German Bundeswehr hosts U.S. Soldiers in marksmanship competition

May 7, 2012

By Tom Budzyna

Keeping heroes active
Staff Sgt. Barbara Balcom receives pre-fire training from German Army Sgt. Maj. Thomas Arhnold at the Standortschieβanlage Niederheid range in Geilenkirchen, Germany, May 3, 2012, where U.S. Soldiers had the opportunity to earn the German Army marksmanship badge " or "Schutzenschnur."

GEILENKIRCHEN, Germany -- U.S. and German Soldiers participated in a German Army marksmanship competition here May 3, giving the U.S. Soldiers the opportunity to earn the German Army marksmanship badge -- or "Schutzenschnur."

Gathering at the Standortschieβanlage Niederheid range in Geilenkirchen, Soldiers exchanged marksmanship advice, fostered camaraderie and fired on a live-fire range to test their skills. By day's end, they recognized the results.

Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, U.S. Army Garrison Schinnen's Spc. Ronald Chausse and Spc. John Phillips earned the Gold Schutzenschnur badge -- the highest award. Staff Sgt. Michael Elliott, Staff Sgt. Barbara Balcom, Sgt. Audra Elliott, Sgt Densier Carnes, Spc. Edward Shin, and Spc. Bradley Andrews earned the silver badge.

The first part of the Schutzenschnur requires Soldiers to fire a German Heckler & Koch G36 A1 5.56mm rifle at targets from behind a barrier at 100 meters, then from a prone position at 75 meters and finally from a standing and kneeling position at 50 and 25 meters.

In the second part, Soldiers use a German Army 9mm pistol to fire at targets in the standing position at 25 meters. The final portion is a timed event in which Soldiers have six seconds to fire at two targets the prone, kneeling, and standing positions with the pistol.

"The Schutzenschnur is a very difficult competition and Soldiers value the opportunity to earn this badge and wear it with their uniform, but they have to prove their skills," said Capt. Matthew Urban, HHD USAG Schinnen commander.

"If a Soldier hits all targets perfectly, they earn a gold Schutzenschnur badge. If they miss twice on the rifle range, or once on each pistol range, they earn a silver badge. If they miss three times on the rifle range or twice on the pistol range, they earn a bronze badge. Earning any one of these three badges is a great accomplishment," Urban said.

"This event also meant that U.S. and German Army Soldiers worked together to make it happen. Our Staff Sgt. SSG Michael Elliott received first-class support from the German Delegation's 1st Lt. Axel Rohmann, Sergeant Major Thomas Arhnold and the German Bundeswehr unit based in Aachen, Germany.

In July, USAG Schinnen's Soldiers will reciprocate and host German Army Soldiers as they compete for U.S. Army marksmanship badges.

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