Airmen Santas swap sleighs for C-130s to deliver gifts to some of the world's most remote islands
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam — A measure of relief went into Operation Christmas Drop this year for residents of far-flung and sometimes inaccessible islands of the Northern Marianas, who in October endured one of history’s most powerful typhoons.
Most of this year’s donation boxes — filled by civilians from Guam and servicemembers from Australia, Japan and the United States — are going to islands near Saipan and Tinian. Typhoon Yutu battered those islands with 180 mph winds, flattening many of the islanders’ homes.
Operation Christmas Drop — now in its 67th year — will help about 30,000 people on 56 islands across the Marianas, a U.S. commonwealth, as airmen push donation boxes on parachutes out the backs of C-130J Super Hercules aircraft this week.
Tucked among the gifts of food, clothing and toys parachuted from the holds of cargo aircraft were tools and building supplies to help them recover.
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