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Schriever Airmen prepare for foreign badge competition

Military members run a 1,000 meter sprint during a German Air Force Proficiency Badge competition Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. 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. (U.S. Air Force photo/Christopher DeWitt)

Military members run a 1,000 meter sprint during a German Air Force Proficiency Badge competition Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado. 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. (U.S. Air Force photo/Christopher DeWitt)

Senior Airman Brian Parra, 2nd Space Operations Squadron satellite systems operator, swims the 100 meter swim to see if he qualifies for the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge at the Iron Horse Sports and Field Center at Fort Carson June 30, 2015. The event required participants to complete the swim in less than four minutes while wearing their military uniform and a physical training uniform underneath. After the swim was completed, they had to successfully remove their outer uniform without touching the sides of the pool to pass the event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

Senior Airman Brian Parra, 2nd Space Operations Squadron satellite systems operator, swims the 100 meter swim to see if he qualifies for the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge at the Iron Horse Sports and Field Center at Fort Carson June 30, 2015. The event required participants to complete the swim in less than four minutes while wearing their military uniform and a physical training uniform underneath. After the swim was completed, they had to successfully remove their outer uniform without touching the sides of the pool to pass the event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Rose Gudex)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Nearly 20 Schriever Airmen will put themselves through a grueling physical test as they attempt to earn the prestigious German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge at Fort Carson, Colorado, Sept. 27-29.

“(The test) is not something that comes around very often, and very few Airmen have heard about it, let alone have the opportunity to participate,” said 2nd Lt. Ikenna Olelewe, 4th Space Operations Squadron. “It’s not very often someone may come across this in their careers.”

Olelewe heard about the event and organized a group of 16 Schriever Airmen to participate. He found 16 others who wanted to take the challenge with him.

“I thought it was pretty interesting so I decided to give it a shot,” he said. “It was nice to pass along and let other folks know this was (available).”

The GAFPB competition was established in the 1970s to recognize and reward German armed forces soldiers 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.

“The opportunity to earn this foreign badge, it’s a unique event,” Olelewe said.

According to the German Army Liaison staff, "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.”

Those attempting to earn the GAFPB will earn scores based on their performance in the following events: 11x10-meter sprint, chin-up, 1,000-meter run, 100-meter swim in full uniform, first aid test, Mission Oriented Protective Posture tasks/evaluation, pistol qualification and ruck march.

“All the events present their own challenges,” Olelewe said. “For me personally, I would say the swimming (will be most difficult) because you’re swimming in uniform.”

Based on their scores, participants will earn a grade of fair, satisfactory, good or very good, which will determine what badge they earn, if at all. Those receiving a very good earn gold, good earns silver, satisfactory earns bronze and fair does not earn a badge.

Olelewe said he would be honored to earn the badge because of what the badge represents.

“You completed this challenge that very few people have the opportunity to encounter,” he said.

Because the event is a joint venture with Ft. Carson, Olelewe said the event also gives the Schriever Airmen an opportunity to help put to rest a certain stigma.

“There’s this stigma with the Air Force that perhaps we’re the laziest among all the branches; there’s a reason we’re called the ‘Chair Force,’” he chuckled. “But we’re the most technical. Our job requires us to focus our efforts elsewhere and certainly we want to prove to the other branches, particularly the Army in this case, that stigma doesn’t apply to us.

“This is a matter of shutting down all the nonsense,” Olelewe continued. “If we can have a couple Airmen outdo the Army guys, outperform them, I think we’ll be taking home bragging rights.”
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