5th Quartermaster Company conducts airborne mission despite cold, snow

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RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Soldiers from the 5th Quartermaster Company, 21st Special Troops Battalion, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, step off a bus to board an Air Force C-130J Super Hercules cargo plane here, Feb. 10. 5th QM conducted a jump with the drop zone near Marnheim, Germany. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Amanda Rigdon)

GERMANY — Army Sgt. 1st Class Herschel Gillins, the acting first sergeant of the 5th Quartermaster Company, 21st Special Troops Battalion, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, signals a soldier to jump out of an Air Force C-130 cargo plane above Marnheim, Germany. The 5th QM conducted a routine airborne operation Feb. 10 despite the severe weather conditions. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Amanda Rigdon)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Army Sgt. 1st Class Herschel Gillins, the acting first sergeant of the 5th Quartermaster Company, 21st Special Troops Battalion, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, inspects the equipment of Pfc. Levi Carleton, a parachute rigger with 5th QM Co. here, Feb. 10. The 5th QM Co. conducted a routine jump that day despite the cold weather conditions and snow accumulation. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Amanda Rigdon)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures set the stage for the soldiers of the 5th Quartermaster Company, 21st Special Troops Battalion, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, as they prepared for a full-scale airborne operation outside Marnheim, Germany.

Under the protection of the parachute rigger's shed on Rhine Ordnance Barracks Feb. 10, the soldiers rehearsed every detail of the airborne operation step by step before repeating the process - this time fully exposed to the freezing temperatures, snow and ice of one of Germany's most severe winters in several years.

Using a mock cargo plane and several parachute landing fall platforms as training props, the soldiers reviewed actions on the aircraft, parachute malfunctions and how to deploy their reserve parachutes, parachute landing falls, and pre-jump procedures. Following the rehearsals, the airborne riggers from the 5th QM Co. loaded two buses and headed to Ramstein Air Base to board the aircraft.

Upon arrival at Ramstein the soldiers began donning their equipment and making last-minute preparations for the jump. Sgt. 1st Class Herschel Gillins, the acting first sergeant for the 5th QM Co., personally checked each Soldier's parachute and gear to insure everything was securely fastened and functioning properly. While this was a routine jump for most of the unit, there were a few new paratroopers who were very anxious to perform their first airborne operation following jump school.

"I really hope that this jump isn't cancelled," said Pfc. Anthony Stann, a parachute rigger with the 5th QM. "We are going to the French Airborne School soon, and I hear that you need at least one jump with the unit in order to attend."

After every soldier's gear was checked, the riggers from the 5th QM Co. boarded an Air Force C-130J Super Hercules cargo plane on the flight line at Ramstein. The C-130 would transport the paratroopers to a pre-designated drop zone outside Marnheim.

Despite the cold weather and snow accumulation that morning, all the 5th QM Co. soldiers, to include the newly-assigned paratroopers, completed the airborne operation successfully. Following the jump, all the equipment and personnel were accounted for at the drop zone before the unit returned to Kaiserslautern.

"I was really excited to jump today," said Pvt. Dakota Browning, a parachute rigger with the 5th QM. "The snow makes it a lot colder."

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