GRAFENWOEHR, Germany - About two dozen Soldiers from the 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, conducted sling load training recently completing the mission in 30 minutes, far exceeding the Army standard of 60 minutes.

"The ability to utilize sling load training at a real-world pace was a remarkable experience," said 2nd Lt. Samuel Stahlmann, a native of Ishpeming, Mich., and a platoon leader with the 1st Inland Cargo Transfer Company, 18th CSSB.

"Everything went just the way it was supposed to. Everyone did a nice job, and it was fun training being out there," said Spc. Denton Feather, a native of Thermopolis, Wyo., and a petroleum supply specialist with the 574th Quartermaster Support Company, 18th CSSB.

Making sure everything went as it should, however, required some backwards planning. Twelve sling load team Soldiers with the 1st ICTC, the 23rd Ordnance Company and the 574th QMSC went to Kaiserslautern to participate in sling load training with the 5th Quartermaster Detachment, 21st Special Troops Battalion.

There the team rigged A22 cargo bags and prepped 10 Container Delivery Systems, consisting of 55-gallon water drums for sling load operations for an upcoming high velocity airdrop.

Two C-130 cargo aircraft took part in the exercise. The first dropped 13 Air Force parachutists, and the second dropped the A22 cargo bags and the CDS systems.

During this time the 18th CSSB Soldiers recovered the equipment and simulated the sling load of the CDS systems.

"It was my first time being out there for an airdrop, and I thought it was pretty neat overall. It was motivating and fast-paced training. The Soldiers did a good job of de-rigging everything quickly, and we got all of the gear loaded up in no time. I was there as a 5-ton driver, but I also got to help in loading up the gear once it was time to go," said Pfc. Joshua Frank, a native of Atlanta, and a petroleum supply specialist with the 574th QMSC, 18th CSSB.

"While participating in the airdrop mission, my peers and I were able to implement skills that we previously exercised in theory only. Watching everything unfold and actually participating hands-on was as exciting as it was unique to our daily tasks. It helped bind together sling load theory and afforded us the opportunity to participate in exciting, hands-on training," said Stahlmann.