Schriever hosts GAF proficiency events
By Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart, 50th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 09, 2015
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Forty-eight service members assigned to military installations in Colorado Springs participated in the German Air Force Proficiency Badge competition Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado.
The GAFPB competition was established in the 1970s to recognize and reward Soldiers in the German Armed Forces who possess superior physical abilities. U.S. military members are authorized to compete and upon successful completion, wear the badge on their semi-formal/mess dress uniforms.
"Any rank may be awarded and wear the badge," said German air force Lt. Col. Thomas Hiller, German liaison officer and German Department of Foreign Languages instructor at the Academy.
"We wanted to set up the event here to make it more available for the Airmen assigned to Schriever," said 2nd Lt. Mark Skinner, Schriever AFB GAFPB competition facilitator. "This is the first time the event has been held at Schriever that I know of."
The GAFPB consists of a variety of components including: first aid and Mission Oriented Protective Posture tasks/evaluation, 11x10 meter sprint test, chin-up test, 1,000 meter run, 100 meter swim in full uniform, ruck-march and marksmanship event.
This event is a strenuous competition that tasks even the most physically fit military members.
"It's not easy," said Skinner, who participated in the event last year. "You feel like you've really done something when you're done. It's definitely an accomplishment."
However, the competition is more than just a test of strength.
"In the U.S. military, the badge is one of the few approved foreign awards, and it is one of the most sought-after awards to achieve," Hiller said. "It can be seen as a common ground that bonds and serves as a bridge to connect [service members] of different countries."
"It's an international partnership," said Skinner. "This [competition] is an initiative between German Air Forces and the U.S. military that is essentially a bond builder."
For those interested in participating in the GAFPB competition, training is key.
"If anyone is thinking about trying for the badge, get in contact with someone who has done it, or do your research and train," said Skinner. "Don't go in there cold."
The next GAFPB competition is scheduled for March 2016.