ROTC, Major Stone

Maj. Andy Stone of the Ohio Army National Guard weighs his son before carrying him during the march

Photo courtesy of: Army ROTC

Brent and Robert Arnholter

University of Akron Army ROTC cadet Brent Arnholter and his father, Robert Arnholter

Photo courtesy of: Army ROTC

ROTC cadets

Cadets and military personnel participating in the road march

Photo courtesy of: Army ROTC

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Bobcat Battalion hosts German Proficiency Badge competition

Army and Air Force ROTC cadets earn 57 gold badges

Ohio University's Bobcat Battalion hosted a German Proficiency Badge competition last weekend, offering cadets and military personnel a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

The German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency is a decoration of the Bundeswehr, the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany, but can be awarded to allied soldiers who pass the rigorous test standards.

Fifty of the 59 Ohio University Army ROTC participants earned the gold badge. Seven of the eight competing Air Force ROTC participants earned a gold badge. Overall, 111 of the 130 participants were awarded gold badges. These medals will grant cadets a higher position on the National Order of Merit List, which ranks all of America's cadets who are ready to commission.

"It's really exciting because it's a nationally recognized award and will put us one step ahead of the game when trying to get into competitive military branches," said Kyle Likens, a freshman cadet in the Bobcat Battalion. "I was excited to be able to compete as a freshman while other schools only brought their upperclassman, especially since the University doesn't host this every year."

The badge is one of the few approved foreign awards that can be permanently worn on a soldier's dress uniform. Soldiers of all ranks are eligible to receive it, but in order to be valid a German soldier must be present during the competition. That requirement was met by the attendance of Sergeant Major Matthias Lueck, who is stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

"Most soldiers go their entire lives without the opportunity to even see this competition, let alone a chance to compete for it," said Bobcat Battalion Captain Gabe Carr. "It's a very prestigious award and highly sought after to achieve."

The competition started last Thursday and was held until late Saturday. Gold, silver and bronze medals were issued for swimming, sprinting, running, jumping, shot put, stone throw and pistol events. Participants also had to take a first aid proficiency test and complete a 3.8 – 7.5 mile road march (depending on which medal they were competing for) while carrying a minimum of 33 pounds.

Military personnel and ROTC cadets from Ohio State University, University of Akron, and University of Dayton competed. They were joined by soldiers from the Ohio Army National Guard in the weekend-long competition.

"One man actually carried his infant son during the road march as his weight requirements," said Ohio University Sgt. 1st Class Robert Arnholter. "I also competed with my son, who is a cadet from the University of Akron. We finished the 7.5 mile road march together and we both won gold badges."

Jim Kovell, a senior in the Bobcat Battalion, was in charge of planning the event and will be honored for his efforts with the Army Achievement Medal.

"One of the biggest challenges was with time management," Kovell said. "The weekend was a huge success, but I still had to go back and take an exam for a graduate-level class that following Monday."

The Bobcat Battalion is the only one in America to exceed Army ROTC assessment scores for 10 consecutive years at the Leader Development Assessment Course. In 2010, it ranked first in physical fitness, land navigation, cadets ranked in top 5 percent, and cadets receiving the RECONDO recognition.