26 September 2023

RAAF to drop in for Christmas

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The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has deployed a Hercules and crew to Guam in the West Pacific for its annual Operation Christmas Drop.

Held annually since 1952, Operation Christmas Drop is led by the United States Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) and is the world’s longest running humanitarian airdrop.

This year, Australia joined participants from the United States, Japan and, for the first time, New Zealand.

RAAF Flight Lieutenant, Andrew Morgan said crews would conduct airdrops by parachute to remote island communities spread across 6,000,000 square kilometres that are home to people from the Republic of Palau, Northern Marianas, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

He said each airdropped load weighed up to 200 kilograms and contained items such as construction materials, fishing nets, rice, sporting equipment, and school supplies.

“We plan missions to atolls or islands that are thousands of kilometres from Guam, and airdrop loads to unfamiliar drop zones that are just metres wide,” Flight Lieutenant Morgan said.

“The training benefit for us can’t be understated, but we also get tremendous satisfaction from bringing some Christmas cheer to some of the most isolated communities across the Pacific.

“And working alongside crews from other nations allows us to share knowledge and different approaches firsthand, enabling us to work better together in future operations.”

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