Battalion gives Soldiers a shot at German military sports badge

Christine June, Story and photo
415th Base Support Battalion

***image1***About 120 Soldiers over the last 10 years have brought home the German Military Sports Proficiency Badge with help from the 415th Base Support Battalion.

Earning this badge requires Soldiers to complete three main events: a road march, athletic events and shooting qualifications.

“It’s tough. A lot of Soldiers think the road march is a piece of cake, but if they haven’t trained for it, they usually fail with a lot of blisters, pains and strains,” said Gerd Backhaus, the 415th BSB fitness coordinator and programmer, who has assisted Soldiers in getting this badge for 10 years.
“Even the athletic events are tough even if they do daily physical training because certain events are specific and they have to train for it, such as the shot-put or long jump, which is not too common in the American military training schedule,” said Backhaus, who has been a certified tester with the German Sports Association for almost 30 years.

Civilians can earn the German Sports Badge, equivalent to the Presidential Sports Award, by completing the athletic events requirements, said Backhaus.
Backhaus holds these three events twice a year.

“Once you start, you have a year to redo or complete the whole thing,” said Backhaus. “That’s why I hold the events twice a year so that if there are deficiencies, Soldiers have six months to practice and try again.”

The next athletic event is set for Sept. 17, meeting 7:45 a.m. at the Landstuhl swimming pool.
Soldiers must complete the road march and athletic events before moving onto the shooting qualifications, where they must qualify on one German weapon, either with the pistol, machine gun or rifle. If they qualify on two of these weapons, Backhaus said Soldiers can earn the Schützenschnur, shooting badge.

For more information, call Backhaus at 486-8713 or 06371-868713, or e-mail