Reservists help deliver Christmas bundles to remote islands

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Theanne Herrmann
  • 624th Regional Support Group
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam - U.S. Air Force reservists from the 44th Aerial Port Squadron are using their skills to help deliver Christmas bundles to the people of 54 Micronesian islands as a part of the 65th Operation Christmas Drop, Dec. 3-13.

Nine members of the 44th APS, based out of Andersen Air Force base, Guam, who specialize in air terminal operations are working with their active duty counterpart, the 734th Air Mobility Squadron, to load 140 Christmas bundles for 22 missions.

Operation Christmas Drop, or OCD, is the longest running humanitarian airlift operation in the history of the Department of Defense, impacting the lives of more than 20,000 islanders. The people of the Micronesian islands can expect to see service members aboard a C-130 Hercules drop a box, attached to a parachute, filled with rice, fish hooks, educational materials, clothing and toys.

The best thing about this experience is being able to help those who are less privileged, and at the same time we are becoming more proficient as air transportation specialists," said Master Sgt. David Popp, 44th APS.

The Reservists are in charge of loading and unloading the bundles for Operation Christmas Drop.

"We still have our regular daily operations here at the Air Frieght Terminal, so it's geat that I can count on the 44th APS to keep the OCD mission going," said Senior Master Sgt. Yxel Espina, aerial port superintendent, 734th APS.

The partnership between the Reservists and active duty is ongoing through out the year.

We have an awesome partnership with the Reservists," said Espina. "We work with them on a regular basis. When they come back from school they come and train with us. So they are already integrated when we work together for large operations."

Airmen are also working with aircrew from the 374th Airlift Wing, Yokota Air Force Base, Japan, and their mission partners the Royal Australian Air Force and the Japanese Self Defense Force.

"Operation Christmas Drop gives us a unique experience of working with other countries and building relationships," said Staff Sgt. Nelson Dacanay, a specialist from 44th APS. "This is a joint operation and we are all working together to make Christmas a little brighter for our neighboring islanders."