U.S. Indo-Pacific forces participate in annual Operation Christmas Drop

By: Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore, 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

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The patch of Operation Christmas Drop 2018 rests on the flight suit of a pilot from the 374th Airlift Wing as he and his crew delivers Coastal Humanitarian Air Drops to the island of Nama, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 10, 2018. Every December crews from Yokota Air Base, Japan, team up with the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (Koku Jietai), and Royal Australian Air Force to airdrop supplies to the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, FSM, and the Republic of Palau. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFNS) -- Santa 21 returned to the “North Pole” of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, after delivering three bundles to the island of Nama in the Federated States of Micronesia Dec. 10.

Navy Adm. Phil Davidson, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, commander, was among the helpers on board.

In its 67th year, Operation Christmas Drop will provide 25 tons of critical supplies to 20,000 people throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, FSM, and the Republic of Palau, serving as the world’s longest running airdrop training mission.

“Today we dropped food, tools, and toys on just one of the 56 islands that will receive humanitarian bundles over the next few days,” said Davidson. “Having the opportunity to see our aircrews make that airdrop really reminded me how much of a great privilege it is for not only the Indo-Pacific Command perspective, but also the Pacific Air Forces command perspective to have been doing this mission for 67 years.”

In addition to the U.S. Air Force, the Japan Air-Self Defense Force (Koku Jietai), and the Royal Australian Air Force also participated in the effort to better prepare to respond to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief situations in the region by dropping Coastal Humanitarian Air Drops thus increasing interoperability.

“The importance of the JASDF and RAAF as our allies cannot be understated,” said Davidson. “By working together on things like (Operation Christmas Drop), it really goes to show the mutual concern we each have for security in the Pacific.”

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