SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, HAWAII -- Service members from across Hawaii vied for the honor to wear a decoration of the German Armed Forces.
The competition, hosted by Regional Health Command-Pacific (RHC-P) with the assistance of the Schofield Barracks 303D Ordnance Battalion (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), took place April 30 through May 4, 2018.
The German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge (GAFPB), or as referred to in German as Abzeichen für Leistungen im Truppendienst, is a decoration of the German Armed Forces, authorized for wear by the U.S. military, and awarded to Soldiers of all ranks. The GAFPB is one of the few approved foreign awards, and according to program leads, is one of the most sought after awards to achieve.
During the three-day event, 567 Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and university of Hawaii cadets, across the Pacific region took part in the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge competition and were tested over the course of three days with a 100 meter swim while wearing the Army Combat Uniform, basic fitness test encompassing a sprint, flex arm hang (chin-up test) and a 1,000 meter run.
Competitors also had to pass a pistol qualification, which included firing an M9 in a prone position, kneeling position and standing position, as well as enduring a ruck march, carrying a 33 pound ruck sack, in order to earn gold, silver or bronze badges.
As the final tally came in, a total of 326 service members met the rigorous challenge, thus earning the badge, with a medal count of 15 bronze, 210 silver and 101 gold.
"The service members who competed for the GAFPB are a shining example of the strength of our nation," stated Sgt. Maj. Larry Reyes, acting senior enlisted advisor, RHC-P. "I am especially proud of the team of RHC-P Soldiers and support staff who put forth their very best in the competition and to host this event, as they carry on the tradition of Army excellence, representing the Army's number one priority, readiness."
The competition is also a time to partner together with German allies, who travel across the country in support of the event.
"Any time we can come shoulder to shoulder with our international partners, we not only strengthen our longstanding alliance, but enhance our Soldier skills," said Reyes. "Both of those are a win, no matter how many participants walk away with a badge."
Reyes also added that this year's competition is the largest held to date.