US Airmen aim for gold, build partnership

German Army Private 1st Class Dominik Lagershausen, Airborne Infantry Regiment 26, 4th Company Airborne Troop, watches U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jonathan Ebner, 86th Security Forces Squadron unit fitness program manager, as he fires a G36 assault rifle Nov. 18, 2015, at Zweibruecken, Germany. More than 20 members of the 86th SFS shot German weapons to earn the Bundeswehr (German army) marksmanship badge and build the partnership between the two nations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Damon Kasberg)

German Army Private 1st Class Dominik Lagershausen, Airborne Infantry Regiment 26, 4th Company Airborne Troop, watches U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jonathan Ebner, 86th Security Forces Squadron unit fitness program manager, as he fires a G36 assault rifle Nov. 18, 2015, at Zweibruecken, Germany. More than 20 members of the 86th SFS shot German weapons to earn the Bundeswehr (German army) marksmanship badge and build the partnership between the two nations. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Damon Kasberg)

German Army Capt. Thomas Gohritz, company commander of Airborne Infantry Regiment 26, 4th Company, shows members of the 86th Security Forces Squadron range targets Nov. 18, 2015, at Zweibruecken, Germany. More than 20 Defenders from the 86th SFS traveled to the Zweibrucken range to earn the Schutzenschnur, or Bundeswehr (German army) marksmanship badge, shooting four courses of fire with the P8 pistol, G36 assault rifle and MG3 machine gun. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Damon Kasberg)

German Army Capt. Thomas Gohritz, company commander of Airborne Infantry Regiment 26, 4th Company, shows members of the 86th Security Forces Squadron range targets Nov. 18, 2015, at Zweibruecken, Germany. More than 20 Defenders from the 86th SFS traveled to the Zweibrucken range to earn the Schutzenschnur, or Bundeswehr (German army) marksmanship badge, shooting four courses of fire with the P8 pistol, G36 assault rifle and MG3 machine gun. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Damon Kasberg)

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Lawrence J. Kirkley Jr., 86th Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent, holds ammunition for the German MG3 machine gun Nov. 18, 2015, at Zweibruecken, Germany. Members of the 86th SFS joined German soldiers firing the P8 pistol, G36 assault rifle and MG3 machine gun to earn the Bundeswehr (German army) marksmanship badge. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Damon Kasberg)

U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Lawrence J. Kirkley Jr., 86th Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent, holds ammunition for the German MG3 machine gun Nov. 18, 2015, at Zweibruecken, Germany. Members of the 86th SFS joined German soldiers firing the P8 pistol, G36 assault rifle and MG3 machine gun to earn the Bundeswehr (German army) marksmanship badge. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Damon Kasberg)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Anthony Bruner, 86th Security Forces Squadron member, aims an MG3 machine gun Nov. 18, 2015, at Zweibruecken, Germany. More than 20 members of the 86th SFS attempted to earn the Bundeswehr (German army) marksmanship badge by hitting targets with a variety of German weapons. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Damon Kasberg)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Anthony Bruner, 86th Security Forces Squadron member, aims an MG3 machine gun Nov. 18, 2015, at Zweibruecken, Germany. More than 20 members of the 86th SFS attempted to earn the Bundeswehr (German army) marksmanship badge by hitting targets with a variety of German weapons. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Damon Kasberg)

Members of the 86th Security Forces Squadron adjust targets in preparation for the next round of shooting Nov. 18, 2015, at Zweibruecken, Germany. Members of the 86th SFS shot the P8 pistol, G36 assault rifle and MG3 machine gun to earn the Bundeswehr (German army) marksmanship badge for weapons proficiency. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Damon Kasberg)

Members of the 86th Security Forces Squadron adjust targets in preparation for the next round of shooting Nov. 18, 2015, at Zweibruecken, Germany. Members of the 86th SFS shot the P8 pistol, G36 assault rifle and MG3 machine gun to earn the Bundeswehr (German army) marksmanship badge for weapons proficiency. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Damon Kasberg)

German Army Spc. Deniver Federlein, Airborne Infantry Regiment 26, 4th Company Airborne Troop, reloads ammunition for an MG3 machine gun Nov. 18, 2015, at Zweibruecken, Germany. German Soldiers hosted members of the 86th Security Forces Squadron as they attempted to earn the Bundeswehr (German army) marksmanship badge. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Damon Kasberg)

German Army Spc. Deniver Federlein, Airborne Infantry Regiment 26, 4th Company Airborne Troop, reloads ammunition for an MG3 machine gun Nov. 18, 2015, at Zweibruecken, Germany. German Soldiers hosted members of the 86th Security Forces Squadron as they attempted to earn the Bundeswehr (German army) marksmanship badge. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Damon Kasberg)

ZWEIBRUCKEN, Germany -- Working side by side with allied forces in deployed locations is as important as ever. In order to build these partnerships at home station more than 20 members of the 86th Security Forces Squadron traveled to Zweibrucken, Germany, to participate in the Bundeswehr (German army) marksmanship badge challenge Nov. 18.

The event was hosted by the German army to help promote camaraderie between the two forces.

"Since both forces work so closely together [while deployed], why not in times of peace as well?" asked German army Capt. Thomas Gohritz, company commander of Airborne Infantry Regiment 26, 4th Company. "We always train as we fight. If we train together during these times, it'll be a lot easier when we're deployed."

During the qualifications, Airmen were required to shoot targets with German weapons including the P8 pistol, G36 assault rifle and MG3 machine gun. Based on their results from each weapon, they were able to earn a gold, silver or bronze marksman badge.

"It was a good getting a chance to fire the German weapons," said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Michael Koder, 86th SFS patrolman. "Some people never have the opportunity to do that.

"Being out here also helped build rapport between the German army and U.S. Air Force," he added. "I think it's going to strengthen the bond between the two nations."

For many of the Airmen, shooting at the Zweibrucken range was their first experience meeting and talking with German soldiers.

"I've seen them walk around Ramstein, but this is my first time interacting with them," said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Brooke Coleman, 86th SFS standardization and evaluation evaluator. "It has been a great experience with the Germans. They're very helpful, knowledgeable and have the utmost professionalism out on the range. I highly encourage any Airmen if they have the opportunity to come out here to take it."

The possibility of more Airmen participating in the marksmanship challenge isn't a long shot as leaders from both armed forces have expressed their interest in continuing to build this partnership.

"We have a really big event today with so many U.S. Airmen, and I'm very happy to have them here," said Gohritz. "For my soldiers, it's a great pleasure to have this training with them. They really enjoy that because it's something different from their normal duty, and I would really like to keep this going."