Andersen Air Force Base, Guam --
Once a year islanders throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia, and Republic of Palau will see bundles parachute out the back of multiple planes to provide them with essential supplies that are necessary for their daily lives. The bundles include items such as educational material, clothing and food, but before delivery, there is a team of dedicated professionals making sure they are built safely and up to standard.
Airmen from Yokota’s 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron combat mobility flight and the 353rd Special Operations Group, Kadena Air Base, Japan, started building 10 practice bundles and 140 supply bundles for the 66th Operation Christmas Drop at Anderson Air Force Base, Guam, Dec. 7, 2017. The bundles are prepared to be dropped out of multiple C-130J Super Hercules and C-130H Hercules from the U.S. Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force and Koku Jieitai (Japan Air Self Defense Force) to the 56 different islands over the next ten days.
“It’s feels great and is really nice to know that the supplies that we are putting into the bundles are truly going to those in need,” said Senior Airman John Marcum, 374th LRS CMF rigger. “There is a lot of training that goes into everything, so once we learn how to do everything it all builds up to this and being a veteran (third year at OCD) it’s really nice to show others how to accomplish our tasks more efficiently.”
The group began the bundle building process by cutting the wood into the proper size and length, then set up the boxes so the bundles could be ready to be airdropped. The final step in the build, is securing the parachutes so that the bundles can be safely delivered to the islands.
Members from the 353rd SOG joined the LRS team to provide experience they gained from being stationed at Andersen and performing these tasks for previous OCD events to help make the training event more successful.
“With Christmas Drop being as big as it’s important for us to train with and learn from Yokota Airmen as we perform costal humanitarian airlift drops to help us become more proficient at it to provide our coworkers with these methods as a new capability for us to possibly use it in the future,” Master Sgt. Sim Edgar Malinao, Kadena Air Base, Japan, 353rd Special Operations Group aerial delivery superintendent. “I’ve hosted the bundle building in the past, so I feel like we are adding to their capabilities and getting through our process more quickly because we have the skillset that they are looking for.”
By creating the bundles, the flight provides the mission with the means of expanding the existing capabilities to provide tactical airlift in accordance with national strategic objectives within the Indo-Asia Pacific Region while helping complete Coast Humanitarian Air Drop training.
“Doing this is really exciting because a lot of what we do at our home station is just training, so when we get to come down here and apply those skills is super fulfilling because we can see the joy of the islanders as they receive their bundles,” Senior Airman Cassandra Cobb, 374th LRS CMF rigger.