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Operation Christmas Drop shoves off for the mission

CHUUK, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands -- Members of the 36th Airlift Squadron watch a bundle of donated goods drop out the back of a C-130 Hercules over a Chuuk island during Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, the longest running humanitarian airlift mission in the world, delivers supplies to remore islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands of Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Spinner)

CHUUK, Federated States of Micronesia -- Members of the 36th Airlift Squadron watch a bundle of donated goods drop out the back of a C-130 Hercules over a Chuuk island during Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, the longest running humanitarian airlift mission in the world, delivers supplies to remote islands of the Federated States of Micronesia - Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Spinner)

CHUUK ISLANDS - A pack of donated goods drops to its planned location on the Chuuk Islands as part of Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, is the Air Force's longest-running humanitarian mission. Airmen today continue the tradition delivering supplies to remote islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei.   (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Julian North)

CHUUK, Federated States of Micronesia -- A pack of donated goods drops to its planned location on the Chuuk Islands as part of Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, is the Air Force's longest-running humanitarian mission. Airmen today continue the tradition delivering supplies to remote islands of the Federated States of Micronesia - Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Julian North)

CHUUK ISLANDS - Members of the 36th Airlift Squadron prepare a pallet of boxed donations to be dropped to its planned location in the Chuuk Islands as part of Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, is the Air Force's longest-running humanitarian mission. Airmen today continue the tradition delivering supplies to remote islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei.   (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Julian North)

CHUUK, Federated States of Micronesia -- Members of the 36th Airlift Squadron prepare a pallet of boxed donations to be dropped to its planned location in the Chuuk Islands as part of Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, is the Air Force's longest-running humanitarian mission. Airmen today continue the tradition delivering supplies to remote islands of the Federated States of Micronesia - Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Julian North)

CHUUK ISLANDS - Staff Sgt. Cravenkeo Khamone, 36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, spots the drop location for a box of donated goods being dropped over the Chuuk Islands Dec. 16 in support of Operation Christmas Drop. The operation, which began in 1952, is the Air Force's longest-running humanitarian mission. Airmen today continue the tradition delivering supplies to remote islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei.   (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Julian North)

CHUUK, Federated States of Micronesia -- Staff Sgt. Cravenkeo Khamone, 36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, spots the drop location for a box of donated goods being dropped over the Chuuk Islands Dec. 16 in support of Operation Christmas Drop. The operation, which began in 1952, is the Air Force's longest-running humanitarian mission. Airmen today continue the tradition delivering supplies to remote islands of the Federated States of Micronesia - Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Julian North)

CHUUK ISLANDS - Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Walker, 36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, prepares a pallet of boxed donations to be dropped to its planned location in the Chuuk Islands as part of Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, is the Air Force's longest-running humanitarian mission. Airmen today continue the tradition delivering supplies to remote islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei.   (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Julian North/)

CHUUK, Federated States of Micronesia -- Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Walker, 36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, prepares a pallet of boxed donations to be dropped to its planned location in the Chuuk Islands as part of Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, is the Air Force's longest-running humanitarian mission. Airmen today continue the tradition delivering supplies to remote islands of the Federated States of Micronesia - Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Julian North/)

CHUUK ISLANDS - Staff Sgt. Cravenkeo Khamone, 36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, spots the drop location for a box of donated goods being dropped over the Chuuk Islands Dec. 16 in support of Operation Christmas Drop. The operation, which began in 1952, is the Air Force?s longest-running humanitarian mission. Airmen today continue the tradition delivering supplies to remote islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei.   (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Julian North)

CHUUK, Federated States of Micronesia -- Staff Sgt. Cravenkeo Khamone, 36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, spots the drop location for a box of donated goods being dropped over the Chuuk Islands Dec. 16 in support of Operation Christmas Drop. The operation, which began in 1952, is the Air Force?s longest-running humanitarian mission. Airmen today continue the tradition delivering supplies to remote islands of the Federated States of Micronesia - Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Julian North)

CHUUK ISLANDS - Packs of donated goods await their drop to planned locations on the Chuuk Islands as part of Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, is the Air Force's longest-running humanitarian mission. Airmen today continue the tradition delivering supplies to remote islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei.   (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Julian North)

CHUUK, Federated States of Micronesia -- Packs of donated goods await their drop to planned locations on the Chuuk Islands as part of Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, is the Air Force's longest-running humanitarian mission. Airmen today continue the tradition delivering supplies to remote islands of the Federated States of Micronesia - Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Julian North)

CHUUK, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands -- Members of the 36th Airlift Squadron watch a bundle of donated goods drop out the back of a C-130 Hercules over a Chuuk island during Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, the longest running humanitarian airlift mission in the world, delivers supplies to remote islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands of Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Spinner)

