Friday, October 16, 2009


Soldiers of the Virginia Army National Guard compete in a road march event as part of the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge Sept. 30, 2009 in Reston, Va. All 23 of the Virginia Guard participants qualified to wear the gold German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge. (Photo by Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia National Guard)

Virginia Guardsmen earn German gold

By Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia National Guard

RESTON, Va. (10/15/09) -- Virginia Army National Guard Soldiers joined hundreds of other Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines Sept. 30 here to participate in a road march in the culminating event for Das Abzeichen für Leistungen im Truppendienst or the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge for military proficiency.

The march began at 7:30 a.m., and took the 23 Virginians around Lake Audubon three times. The Soldiers marched anywhere from 10-30 kilometers based on their age group or the badge they were competing for, Gold, Silver or Bronze.

All 23 Virginia Guardsmen earned the Gold GAFPB, said Capt. Rick Harrison, the assistant operations officer for the 116th Brigade Combat Team.

With a 25-pound rucksack on their backs and combat boots on their feet, many Soldiers felt the pain of the long distance walk/run.

“It was fun. It hurt, but it was fun,” said Sgt. Wesley Hayman, a team leader in Troop C, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th BCT. “It was a great experience.”

The Soldiers of the 116th prepared for the competition beginning in June during their annual training at Fort Pickett, said Hayman. To make it to the road march, the Soldiers first had to complete several track and field events, including a 3-5 kilometer run, a shot-put toss, long or high jump and a 1,000-meter swim. The Soldiers were also required to fire with a nine-millimeter pistol at a 25-meter target.

The German Armed Forces Command of the United States and Canada sent several German Soldiers to Fort Pickett to oversee the Soldiers as they completed the prerequisite tasks to earn the badge....(read more here)

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