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NEWS | April 8, 2019

Army Reserve-PR Soldiers qualify for the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge

By Spc. Beliz Rodriguez 1st Mission Support Command

Thirty-one 1st Mission Support Command, U.S. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico, Soldiers participated on the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge (GAFPB), April 2-4, in a competition that took place at several places around the island.

The competitors were required to conquer four events to include swimming, physical test, pistol qualifications and a ruck march in order to achieve a gold, silver or bronze badge. 

The ruck march appeared to be the most challenging event, pushing the Soldiers to their limits. 

"The Soldiers tested their abilities and how far they can push themselves," said Sgt. 1st Class Alvin Medina, Noncommissioned officer of the event. 

The participants came from different units within the 1st Mission Support Command. Since not everyone knew each other, they were required to work as a team, recognizing each other's strengths and weaknesses. 

"The most important thing is not who won gold, silver or bronze, I think the most important aspect of the competition is the teamwork," added Medina.

The competition was supervised by Lt. Col. Stephan Euler and Sgt. Maj. Ronald Schiller, from the German Liaison Office at the U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command.

"Everything in this event is a team effort, and you did it as a team, you did it for the team, and you did it with the team. That is all you need. There is not more to it. You don't need any more motivation," said Schiller, during the awards ceremony, which took place at the command's headquarters, April 5. 

Brig. Gen. Dustin A. Shultz, the senior federal Army officer in the Caribbean, was also present during the awards ceremony. 

"You all are my heroes, because you did the hard thing. You choose to put on the uniform and to do it, to represent the best of our military, to represent the best of this command and to show our allies how important this is to us" said Shultz to all the competitors.

Out of all the participants there were five gold, 19 silver and eight bronze badges winners.

Sgt. Katherine Dozier, a 25 years old Soldier from Cidra, Puerto Rico, was one of the three female Soldiers that received the GAFPB. Even though Dozier was able to qualify for the bronze badge, she is already planning to do it again next year and try to qualify for the gold badge. 

"I saw the competition and thought that it wasn't that hard. But being a competition so physical you feel the fatigue after each event, and then you struggle, but you have to keep going. You have to be mentally tough. Even when you are really exhausted, you must keep going," said a proud Dozier.

By participating in this event, the Soldiers assigned to the largest federal U.S. Army command in the Caribbean, demonstrated their high level of readiness and willingness to accept new challenges.

The GAFPB is a decoration of the German Armed Forces, authorized for wear by the U.S. military, and awarded to Soldiers of all ranks. The GAFPB is one of the few approved foreign awards, and it is one of the most sought after awards to achieve.