ROTC Cadets Win Gold in Proficiency Competition


Three students in Buena Vista University’s ROTC program recently earned gold medals in German Armed Forces Proficiency badge competition at Western Illinois University, Macomb.

They are:

  • Michael Thielen, a junior business major from Storm Lake
  • Dustin Shinkle, a sophomore exercise science major from Benton
  • Josh Despard, a freshman digital media and communication major from Janesville

“They were the first cadets from BVU to ever compete in this event and they earned the highest award possible,” says Capt. Jared Gledhill, assistant professor of military science and officer in charge of the ROTC program at BVU.

The award, which is presented to German military personnel who fulfill the requirements, may also be awarded to allied soldiers. In the U.S. military, the badge is one of the few foreign service awards approved to be worn on the uniform. The ROTC cadets had to meet requirements that included track and field, and swimming events, a first aid test, shooting competition and a road march.

“I wanted to take part in the event to see how physically fit I was compared to international standards,” says Michael, who has been in the ROTC program for three years. “The three of us used each other for motivation as well as competition at the event. It was a great experience and I am happy we all received gold.”