A little festive cheer has been delivered to isolated communities across the western Pacific during Operation Christmas Drop.
CAPTION: A cardboard container of Christmas goodies is dispatched from a Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules during Operation Christmas Drop 17. Photo by Eamon Hamilton.
The operation, based out of Guam between 7–15 December 2017, saw 120 bundle loads delivered to 54 drop zones by five Hercules transport aircraft from the United States Pacific Air Forces, Japan Air Self-Defense Force, and the Royal Australian Air Force.
Each load was filled with more than 180 kilograms of items including rice, fishing wire and hooks, clothing, children’s books and toys, crayons, and hand-powered torches.
Conducted by the United States since 1952, Operation Christmas Drop is the world’s longest-running humanitarian airdrop activity, with Australia and Japan participating in the past three years.
Video feed thanks to US Air Force
RAAF Detachment Commander for Operation Christmas Drop 2017, Squadron Leader Scott Harris, said the Australian contingent delivered 34 bundle loads to 15 different islands this year.
“We frequently conduct humanitarian aid missions in the Pacific, so coming together for Operation Christmas Drop ensures we’re able to work together effectively during future operations,” Squadron Leader Harris said.
“The United States, Japan and Australia each have similar practices when it comes to airdrop, but coming together in Guam allows us to share tactics, techniques and procedures.
“Operation Christmas Drop helps remote communities in the Pacific, and allows us to maintain the strong bonds with Japan and United States.”
Missions during Operation Christmas Drop can take up to nine hours, with deliveries made to communities across six million square kilometres of the West Pacific, including the Northern Marianas Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau.