st Sgt. John Welcome, D Co., 16th Ord. Bn.
- Staff Sgt. Daniel Legere, Bravo Co., 73rd Ord. Bn.
- Staff Sgt. Luis Gamboa, Echo Co., 832nd Ord. Bn.
- Staff Sgt. Bryan Schmid, E Co., 16th Ord. Bn.
- Staff Sgt. Robert Lindsey, Alpha Co., 16th Ord. Bn.
- Staff Sgt. Wallace Putnam, A Co., 832nd Ord. Bn.
- Staff Sgt. Matthew Whall, A Co., 832nd Ord. Bn.
- Sgt. Kristoffer Molina, D Co., 832nd Ord. Bn.
First Lt. Justin Lee, B Co., 16th Ord. Bn., earned the bronze award.
Capt. Sylvia Scott, whose B Co., 16th Ord. Bn., hosted the event in conjunction with CASCOM’s German Liaison Office, said the GAFBMP was not something to be overlooked or taken for granted.
“It was an event that tested you physically, mentally and emotionally,” she said. “It especially challenged you mentally because it can seem easy on the surface, but once you go out there and do the work, it’s not as easy as you thought.”
The swim and M9 pistol qualification proved to be the most difficult events for Soldiers, added Scott. In addition to the 100-meter distance, the swim also required participants to disrobe in the water without touching the sides of the pool. A pre-swim test weeded out many of the would-be contenders. In contrast, it took many Soldiers all three attempts to adequately familiarize themselves with the targeting used for the weapons test.
B Co. 1st Sgt. Edgar Lopez, who helped to oversee the event, said 30 noncommissioned officers and officers attempted to earn badges. He added anyone competing for the badge says much about who they are as Soldiers and where they want to be in their careers.
“It proves they have the drive and initiative to be better,” he said. “They have the mentality they are not settling for average. They came out and did the extra things many Soldiers won’t do.”
The GAFBMP, which is worn on the right pocket flap of the Army dress uniform, should not be confused with the Schützenschnur or German Armed Forces Badge of Marksmanship many Soldiers have earned. It is secured with a roped lanyard attached to the epaulette and top button on the right side of the uniform and is considered to more decorative.