Going for the gold
By Master Sgt. Matt Hecht, 108th Wing
/ Published July 08, 2017
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Twenty-one Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Airmen from the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve arrived at the Doughboy track in the early morning darkness to be tested for the German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency, June 13.
A team of 108th Security Forces Squadron Airmen were certified by the German military to proctor the test.
“We were extremely proud and honored to be granted the opportunity to administer testing on the German Armed Forced Badge for Military Proficiency,” said Master Sgt. P.J. Coley, from the 108th Security Forces Squadron training office. “There’s loads of history with this badge, and the importance of celebrating our alliance with the German armed forces was a concept not lost on many volunteer Airmen throughout the Wing.”
To be awarded the badge, competitors needed to pass a physical fitness test, demonstrate marksmanship skills, and finish up with a timed foot march. The badge comes in three classes: Gold, Silver, and Bronze.
Facing oppressive June temperatures and humidity, the Airmen first took part in the fitness test, which included 11x10 meter sprints, a timed flex arm hang, a 1,000 meter timed run, and a 100 meter timed swim in uniform.
Airman 1st Class Travis Roemelle, with the 108th Security Forces Squadron, crossed the finish line after the 1,000 meter run, face red and out of breath.
“That was tough,” said Roemelle. “This whole competition so far has been a real challenge.”
The swim proved to be the most trying obstacle, knocking out half the Airmen.
“The swim wasn't the hardest part for me, I knew it was going to be a challenge so I joined a gym with a pool a couple months before the event so I could train,” said Airman 1st Class Thomas Bacigalupo, with the 108th Security Forces Squadron.
Bacigalupo felt that the hardest part of the day was dealing with the unexpected high temperatures, but that didn’t hold him back from earning the Gold Class Badge.
“Getting gold was an amazing feeling,” said Bacigalupo. “The best feeling was just being able to be lucky enough to be a part of the event.”
“Honoring service both domestic and abroad, establishing comradery through healthy competition, and strengthening bonds across multiple career fields are examples of excellence the 108th Wing fosters and motivates on a daily basis,” said Coley.
At the end of the event, 12 of the 21 participants earned the badge, including six Gold winners.