So, back to the marksmanship event. While technically only for enlisted soldiers, officers can be awarded the badge but can't wear it on their uniform. It can be awarded in Bronze, Silver, or Gold and foreign troops (like me) can earn it. The other Americans and I spent the day rotating between the three firing positions: pistol, light weapon (rifle), and heavy weapon (machine gun). It was kind of confusing, but I kept close to my German friend to make sure I didn't miss a section. And it was good that I did, as there were actually two parts to the machine gun portion.
The secret with keeping control while firing is to put your body weight into it, bracing the bipod from wobbling while you shoot. Being 200+ lbs, I was a pretty solid shock absorber. The target looked like a three-foot by four-foot drawing out of a child's coloring book, with a little house, some trees, and a field. Hidden in various areas of the drawing were the silhouettes of the bad guys, which were almost impossible to see from the firing line. We had to shoot something like four rounds into each of three targets to "get gold." What was nice was that we were allowed to look at the entire picture up close before shooting, so I picked my targets based on how easily I could triangulate them...I think that one was at the base of the tree, another at the left edge of the house, etc. It was my first time touching one of these weapons and I totally rocked it. The instructor was floored by how tight my patterns were...I may have missed my calling.
To earn the award, one must successfully shoot the German service rifle (G36), pistol (P8) and machine gun (MG3). The awarded grade is determined by the lowest weapon qualification.(e.g. if you qualify all gold and one bronze, you are awarded the bronze.) Because of how much attention I paid to the rules to ensure that I'd met all the requirements, I was the only American there that day to earn the Schützenschnur in Gold.
|Oooo, shiny hardware!|