Three officer candidates from the Show-Me Gold program at Missouri Southern State University received awards during the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge event held March 8-9 at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Sophomore Joshua Turner and freshman Brandon Walker, both criminal justice majors, were awarded gold medals during the event. Daniel Hudson, a freshman drafting and design major, received a silver medal.
The German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency is a decoration of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany. It is one of the foreign awards approved for wear on the uniform by the U.S. Army.
The proficiency competition is overseen by a German sergeant major. It begins with a basic fit test, which includes an 11- by 10-meter sprint, a 1,000-meter sprint and a chin-up event.
“How well you do in those events determines if you’re going to participate in the rest of the events for gold, silver or bronze,” said Capt. Amanda Self, who coordinates the Missouri National Guard leadership program at Missouri Southern.
Candidates then have to swim 100 meters in uniform, complete first aid and chemical mask tests and a 9 mm pistol qualification. Participants then compete in a ruck march event, carrying a ruck sack that weighs at least 33 pounds.
“It was fun,” said Turner. “It brought back the feel of a track meet. A lot of preparation went into getting ourselves ready for the event. The swimming event was one of the tougher events we had to prepare for. I’m not a regular swimmer, so getting in the pool and getting my technique down was (a lot of work).”
Five students from Missouri Southern competed in the event, and Self said that officer candidates will be competing in another German Armed Forces proficiency event in April.
“I’m really proud of them,” she said. “I’m glad we have the opportunity to show the university that we have such stellar candidates in this program. They’re definitely taking it by storm.”
The Show-Me Gold program gives participants the opportunity for professional development and to become commissioned officers in the Missouri Army National Guard. The program consists of classroom instruction, leadership laboratories and physical conditioning. Students are enrolled in academic programs at Missouri Southern, but also take military science courses offered through the National Guard.