New York Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Jeff Dorvee, a combat veteran and a Queensbury, N.Y., resident, has been awarded the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge following competition at Camp Smith Training Site August 2nd and 3rd.
Dorvee, who recently finished in third place in a national competition for top Army National Guard non-commissioned officer, is a full-time Guard Soldier assigned to the 1427th Transportation Company in Queensbury.
Dorvee was the first place winner in the New York Army National Guard Best Warrior competition and also finished first in the northeastern states regional Army National Guard Best Warrior contest.
German army Lt. Col. Rolf Metz awarded the badge to Dorvee and Sgt. Sean Massimo after they completed a series of rigorous physical and tactical challenges.
The New York Army National Guard's 53rd Troop Command is conducting the competition, and held a series of events at Camp Smith from Aug. 2-3, according to Maj. John McBride, one of the competition organizers.
Metz, a German army liaison officer to the United States Military Academy at West Point, said McBride initiated competition planning by contacting him last September. Metz trained and certified the competition raters, and certifies final scores, he added.
McBride described the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge as a clear goal for the Soldiers which shows their peers how well-rounded they are.
"I think it's a genuine morale-building event for Soldiers," said McBride, an assistant operations officer for 53rd Troop Command. "You really have to be a well-rounded Soldier to qualify for the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge."
The badge was established in 1971 and is like the U.S. Army's Expert Infantry Badge, said Metz. The competition consists of tests every German Soldier must pass annually, he added.
"(The badge) is given out to German Soldiers who do well on those standardized tests," Metz said. Even so, German army units also hold competitions for the badge to build morale and esprit de corps.
The tests include the German Army Basic Fitness Test, a timed 100-meter swim, a 12-kilometer road march with a 33-pound ruck sack, a first-aid test and a pistol qualification. Some events are scored, and others are go or no-go.
The German Army Basic Fitness Test is made up of 11 timed 10-meter sprints, a timed kilometer run, and a chin-up test.
"You get in the chin-up position, and remain there as long as possible, with your chin above the bar," McBride explained.
The minimum times for the fitness test vary, based on competitors' age and gender, he added.
Between each sprint of the fitness test, competitors must lay down, clasp their hands behind their backs and then jump up, Metz said.
"It's combination of sprints and agility," he explained.
Competitors are required to complete the 100-meter swim within four minutes, then remove their Army Camouflage Uniform blouse and trousers while treading water, McBride said. The swim test seems to be the steepest challenge for competitors in the German army, Metz said.
"Fewer and fewer people who join the German army are able to swim," Metz said.
The German army has begun to give its Soldiers swimming lessons, he added.
In the pistol qualification, competitors must engage two targets each in the standing, kneeling and prone positions, must hit at least one target in each position, and score at least four hits. They have six seconds to engage targets in each position.
"It sounds like a lot of time but it isn't, especially if you're in the prone position," McBride said.
It isn't easy, Metz said.
"If you make a small mistake, you don't hit the target," he said. "There is not much room for error."
A native of Glens Falls, N.Y., Dorvee joined the Army in 2003 and served with several active component and New Army National Guard infantry units.
He served two tours in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, was awarded the Purple Heart, two Afghanistan Campaign Medals with campaign stars, two Army Commendation Medals and two Army Achievement Medals, among his other awards.
Dorvee and his wife Shannon have two children.