A delegation of the German Armed Forces Command, USA and Canada visited the South Carolina National Guard in Columbia from March 14-17, 2019 to support the good relations with their American partners. As in the preceding years, the visit was centered around obtaining the German Armed Forces Proficiency and Marksmanship Badges.
One highlight of the event, although also a challenge due to strong turbulence, was the flight in a CH47 helicopter of the U.S. Army, which transported the twelve German soldiers from Washington International Airport Dulles to Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, on their way to the McCrady Training Center.
Physical fitness as part of military routine
The participating soldiers from South Carolina took the German basic fitness test (BFT) and subsequently the swimming in uniform test, both of which were organized by the soldiers of the German Armed Forces Command, USA and Canada.
At the start of the final day, all participants set off on a joint 7-mile ruck march, to be completed in 120 minutes while carrying a 33-pound rucksack.
Teaching and learning – a productive exchange
The main highlight during the visit, however, was the marksmanship training carried out together with the soldiers of the South Carolina National Guard. This included German personnel being instructed on how to use the Beretta M9 pistol and the Colt M4 carbine, as well as the M249 machine gun. In return, the Guardsmen were introduced to the P8 pistol and the G36 assault rifle. A special emphasis was also placed on practical firing.
Wunderbar together – a focus on partnership
At the end of this weekend with all its new and exciting experiences, it was time for the official ceremony and the awarding of the badges, including the German “Schützenschnur” rope, to our fellow soldiers from the United States.
On the whole, the visit once again strengthened the partnership with our American allies and also helped to establish international friendships. Both the American and the German sides are already looking forward to the next edition of the event.