U.S. and partner-nation Airmen are set to participate in the Department of Defense’s longest-running humanitarian assistance training mission out of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, beginning Dec. 5.
Operation Christmas Drop is an annual U.S. Air Force tradition of packaging and delivering food, tools and clothing to more than 55 remote islands in the South-Eastern Pacific, including the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau.
The weeklong international effort allows Pacific Air Forces Airmen from the 36th Wing, Andersen AFB, Guam; 15th Wing from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam; and the 374th Airlift Wing from Yokota Air Base, Japan, to work with partner nations to execute low-cost, low-altitude training air drops, a critical training event improving interoperability and communication for future real-world humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.
The aerial delivery enables aircrews to develop and maintain combat readiness through aircraft generation and recovery, while delivering donations provided by private donors, charitable organizations and the University of Guam, to over 22,000 residents across the remote islands in the region.
“This training mission is not only a tradition, but provides relevant and real training necessary for our Airmen and partner nations in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Gen. Ken Wilsbach, Pacific Air Forces commander. “I want to thank our partner nations, whether they participate in the air drop or serve as an international observer, because together we’re working to strengthening our readiness and resolve for when the next disaster strikes in the region.”
The OCD team is making every effort to lessen the risk to those we serve by ensuring all pilots and crew members arriving to Guam are fully vaccinated, requiring that all packed boxes be left untouched and open for hours before closing, and all participants handling donations will be wearing gloves and facemasks, as well as observing recommended hygiene habits such as hand washing/sanitizing and social distancing.