RAB Airman awarded gold German Armed Forces Military Proficiency Badge

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexcia Givens
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Warrior ethos is traditionally used to describe battlefield Airmen, however, a military postal clerk assigned to the 86th Mission Support Group proved that the ethos can grow in unexpected places.

U.S. Air Force Airman Emma Gantner, 786th Force Support Squadron military postal clerk, recently earned a gold German Armed Forces Military Proficiency Badge, obtaining an overall score of A+++.

The GAFPB is a decoration of the Bundeswehr, the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Germany, and is one of few foreign military badges authorized to be worn by U.S. Air Force, Army, and Space Force members.

Gantner was one of 22 GAFPB recipients from multiple NATO countries and was the only woman to participate in this round of testing.

“It was challenging, but I got to meet many new people and experience new things,” said Gantner. “I would encourage women to participate in the future. It will be hard, but if you put your mind to it, you can do anything.”

In order to earn and wear a gold, silver or bronze German Armed Force Proficiency Badge on their service dress uniform, service members must complete five events ranging from a swim to a run and First Aid Test within the allotted time.

“The test pushes people to another level,” said German Armed Forces Senior Master Sgt. Benjamin Angel, German Support Unit training noncommissioned officer. “The GAFPB is about the total package of military skills – both mental and physical fitness.”

Testing for the GAFPB must be administered by a qualified German physical training instructor, and this is provided by the German Support Unit on Ramstein.

“Our 86th Security Forces Squadron defenders have a great relationship with the German Support Unit, and we wanted to expand that relationship,” said Chief Master Sgt. John Chacon, 86th MSG Senior Enlisted Leader. “We had Airmen from different Air Force Specialty Codes that jumped at the opportunity to participate. Our intent was to get our Airmen out of their comfort zone.”

Each event requires agility, endurance, strength, and mental toughness and tests participants overall abilities as warfighters.

"I am so proud of Airman Gantner for achieving her goals and earning the gold GAFPB, and equally proud of every graduate because of their resilience and grit to complete the physically and mentally challenging course,” said Col. Amy Glisson, 86th MSG commander. "We have built these friendships with our German allies, and these opportunities are forged through friendship. This test is just one of the ways we are in the fight together."

Gantner’s accomplishment is a true reflection of being ATLAS Strong, in line with the 86th MSG motto, Chacon explained.

“The ‘S’ in ATLAS stands for "Share our Story," Chacon said. “Part of our story is that we are more than your traditional support functions, we are warriors that will get the job done no matter what.”

Not only do participants earn a badge as a point of pride, the GAFPB also contributes toward mutual international understanding, Angel mentioned

“Participating in a GAFPB event lets our Allies know what we bring to the fight, and in turn allows us to see what they bring and become comrades-in-arms at the same time,” said Chacon. “Establishing these friendships with our Allies, not only builds lasting bonds while in Germany, but carries over throughout our careers. We are warfighters and we are training to be on the battlefield together.”

A ceremony was held Dec. 5, 2022, to present gold, silver or bronze badges to participants for their achievements during the three-day test.

Chacon encourages Ramstein military members to be ATLAS STRONG and test their warrior ethos during future course offerings.

“If anyone is interested in the GAFPB or German Marksmanship course keep an eye out this spring and get in touch with their unit Senior Enlisted Leader,” he said. “There will be more opportunities in the future.”