Vanguard Battalion demonstrates Airborne interoperability in Africa and Europe
1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Tunisian paratroopers and jumpmasters ensure the safety of every paratrooper before conducting jumps from a C-130J aircraft, Aug. 25, 2017. The 37 Tunisian paratroopers, equipped with T-10 parachutes, were aboard the aircraft along with 12 paratroope... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Vanguard Battalion demonstrates Airborne interoperability in Africa and Europe
2 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A Tunisian jumpmaster ensures the first paratrooper is ready to go seconds before from jumping from a C-130J aircraft, Aug. 25, 2017. The Tunisian paratroopers conducted combat jumps with 12 paratroopers from the 16th Special Troops Battalion as part... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Vanguard Battalion demonstrates Airborne interoperability in Africa and Europe
3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. Nicholas August performs safety duties as a jumpmaster for Romanian paratroopers while the Romanian jumpmaster checks the aircraft door to ensure the exit is safe, Aug. 24, 2017. Twelve paratroopers 16th Special Troops Battalion conducted airbor... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Vanguard Battalion demonstrates Airborne interoperability in Africa and Europe
4 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Staff Sgt. Daniel Pedregon and Sgt. Nicholas August perform safety duties during a Romanian airborne operation, Aug. 25, 2017. Twelve paratroopers of 16th Special Troops Battalion conducted airborne operations alongside more than 220 Romanian paratro... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

BIZERTE, Tunisia -- "Six minutes!" The C-130J Super Hercules' walls echo the roar from the Tunisian jumpmasters.

"Get ready!" The paratroopers all direct their attention to the American jumpmasters to the rear. "First pass personnel stand up!" The multinational Soldiers raise from the benches with mixed feelings of alarm, enthusiasm and perseverance. "Hook up!" The click of the universal static line snap hook raises the adrenaline in each paratrooper.

Airborne is the everyday lifestyle for Soldiers of the 5th Quartermaster Theater Aerial Delivery Company. Twelve confident 16th Special Troops Battalion paratroopers demonstrated the Army's commitment to Europe and Africa -- in Romania and Tunisia -- with unmatched precision while supporting airborne operations.

Building trust between multinational paratroopers is just one of the many ways the 16th Special Troops Battalion enables the alliance and strengthens partnerships. 1st Sgt. Robert Nicholson of 5th Quartermaster Theater Aerial Delivery Company led a small rigger team in Bizerte, Tunisia to support "African Lion," a joint airborne operation, Aug. 25, 2017.

Building joint and multinational airborne readiness through training is vital for successfully and safely completing real world missions that no nation can complete alone.

"This was my first time conducting safety duties since Jumpmaster School," said Sgt. Joshua Zalsman, a recent graduate from Jumpmaster School and one of the jumpmasters for the "African Lion" operation. "The Tunisians and the U.S. embassy were really helpful with the airborne operation."

Zalsman and Staff Sgt. Basilio Lashley, 5th Quartermaster Theater Aerial Delivery Company Air Operations Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge, conducted jumpmaster responsibilities for 37 Tunisian and 16 American paratroopers.

"The collaboration between the two armies was outstanding in the aircraft, on the drop zone, and in the hanger," said Lashley.

The Tunisian mission, "African Lion," enabled 5th Quartermaster Theater Aerial Delivery Company an opportunity to train junior leaders and maintain airborne proficiency within the company.

Spc. Jeran Ferguson, a 5th Quartermaster Theater Aerial Delivery Company Personnel Parachute Rigger, performed rigger checks and safekeeping for the parachutes.

"Everything ran smoothly and the equipment was properly packed," Ferguson said. "I'm humbled to be a part of a mission so big."

"African Lion" exhibited the ability of the 16th Special Troops Battalion to expeditiously support airborne operations in conjunction with the U.S. State Department, allies, partners, and other service branches.

Supporting a Mediterranean partner displays the operational and sustainment reach of U.S. Army Europe, which even extends into northern Africa.

Nearly 2,200 miles away, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Tony Owens, 5th Quartermaster Theater Aerial Delivery Company Air Drop Systems Technician, led five riggers in Bucharest, Romania providing drop zone safety and jumpmaster support until Sept. 7, 2017.

In Romania, Owens managed jumpmaster responsibilities and synchronization with the 37th Air Wing to perform several airborne operations in Atlantic Resolve-South (AR-South). Staff Sgt. Dustin Colwell, Personnel Parachute Shop Foreman, was the highest ranking leader in the aircraft, guaranteeing safety and proper procedures were followed.

"The mission provided a unique opportunity for U.S. military personnel to interact and train with our NATO counterparts," Colwell said.

Owens' team successfully supported over 220 Romanian paratroopers. The mission also provided an opportunity to train 5th Quartermaster Theater Aerial Delivery Company's jumpmasters in multifaceted circumstances. The team transitioned to night mass tactical airborne operations with the Romanian paratroopers.

Members of the 5th Quartermaster Theater Aerial Delivery Company believe performing jumpmaster duties in AR-South demonstrates to both the allies and partners that 16th Special Troops Battalion can and will support comprehensive sustainment operations across thousands of miles by means of aerial delivery.