Andersen AFB to host 68th annual Operation Christmas Drop

The 68th iteration of Operation Christmas Drop is set to take to the Pacific skies, Dec. 9 hosted by the 36th Wing.

The Department of Defense’s longest recurring humanitarian mission is a long-standing annual tradition of packaging and delivering food, tools and toys to more than 57 remote islands in the South-Eastern Pacific, including the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau.

During the weeklong international charity effort, Pacific Air Forces airpower ambassadors from Andersen AFB, Guam, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii and Yokota Air Base, Japan, will work with their partners of the Japanese, Australian and, for the first time, New Zealand air forces and includes observers from Bangladesh, Malaysia, Mongolia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand to execute low-cost, low-altitude training air drops. The aerial delivery will serve as valuable interoperability training for the partner nations while delivering various donations provided by private donors, charitable organizations and the University of Guam.

The tradition began during the Christmas season in 1952 when a B-29 Superfortress aircrew saw islanders waving at them from Kapingamarangi atoll, 3,500 miles southwest of Hawaii. In the spirit of Christmas the aircrew dropped a bundle of supplies attached to a parachute to the islanders below, giving the operation its name. Today, air drop operations include more than 50 islands throughout the Pacific. Operation Christmas Drop includes Airmen and assets from the 374th Airlift Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan; the 36th Wing, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; 734th Air Mobility Squadron, Andersen AFB, the 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; the University of Guam; and the 'Operation Christmas Drop' private organization which leads the fundraising and donations for the operation. Andersen is used as a "base camp" to airlift the donated goods to islanders throughout Micronesia.