Operation Christmas Drop is the Department of Defense’s longest-running humanitarian airlift operation. The tradition began during the Christmas season in 1952 when a B-29 Superfortress aircrew saw islanders waving at them from the island of Kapingamarangi, 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 is a PACAF event which includes a partnership between the 374th Airlift Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan; the 36th Wing, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; 734th Air Mobility Squadron, Andersen AFB of 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. – US Air Force
Featured image of Distinguished Visitors and Members of the 36th Airlift Squadron, Yokota Air Base, Japan, wave out the back of a C-130 Hercules to the people of the Western Pacific and Micronesia islands participating in Operation Christmas Drop by U.S. Air Force photo, Airman 1st Class Adarius Petty