CHUUK, Federated States of Micronesia -- Members of the 36th Airlift Squadron watch a bundle of donated goods drop out the back of a C-130 Hercules over a Chuuk island during Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, the longest running humanitarian airlift mission in the world, delivers supplies to remote islands of the Federated States of Micronesia - Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Spinner)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Tech. Sgt. William Cornett, 374th Maintenance Group quality assurance inspector, reviews forms before a C-130 Hercules departs here on the first day of Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, the longest running humanitarian airlift mission in the world, delivers supplies to remote islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands of Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Spinner)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Tech. Sgt. William Cornett, 374th Maintenance Group quality assurance inspector, reviews forms before a C-130 Hercules departs here on the first day of Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, the longest running humanitarian airlift mission in the world, delivers supplies to remote islands of the Federated States of Micronesia - Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Spinner)

CHUUK, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands -- Senior Airman Dustin DeVeaux, 36th Airlift Squadron load master, adjusts his harness in preparation for the first day of Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, the longest running humanitarian airlift mission in the world, delivers supplies to remote islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands of Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Spinner)
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CHUUK, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands -- Senior Airman Dustin DeVeaux, 36th Airlift Squadron load master, adjusts his harness in preparation for the first day of Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, the longest running humanitarian airlift mission in the world, delivers supplies to remote islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands of Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Spinner)

CHUUK, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands --  (Left to right) Airman 1st Class Jason Barbieri, Senior Airman Dustin DeVeaux, and Lt. Col. David Kincaid, all from the 36th Airlift Squadron, remove cargo straps from the first bundle of donated goods during Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, the longest running humanitarian airlift mission in the world, delivers supplies to remote islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands of Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Spinner)
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CHUUK, Federated States of Micronesia - (Left to right) Airman 1st Class Jason Barbieri, Senior Airman Dustin DeVeaux, and Lt. Col. David Kincaid, all from the 36th Airlift Squadron, remove cargo straps from the first bundle of donated goods during Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, the longest running humanitarian airlift mission in the world, delivers supplies to remote islands of the Federated States of Micronesia - Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Spinner)

CHUUK, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands -- Airman 1st Class Jason Barbieri (left) and Senior Airman Dustin Deveaux, 36th Airlift Squadron load masters, direct a k-loader with a bundle before a C-130 Hercules departs here on the first day of Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, the longest-running humanitarian airlift mission in the world, delivers supplies to remote islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands of Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Spinner)
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CHUUK, Federated States of Micronesia - Airman 1st Class Jason Barbieri (left) and Senior Airman Dustin Deveaux, 36th Airlift Squadron load masters, direct a k-loader with a bundle before a C-130 Hercules departs here on the first day of Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, the longest-running humanitarian airlift mission in the world, delivers supplies to remote islands of the Federated States of Micronesia - Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Spinner)

CHUUK, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands -- A Unicross UNX 150 carrying a bundle of donated goods drifts to an island after dropping out the back of a C-130 Hercules during Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, the longest running humanitarian airlift mission in the world, delivers supplies to remote islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands of Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Spinner)
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CHUUK, Federated States of Micronesia - A Unicross UNX 150 carrying a bundle of donated goods drifts to an island after dropping out the back of a C-130 Hercules during Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, the longest running humanitarian airlift mission in the world, delivers supplies to remote islands of the Federated States of Micronesia - Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Spinner)

CHUUK, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands -- (left to right) Senior Airman Dustin Deveaux, 1st Lt. Alexander Johns, and Airman 1st Class Jason Barbieri prepare to drop it a bundle of donated goods out the back of a C-130 Hercules aircraft over a Chuuk island during Operation Christmas Drop Dec 16, 2009.  Operation Christmas Drop is the longest running humanitarian mission.  The Air Force delivers supplies to remote islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands of Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt Kimberly Spinner)
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CHUUK, Federated States of Micronesia - (left to right) Senior Airman Dustin Deveaux, 1st Lt. Alexander Johns, and Airman 1st Class Jason Barbieri prepare to drop it a bundle of donated goods out the back of a C-130 Hercules aircraft over a Chuuk island during Operation Christmas Drop Dec 16, 2009. Operation Christmas Drop is the longest running humanitarian mission. The Air Force delivers supplies to remote islands of the Federated States of Micronesia - Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt Kimberly Spinner)

CHUUK, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands -- A Unicross UNX 150 strapped to a bundle of donated goods opens after dropping out the back of a C-130 Hercules over a Chuuk island during Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, the longest running humanitarian airlift mission in the world, delivers supplies to remote islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands of Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Spinner)
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CHUUK, Federated States of Micronesia - A Unicross UNX 150 strapped to a bundle of donated goods opens after dropping out the back of a C-130 Hercules over a Chuuk island during Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, the longest running humanitarian airlift mission in the world, delivers supplies to remote islands of the Federated States of Micronesia - Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Spinner)

