BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — To be considered a proficient marksman, all soldiers are required to know how to operate and use their assigned weapons such as the M-16, M-4 carbine and the M-240B machine gun.
Recently several Fort Hood soldiers deployed to Afghanistan, had the opportunity to earn the prestigious German Armed Forces Badge of Marksmanship, known as the Schützenschnur at Camp Marmal on Jan. 18.
“Wrangler” soldiers with the 4th Sustainment Brigade traveled to Camp Marmal to compete in the Schützenschnur which consisted of three separate shooting events designed to test a soldiers proficiency in a variety of German military weapons and determine which qualification badge they could receive and wear on the Army Service Uniform.
Throughout the day they were introduced to the three weapons they would attempt to qualify on, the Heckler and Koch P-8 9 mm pistol, the H&K G-36 assault rifle, the challenging German MG-3 machine gun and in addition a few Belgian army weapons.
Soldiers were able to compete for three different badges, the bronze, silver and gold marksmanship badges which are awarded based on your lowest qualifying score. Meaning that in order for soldiers to earn the bronze badge they had to complete at least three events, two with the P-8 pistol and one event with the G-36 assault rifle. However, if soldiers wanted to earn a silver or gold badge they had to also fire the MG-3 machine gun and score a minimum of silver or gold with all three weapons.
German Lt. Karsten Kerkloh was the officer-in-charge of the Schützenschnur range at Camp Marmal and said he was impressed with the way U.S. soldiers competed in the event.
“The event went really well and even though we didn’t have the best weather we did have the best shooters,” Kerkloh said.
Lt. Col. Michelle K. Ervin was one of the soldiers who participated in the event. Ervin said she originally went to the event to support other soldiers competing but was encouraged by others to participate.
“It was the Wrangler team that encouraged me to give it a try,” Ervin said. “To my surprise I scored high enough to achieve the gold badge.”
Ervin was the top shooter with the G-36 assault rifle, shooting an amazing 15 out of 16 targets in various firing positions ranging from 200 meters to 50 meters.
Soldiers had to fire the G-36 unsupported while standing, kneeling and in the prone position without having any familiarization rounds to fire, and all of the Wranglers qualified for gold with the G-36.
Spc. Edgar M. Nelson was selected to participate in the event after winning the Soldier of the Month Board, and fired gold in the pistol and the rifle events. Nelson said the experience was amazing and he enjoyed working with the German soldiers.
“All of them (German soldiers) were very cooperative and were more than willing to help us with their weapons systems,” Nelson said. “I felt we were unified working together as a team to accomplish an objective, we all road out together, left together, and we all just operated really well together.”
Six Wranglers participated in the Schützenschnur with four of them earning the gold Schützenschnur badge and two earning the bronze badge.
“We had pretty good results here and with half of them shooting gold (it) is really good and the best thing is that everyone at least got the bronze,” Kerkloh said. “It’s nice working with multi-nationals and it’s great for our guys as well.”