ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- The 66th iteration of Operation Christmas Drop is set to take to the Pacific skies here Dec. 11.
The Department of Defense’s longest recurring humanitarian mission is a long-standing annual tradition of packaging and delivering food, tools and toys to more than 50 remote islands in the South-Eastern Pacific, including the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau.
During the weeklong international charity effort, Pacific Air Forces airpower ambassadors from Andersen AFB, Guam, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii and Yokota Air Base, Japan, will work with their partners of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force to execute low-cost, low-altitude training air drops. The aerial delivery will serve as valuable interoperability training for the partner nations while delivering various donations provided by private donors, charitable organizations and the University of Guam.
This year’s event will mark the first time the C-130J Super Hercules will be flown during the operation. The new aircraft model, which is to supplant the C-130H Hercules, will allow aircrews to expedite cargo across an area covering more than 1.8 million square miles.
The rich history of Operation Christmas Drop started in 1952 when locals on the island of Kapingamarangi waved at the aircrew of a passing WB-50 Super fortress, prompting the crew to gather, pack and parachute goods to the islanders.
Nearly seven decades and more than 1 million pounds of charitable goods later, the 2017 missions are set to carry on this tradition of international goodwill.