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Andersen hosts 64th annual Operation Christmas Drop 'Push Ceremony'

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  • Headquarters Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs
The 64th iteration of Operation Christmas Drop will begin here Dec. 8 at 9 a.m. with an official "Push Ceremony" followed by U.S. Air Force, Japanese Air Self Defense Force, and Royal Australian Air Force executing humanitarian airdrops to islands throughout the Ulithi Atoll and the island of Fais within the Federated States of Micronesia.

This year marks the first time international partners will train alongside the U.S. Air Force C-130H Hercules aircrews from the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota Air Base, Japan, to execute Low-Cost Low-Altitude airdrops over unsurveyed drop zones while providing critical supplies to 56 islands throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau impacting about 20,000 people covering 1000 x 1800 nautical miles of operating area.

"Operation Christmas Drop directly reflects PACAF's guiding principles," said Gen. Lori Robinson, Pacific Air Forces commander. "Thanks to our long-standing annual presence and engagements with our friends and allies, we have a unique opportunity to further develop partnerships with airlifters from Japan and Australia. These friendships further enhance our ability to work together and project our capabilities through airpower missions throughout the Pacific and around the world."

Over the past several months volunteers from Team Andersen collected supplies, non-perishable food items, educational materials and toys that will be air dropped to 56 islands between Dec. 8 and 14. The Christmas drops serve as a proving ground for LCLA training in preparation for response to natural disasters common across the Pacific region.

This long-standing tradition of goodwill is a partnership between the 374th Airlift Wing; the 36th Wing here; the 734th Air Mobility Squadron of the 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; the University of Guam; and the 'Operation Christmas Drop' private organization. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airlift operation. The annual mission began in 1952 when an aircrew assigned to Andersen was flying over the Micronesian island of Kapingamarangi when they noticed residents waving to them. The crew decided to gather some items they had on the plane, which they placed in a container with a parachute attached and dropped the cargo as they circled.

Since then, more than a million pounds of supplies have been dropped throughout the region.

"Operation Christmas Drop is a prime example of the capacity Airpower brings to the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region," Robinson said. "It highlights the U.S. and Allied Airpower capabilities to orient and respond to activities in peacetime and crisis.  In addition to delivering critical supplies to those in need, Operation Christmas Drop provides specific training to U.S. and Allied aircrews, enabling theater-wide Airpower."

For more information on Operation Christmas Drop, call the Andersen AFB Public Affairs Office at 366-2228.

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