LONDON – Every December, C-130J aircrews from Yokota deploy to Andersen Air Force base. The C-130J crews airdrop food, supplies, and educational material to islanders throughout the, Federated States of Micronesia, and Republic of Palau.
These islands are some of the most remote locations on the globe that span a distance nearly as broad as the continental United States.
The annual humanitarian mission has been operating since 1952, and brings U.S. and partner nations together to provide food, tools and clothing to more than 56 remote islands in the South-Eastern Pacific.
Each year, Operation Christmas Drop serves as a proving ground for the techniques used and shared with regional partners in preparation for response to natural disasters all too common across this region.
Operation Christmas Drop is the longest running Department of Defense humanitarian mission that delivers critical aid to island communities throughout the western Pacific while also providing an opportunity for aircrew to hone important skills needed for future operations.
Here is a snapshot of this year’s 71st mission – Operation Christmas Drop 2022 – in photos.
Operation Christmas Drop fleet
Seven C-130 aircraft from the U.S. Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force, Republic of Korea Air Force and Royal New Zealand Air Force taxi in formation during a multinational elephant walk.
Photos are from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Dec. 10, 2022, as part of Operation Christmas Drop 2022.
USAF, RAAF, ROKAF, JASDF and RNZAF C-130 crewmembers delivered 209 bundles weighing a total of more than 71,000 pounds as part of Operation Christmas Drop.
The Operation assisted remote island communities in the Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau.
(Above) Aircrew of a C-130H Hercules with 40 Squadron, Royal New Zealand Air Force, wave at members of partner nation air forces at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, Dec. 10, 2022
(Above) Japan Air Self-Defense Force aircrew with the 401st Tactical Airlift Squadron wave at members of the U.S. Air Force during a multinational elephant walk
Over the Federated States of Micronesia
Aircrew with the 36th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron flew over Nomwin atoll in the state of Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 9, 2022, during Operation Christmas Drop 2022.
The aircraft pictured, C130J Super Hercules callsign SANTA 67, was on the last mission flight of OCD 2022.
(Left to right above) Senior Airman Janealle Hogans, 36th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron loadmaster and Master Sgt. Luke McLimans, 36th EAS operations senior enlisted leader, drop four humanitarian aid bundles.
Aircraft is over Fananu atoll in the state of Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 9, 2022.
(Above) Lt. Col. Kira Coffey, 36th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron commander, flies over Nomwin atoll in the state of Chuuk aboard aircraft, callsign SANTA 67.
(Right to left above) Lt. Col. Kira Coffey, 36th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron commander, and Maj. Chelsie Jones, 36th EAS C-130J pilot, wave to island community members over Nomwin atoll.
(Above) Four humanitarian aid bundles descend from a U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules assigned to the 36th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron over Fananu atoll in the state of Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia.
(Left to right above) Senior Airman Janealle Hogans and Master Sgt. Luke McLimans, both 36th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron C-130J loadmasters, wave their arms to island community members on Fananu atoll.