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Face of Defense: Soldier Gets Airborne Wings, Leadership Lessons

By Army Capt. Sean Delpech, 811th Ordnance Company

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FORT BENNING, Ga., March 20, 2017 — "Airborne check your feet, slip, land!" shouted the black-hat instructor at Airborne School here as 100 bodies crashed to the ground with a thud while training in parachute landing falls during “Ground Week,” the first week of their training.

Army 1st Lt. Nicholas T. Krantz, commander of the Army Reserve’s 811th Ordnance Company, 321st Ordnance Battalion, 38th Regional Support Group, 310th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), headquartered in Rainelle, W. Va., left, conducts airborne operations training at Fryar Drop Zone, Fort Benning, Ga., Feb. 20, 2017. Army photo by Capt. Sean Delpech
Army 1st Lt. Nicholas T. Krantz, commander of the Army Reserve’s 811th Ordnance Company, 321st Ordnance Battalion, 38th Regional Support Group, 310th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), headquartered in Rainelle, W. Va., left, conducts airborne operations training at Fryar Drop Zone, Fort Benning, Ga., Feb. 20, 2017. Army photo by Capt. Sean Delpech
Army 1st Lt. Nicholas T. Krantz, commander of the Army Reserve’s 811th Ordnance Company, 321st Ordnance Battalion, 38th Regional Support Group, 310th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), headquartered in Rainelle, W. Va., left, conducts airborne operations training at Fryar Drop Zone, Fort Benning, Ga., Feb. 20, 2017. Army photo by Capt. Sean Delpech 310th ESC Soldier gets airborne wings, lessons in leadership
Army 1st Lt. Nicholas T. Krantz, commander of the Army Reserve’s 811th Ordnance Company, 321st Ordnance Battalion, 38th Regional Support Group, 310th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), headquartered in Rainelle, W. Va., left, conducts airborne operations training at Fryar Drop Zone, Fort Benning, Ga., Feb. 20, 2017. Army photo by Capt. Sean Delpech

Most of the soldiers of Bravo Company, 3rd Platoon, hold the rank of private first class or specialist, with an average age of 22. Among the many faces at the school, one looks a bit older and carries a little more experience.

This candidate is Army Reserve 1st Lt. Nicholas T. Krantz, commander of the 811th Ordnance Company, 321st Ordnance Battalion, 38th Regional Support Group, 310th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), headquartered in Rainelle, W. Va.

Unlike many soldiers who are busy planning their retirement, Krantz, at the age of 41, with 21 years of service in the Army Reserve, is always on the lookout for new challenges, such as seeking airborne qualification. Driven to excel as an important part of striving for a career based around the culture of professional excellence, Krantz requested and won a spot at the Airborne School.

"Going Airborne has been a lifelong dream for me,” Krantz said, “but between a challenging civilian career and commitment to family, the opportunity just recently became real.”

Previous NCO and Warrant Officer Service

Kantz previously was a senior noncommissioned officer and later a warrant officer. After working to complete his degree, he took on an even larger challenge as a commissioned officer and then as company commander.

His service as an NCO in the past has helped him develop realistic and challenging training and professional development goals for the enlisted soldiers and noncommissioned officers in the 811th Ordnance Company.

"Leadership in the U.S. Army Reserve is challenging and carries a high professional standard,” said Army Lt. Col. Gerald J. Krieger, commander of the 321st Ordnance Battalion. “We have a shortage of officers and NCOs and must recruit, cultivate and groom the leaders that we have to maintain a culture of excellence.”

Krantz said he plans on using what he learns during the Airborne Course to increase the quality of training and readiness for his soldiers. “To take this one step further, I will be prepared to take the 811th and operate in the battle space with the additional experience and understanding of airborne operations," he added.