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Posted on April 4, 2017

Four soldiers march on grass during a foggy day.

The opportunity to earn a prestigious military badge will bring a Cal U Global Online student from Florida to the Cal U campus April 21-22.

Junior Stephen Morgan is a U.S. Army staff sergeant serving with the Jacksonville Recruiting Battalion. A sport management major, Morgan will be among 40 active-duty, reserve and National Guard members of the U.S. military from Pennsylvania and seven additional states competing to earn the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge. See their hometowns

Service members must pass a series of rigorous physical challenges and safety tests in order to earn the badge, one of the few foreign awards that they may wear on their uniforms. 

For Morgan, who served in Iraq and Germany as a UH-60 Black Hawk repairman, the chance to participate in the challenge is more than worth the long trip north.

“You have to set goals and then try to achieve them,” Morgan said. “Not a lot of people have earned this badge, so when I saw it come up in the campus announcements, I decided to jump on it.

“I ran across someone when I was taking a U.S. Army Master Fitness Trainer course, and she spoke highly of the program.

“I served in Germany for three-and-a-half years and wasn’t able to do it there. There are so few opportunities to try to earn this badge, it was a shock that it was even a possibility.”

About the testing

The physical fitness tests will take place April 21-22 at locations on the Cal U campus. The marksmanship test will be held at the Westmoreland County Community College Public Safety Training Center, near Smithton, Pa.

The scheduled events include: 

  • 11 X 10 meter sprint
  • Flexed-arm hang
  • 1,000-meter run
  • Pistol qualification
  • Nuclear, biological and chemical hazards test
  • First-aid proficiency test
  • Road march with pack (at least 33 pounds)

See the schedule and locations

A ceremony recognizing participants who complete the badge requirements will be held 2:30 p.m. April 22 at the training center near Smithton. 

The is the fifth year the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs has organized the testing.

About the badge

A decoration of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge has been available since 1972 to U.S. service members who meet rigorous proficiency standards.

All eligible members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and National Guard may compete for the award.

The badge is awarded in gold, silver or bronze, depending on the results of the pistol qualification, the first-aid test and the road march.

More information

Capt. Robert Prah, Office of Military and Veterans Affairs: 724-938-4076 or