An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Al Udeid tests international proficiency

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Greg Erwin
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Approximately 50 military members from eight nations participated in the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge competition over the course of four days at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The event, held semi-annually, allowed coalition nations to compete in the German standards and earn one of three levels of the GAFPB – bronze, silver, or gold.

“It’s a great opportunity to get a group of like-minded people together from many other coalition nations and creates a sense of camaraderie and interoperability completing the challenges together,” said Senior Master Sgt. Klaus Gattwinkel, U.S. Air Forces Central German detachment first sergeant.

The events held included a sport baseline test held in the gym and on the track, a 100m swim in uniform at the pool, a ruck march around base with various distances for the levels of the badge, and a 20m pistol shooting competition to round out the events for the participants.

“Competing with other nations was fun and motivating,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Madyson-Grace Lavender, AFCENT Force Protection noncommissioned officer in charge of resources and technology. “It definitely sparked some competition, but at the end of the day it strengthened the camaraderie with coalition forces because you want to see everyone succeed and complete each event.”

Gattwinkel and Lavender agreed the hardest of the events was the ruck march, due to the extreme heat, high humidity and weight of the backpack. The march had three distances that correlated to the level of badge: 6 km, 9 km or 12 km.

Allowing coalition nations to compete in this test opens the door for multi-national relationships and sets the stage for additional interoperability between the coalition nations that carries over into the day-to-day work environment, added Gattwinkel.

“I would absolutely recommend anyone who wants a chance to challenge themselves to participate,” said Lavender. “Completing the event was extremely rewarding. Klaus and the rest of the German forces will tease you and make you laugh, and will also push you and encourage you the entire time. I’m super grateful to them for letting us participate.”