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Volunteers pack bundles for Operation Christmas Drop 2017

OCD volunteers package bundles

Volunteers participate in the 66th Operation Christmas Drop bundle build, Dec. 9, 2017, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Over the course of 12 days, members of OCD provide critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands, impacting about 20,000 people covering 1.8 million square nautical miles of operating area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Juan Torres)

OCD volunteers package bundles

A volunteer draws on a bundle during the 66th Operation Christmas Drop bundle build, Dec. 9, 2017, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The supplies will be delivered to the 56 Micronesian islands, which are some of the most remote locations on the globe spanning a distance nearly as broad as the continental US. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Juan Torres)

OCD volunteers package bundles

Canned goods sit waiting to be placed in bundles during the 66th Operation Christmas Drop bundle build, Dec. 9, 2017, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. 11. OCD is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airlift training operation and will provide nearly 25 tons of critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands this year impacting about 20,000 people. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Juan Torres)

OCD volunteers package bundles

Airmen from the Philippine Air Force, U.S. Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force and Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self-Defense Force), pose for a photo during the 66th Operation Christmas Drop bundle build, Dec. 9, 2017, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. OCD is a training mission which helps the 374th Airlift Wing and their partners to maintain and develop combat readiness through sustainable aircraft generation and recovery. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Juan Torres)

OCD volunteers package bundles

Volunteers fill a bundle with supplies during the 66th Operation Christmas Drop bundle build, Dec. 9, 2017, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Over the course of 12 days, members of OCD provide critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands, impacting about 20,000 people covering 1.8 million square nautical miles of operating area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Juan Torres)

OCD volunteers package bundles

Senior Airman Cassandra Cobb, 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron Combat Mobility Flight rigger, weighs and labels bundles during the 66th Operations Christmas Drop bundle build, Dec. 9, 2017, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Every December, C-130 aircrews from Yokota head to Andersen AFB. From there, the crews airdrop food, supplies and educational materials to islanders throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia, and Republic of Palau. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Juan Torres)

Andersen Air Force Base, Guam -- Getting into the spirit of the holidays, with smiles on their faces and Santa hats on their heads, hundreds of volunteers gathered to fill nearly 140 supply bundles for the start of the 66th Operation Christmas Drop, Dec. 9, 2017, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

As volunteers from all over the region arrived at the 734th Air Mobility Squadron hangar, they were greeted by lines of boxes ready to be filled with critical supplies that mean so much to the islanders throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated State of Micronesia, and Republic of Palau. The islands are some of the most remote locations on the globe, spanning a distance nearly as broad as the continental U.S.

Service members from the U.S. Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Koku Jieitai and Philippine Air Force teamed up with Operation Christmas Drop committee members, family members, boy scouts, booster clubs and many other volunteers to ensure that each box was filled to the top.

“We’re a part of something special that’s been going on for 66 years,” said Col. Sergio J. Vega Jr., 374th Airlift Wing vice commander. “It’s an amazing event seeing our partner nations and the community coming together and doing this to serve other folks.”

After each bundle is filled, it is inspected and weighed by members of the 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron combat mobility flight from Yokota to ensure they can be loaded and dropped safely to the 56 islands over the next 10 days.

The teamwork demonstrated during the bundle build is a representation of how Airmen and the community from across the region come together to lend a helping hand to our partners and allies in the Pacific.

For many Airmen participating in the operation, lending a hand has been a very rewarding experience in their career.

“It’s something special when you fly over these islands and you see the locals wave at you from the ground,” said Maj. George Metros, 36th Airlift Squadron evaluator pilot. “Seeing their expressions and just being able to give back a little bit is awesome.”