US Indo-Pacific Forces participate in Christmas Drop

Senior airman Kylie Hanni, left, and airman first class Jaime Suarez, right, both 36th Airlift Squadron loadmasters out of Yokota Air Base, Japan, verify their drop zone over the island of Nama, Federated States of Micronesia, during Operation Christmas Drop last Dec. 10, 2018. (U.S. AIR FORCE /SENIOR AIRMAN MATTHEW GILMORE)

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 on Dec. 10.

Among the helpers on board was none other than the commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Adm. Phil Davidson.

In its 67th year, Operation Christmas Drop will go on to provide 25 tons of critical supplies to 20,000 people throughout the CNMI, FSM, and 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 OCD, it really goes to show the mutual concern we each have for security in the Pacific.”

MATTHEW GILMORE 

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