Operation Christmas Drop 2023: Pacific Air Forces preparing to deliver humanitarian assistance

  • Published
  • Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

The spirit of giving takes to the skies on Dec. 3 from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, as the U.S. Air Force and partner nations prepare for Operation Christmas Drop 2023. This annual humanitarian mission will, once again, bring essential supplies to remote communities in the Pacific.

Operation Christmas Drop, which dates back to 1952, symbolizes the U.S. commitment to partners in the Indo-Pacific and is a testament to the Air Force's enduring dedication to humanitarian assistance.

Each year the mission reaches remote islands across the Pacific, locations in the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau.

Col. Andrew Roddan, 374th Airlift Wing commander at Yokota Air Base, Japan, reaffirmed the importance of the operation and the commitment of Airmen participating in OCD23.

“Our Pacific Air Forces Airmen continue to build critical interoperability with our Allies and partners,” said Roddan. “We are honored to once again dedicate our combined efforts to touch countless lives and foster goodwill between participating nations. The work we do at Operation Christmas Drop embodies the enduring mutual cooperation and trust between our friends across Micronesia, Palau, and the entire Indo-Pacific region.”

The bundles will contain donated non-perishable food, fishing supplies, schoolbooks, and Santa’s holiday staple toys for the islands' children.

Operation Christmas Drop has not only become a cherished tradition for those who organize and participate in its execution but also a beacon of goodwill for the communities it serves.

"Operation Christmas Drop showcases our continued partnership and shared values,” said Maj. Zach Overbey, 36th Airlift Squadron C-130J Super Hercules pilot and OCD23 mission commander. “It is an absolute honor to come together with our Allies and partners to spread a little holiday joy and make a positive impact in the region."

The mission's success will be made possible through the collaborative efforts of multiple organizations, including the flying forces from the U.S. Air Force, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, the Republic of Korea Air Force, and the Royal Canadian Air Force, and ground operations forces from the Philippine Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force. This multinational endeavor underscores the commitment to regional security and humanitarian cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

The 374th Airlift Wing from Yokota Air Base, Japan, will lead Operation Christmas Drop 2023 and gather personnel from each of the partner nations as well as Airmen from the 36th Wing at Andersen AFB and the 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, to plan and execute low-cost, low-altitude airdrops.

The multinational operation also improves interoperability and communication for future real-world humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.

Operation Christmas Drop 2023 is not just a mission; it's a symbol of hope, resilience, and the power of international collaboration.