CHUUK, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands ? Col.  Mark Herring, 374th Operations Group Commander and pilot, Capt. Adam Col, 36th Airlift Squadron co-pilot, and SSgt Josh Plant, 36th Airlift Squadron flight engineer, fly a C-130 Hercules over back to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam after dropping bundles of donated goods over the Chuuk islands during Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, the longest running humanitarian airlift mission in the world, delivers supplies to remote islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands of Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Spinner)
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CHUUK, Federated States of Micronesia - Col. Mark Hering, 374th Operations Group Commander and pilot, Capt. Adam Cole, 36th Airlift Squadron co-pilot, and SSgt Josh Plant, 36th Airlift Squadron flight engineer, fly a C-130 Hercules over back to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam after dropping bundles of donated goods over the Chuuk islands during Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, the longest running humanitarian airlift mission in the world, delivers supplies to remote islands of the Federated States of Micronesia - Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Spinner)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- SSgt Josh Plant, 36th Airlift Squadron flight engineer, completes a takeoff and landing data card before a C-130 Hercules departs here on the first day of Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, the longest running humanitarian airlift mission in the world, delivers supplies to remote islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands of Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Spinner)
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ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- Staff Sgt Josh Plant, 36th Airlift Squadron flight engineer, completes a takeoff and landing data card before a C-130 Hercules departs here on the first day of Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 16. Operation Christmas Drop, the longest running humanitarian airlift mission in the world, delivers supplies to remote islands of the Federated States of Micronesia - Yap, Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Kimberly Spinner)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- More than 12 months of preparation have gone into ensuring Operation Christmas Drop's four-day air drop mission goes smoothly, with countless fundraiser and many drop-off points made available to those wishing to donate supplies and help support Guam's island neighbors in the Marianas, Carolines, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands and the Federal States of Micronesia.

Operation Christmas Drop's mission officially kicked off with a Push Ceremony held Dec. 15 at 9 a.m. in Hangar 6. Team Andersen members and representatives from the local community were on hand to assist in loading boxes onto a C-130H aircraft, in essence preparing the first sortie's load of donations for delivery.

"For most of us Christmas falls on specific days in our calendar, but this year, on 51 islands, Christmas will begin as it has for over half a century, when you, the [U.S.] Air Force show up carrying Santa in the Sky," said Bill Hagen, long-time volunteer and supporter of Operation Christmas Drop.

This is the 58th consecutive year that Operation Christmas Drop missions will fly, making Operation Christmas Drop the longest-running airdrop mission in Air Force history. The concept of Operation Christmas Drop began in 1952 when locals on the island of Kapingamarangi waved to the crew of a WB-50 flying overhead. In the spirit of the holiday season, the crew gathered what they could, packed it into a canister, attached a parachute and dropped the goods to the islanders.

"Islanders affected by the drops like to say that their holiday season doesn't begin until they receive their visit from the U.S. Air Force," said Capt. George Bell, 734th Air Mobility Squadron. "Each drop is certainly a group effort with volunteers and donations coming from across Guam to be packaged and built by members of Andersen AFB and Navy and then dropped by C-130 crews from Yokota AB. Even though the number of drops this year will not break last year's record, the amount of donations and volunteer hours grow every year."

Throughout the year, volunteers from organizations island-wide step up to the plate and donate, ensuring neighboring islands experience a wonderful holiday and building a rapport with those who have less.

Long before the C-130s soared into the skies to execute Operation Christmas Drop, Airmen and volunteers came together for several packs to prepare each box to be dropped. The packs took place on Nov. 21 and Dec. 5 this year with more than 100 Airmen, civilians, contractors and other volunteers helping out.

During the four days of Operation Christmas Drop, C-130s will fly 12 sorties, offloading more than 12 tons of cargo to at least 51 islands covering a geographic area more than 1.8 million square miles.

"I am proud to be a part of the 58th year of Christmas drops," said Capt. Ryan Finlayson, 36th Airlift Squadron lead operations planner for Operation Christmas Drop. "Christmas drops have been going on since 1952, which was well before I was born. I hope it continues long after I'm gone. I am honored to carry on such a long-lasting tradition."

Operation Christmas Drop is a non-profit organization powered by Team Andersen volunteers and the local community that have to date dropped over 800,000 pounds of goods throughout the islands since Operation Christmas Drop inception.

"The greatest thing about Operation Christmas Drop is how easily it affects lives for the better," Captain Bell said. "It's great that we can exercise our global reach and help almost 35,000 people throughout the Pacific every year."

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Tomorrow (Jan 31st) CE Customer Service and both Andersen Family and Unaccompanied Housing Offices will be closed from 11 A.M.–4 P.M. For emergencies, please see additional information below: CE Customer Service: For any emergency issues, please call 366-2916/2917/2918. All other non-emergency issues can be sent to the CE Customer Service email org box at 36ces.service@us.af.mil. Housing Office: For any urgent Housing matters, please call 366-6240 or 653-4731. Normal operating hours will resume Monday, 3 February. Thank you, 36th Civil Engineer Squadron
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