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U.S. Indo-Pacific Forces Participate in Annual Operation Christmas Drop

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

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 (FSM), 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)

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

Senior Airman Kylie Hanni, 36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, waits outside of a C-130J Super Hercules to greet Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Adm. Phil Davidson on the island of Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia during Operation Christmas Drop 2018, Dec. 10, 2018. In its 67th year, OCD is the world’s longest running airdrop training mission providing critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands impacting approximately 20,000 people across 1.8 million square nautical miles of operating area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

Senior Airman Kylie Hanni, left, and Airman 1st 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 2018, Dec. 10, 2018. The flight, carrying Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Adm. Phil Davidson and local leaders from the FSM, gave the passengers a firsthand experience into how the aircrews that attend OCD execute the mission. While aboard, Davidson stressed the importance of OCD, a trilateral operation between the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force (Koku Jietai), and the Royal Australian Air Force, plays in maintaining the mutual security in the Pacific island chain. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

Nicolas Ortiz, 374th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron flying crew chief out of Yokota Air Base, Japan, completes an in-flight check on the systems of Santa 21, a U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules on its way to deliver critical supplies to the island of Nama, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) during Operation Christmas Drop 2018, Dec. 10, 2018. Every December crews from Yokota 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)

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

U.S. Air Force 1st. Lt. Emery Gumapas, a pilot assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan, looks out the flight deck window of a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft during Operation Christmas Drop 2018 en route to the island of Nama, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Dec. 10, 2018. The flight, carrying Navy Adm. Phil Davidson, the commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and local leaders from the FSM, gave the passengers a firsthand experience into how the aircrews execute the annual mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

Lt. Col. Barry A. King, 374th Operations Group deputy commander, left, and 1st. Lt. Emery Gumapas, 36th Airlift Squadron pilot, right, make adjustments aboard Santa 21 on its way to airdrop supplies to the island of Nama, Federated States of Micronesia during Operation Christmas Drop 2018, Dec. 10, 2018. OCD is a trilateral training mission designed to give C-130 crews from the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force (Koku Jietai), and Royal Australian Air Force a chance to airdrop supplies on un-surveyed drop zones throughout the Pacific. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

Senior Airman Walter Frank, 36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, directs an equipment operator from the 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron into position during Operation Christmas Drop 2018 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Dec. 9, 2018. Prior to being loaded onto the planes, the 374th LRS Combat Mobility Flight packs the parachutes and builds the Coastal Humanitarian Air Drop bundles that will be used throughout OCD. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

Airmen from 374th Logistics Readiness Squadron position themselves to load Coastal Humanitarian Air Drop (CHAD) bundles on to a C-130J Super Hercules during Operation Christmas Drop 2018 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Dec. 9, 2018. The 374 LRS Combat Mobility Flight work throughout the year to pack the parachutes and build the CHADS in preparation for OCD, supplying the 150 bundles used on training airdrops throughout the event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Matthew Gilmore)

Andersen Air Force Base, Guam -- 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 (FSM) on Dec. 10, 2018.

Among the helpers on board was non-other than the Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Adm. Phil Davidson.

In its 67th year, Operation Christmas Drop (OCD) will go on to 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 OCD, it really goes to show the mutual concern we each have for security in the Pacific.”

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