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Greater New Orleans servicemenbers earn prestigious German military badge

Greater New Orleans servicemenbers earn prestigious German military badge

Story by PO1 Micah Blechner on 03/23/2019

U.S. Service men and women stationed in the greater New Orleans area earned the German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency (GAFBMP) on board Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NAS JRB) New Orleans March 23.

120 Servicemembers of the initial pool of 240 participants earned the GAFBMP and were presented their award during a ceremony at the NAS JRB Fitness Center at sunset. Appropriately, a feast of bratwurst followed.

“What a great two days,” said Lt. Col. Robert Wagner, training officer of 377th Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) and event coordinator. “All the Services were represented and all who came spent their blood, sweat and tears to really earn this badge.

The GAFBMP is one of several hundred foreign awards approved for wear on U.S. military uniforms. The GAFBMP, however, is not merely handed out to participants; it is earned through the completion of a strenuous physical and mental demonstration of proficiency in firearms and military expeditionary skills. Events include swimming, sprinting, running, chinning, shooting, chemical warfare proficiency and demonstration of combat first aid and lifesaving skills.

The two-day event took place at both the University of New Orleans Aquatic Center, where participants were required to swim 100 meters in full military uniform in under four minutes, and NAS JRB Morale, Welfare and Recreation Sports Complex. The final event was a timed 12K ruck march in which participants carried packs with at least 10 kilograms of weight.

Sgt. Andrea Pesses, of the Louisiana Army National Guard’s 205th Engineer Battalion, explained, “My whole guard unit was really looking forward to this test of what we could physically accomplish. We all thought it would be tough; yea, it was tougher than we all expected.”

Wagner said the 377th TSC plans on incorporating many of the GAFBMP skill tests into future physical fitness events including the Best Warrior competition.

The 377th TSC is assigned to the Army Service Component Command (USARNORTH), and participated in multiple annual exercises including Vibrant Response, Ardent Sentry, Vigilant Shield and Defense Coordinating Office Certification Exercises. Additionally, the command coordinates sustainment of contingency operations ranging from presidential inaugurations, State of the Union addresses, U.N. General Assembly meetings and political conventions to complex catastrophes such as hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires and man-made disasters.

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