Operation Christmas Drop has recommenced in the West Pacific with Australia joining partner nations to deliver several 200-kilogram bundles of goodwill to support more than 20,000 people in remote communities.
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has a deployed a C-130J Hercules and 24 personnel to Guam in support of the United States Pacific Air Forces’ (PACAF) humanitarian airdrop activity along with Japan, New Zealand, India, and the Republic of Korea. From 1 December to 12 December, the six nations will each fly airdrop missions to support more than 20,000 people in the Republic of Palau, Northern Marianas, and Federated States of Micronesia – an area covering six million square kilometres of the West Pacific.
Air Commodore David Strong, Commander Air Mobility Group, said Australia had participated in PACAF’s Operation Christmas Drop since 2015. “This year marks our return to Christmas Drop Guam after a three-year absence and we are honoured to again have the opportunity to support our Pacific partners and celebrate Christmas with some of the more remote parts of the region,” Air Commodore Strong said. “Additionally, the operation promises to be a professionally and personally fulfilling activity for the crews involved. It’s a unique opportunity to work side-by-side with other Indo-Pacific Hercules aircraft and build relationships at the aviator-level, which will benefit our cooperation in future.”
Hercules missions from Guam will carry several 200-kilogram bundles containing a range of items including fishing line, rice, sporting equipment and school supplies, along with donated toys, books and clothing.