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A group of 24 Soldiers received a foreign honor last week, as they were presented with the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge.
The Soldiers, from the Warrior Training Center and Maneuver Center of Excellence Headquarters and Headquarters Company, earned the badges after completing tests that were conducted March 24-25.
Sgt. Maj. Stephan Engel, the German army liaison to the Maneuver Center of Excellence, said the badge is a decoration of the Bundeswehr, the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany and is one of the oldest German badges and is one of the few foreign badges approved for U.S. Soldiers to wear. He said the badge is important largely because of the diplomatic ties it represents.
"A lot of the senior Soldiers have been stationed in Germany before, so we have a very good relationship because they know my army and they know my country," Engel said. It's good to work with each other, and nowadays after 12 years of conflict, our armies have never been closer.
"With the younger Soldiers, it's a different story. They only know Afghanistan and Iraq, and with the downsizing of the U.S. footprint in Europe, it's not likely that we'll have the same exchange level. It's a great chance to reach out to the younger Soldiers and show them how our army is trained and tested."
In order to receive the badge, a Soldier must have been in service for more than four months and not under any disciplinary investigation.
Soldiers must also be current in their Mission Oriented Protective Posture test and have current medical first responder training.
Soldiers must pass tests designed to assess military disciplines, including a swim in full uniform, a marksmanship test and a road march with a 15-kilogram pack that can range from six to nine kilometers, depending on whether a Soldier is seeking a gold, silver or bronze badge. Soldiers must also pass a German PT test that includes 11 10-meter sprints, a timed chin-up hang and a 1,000-meter run. In total, 13 gold, 10 silver and one bronze badge were awarded.