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Yokota Christmas Drop aircrew delivers life-saving medical supplies

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  • By the 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Despite a developing tropical cyclone nearby, a C-130 Hercules aircrew from the 36th Airlift Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan, successfully delivered 25 boxes of life-saving IV fluids to the Micronesian island of Fais, Dec. 14, at approximately 10:50 a.m.

The mission came in response to a recent surge of dengue fever infecting 35 percent of the population of Fais, prompting a declaration of emergency from the island, requiring medical supplies to be delivered to the island.

"The rough seas generated by a growing tropical cyclone in the area, in conjunction with the inaccessibility to the island by larger boats made an emergency airdrop the only option to help the people of Fais," said Capt. Rob Chance, the mission's aircraft commander from the 36th AS.

The crew from Yokota is on temporary assignment for this year's Operation Christmas Drop, an annual humanitarian airlift mission based out of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Because of their proximity to the island, the crew was able to provide immediate aid to an awaiting physician's aide.

"We've been delivering food, toys, school supplies and other basic needs to the outer islands of Micronesia since Dec. 12," said Lt. Col. Jeff Kingsley, 374th Airlift Wing detachment commander. "We were lucky enough to have the right aircraft and the right people in the right place at a time we could help."

After initial news of the outbreak from the government of Yap, the crew contacted the U.S. response team to see what they could do.

"We made contact with the man in charge, and told him we were well postured and eager to help," said Kingsley. "He made the logistics happen, and the team executed the mission to get the medicine to the people who needed it."

The team received the medical supplies in Guam, packaged and prepared them for delivery and completed the airdrop-all within 24 hours.

"Every person involved was beyond motivated to be a part of this; as aircrew, maintainers, etc., we train everyday to execute such a mission," said Chance. "To be able to directly help the people of Fais in their time of need is something that we will surely never forget and are honored to be a part of."

Three C-130's and 76 Airmen from Yokota teamed up with the 36th Airlift Wing from Andersen AB, Guam and the 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii for the 60th annual OCD.

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