"For most of us, Christmas falls on a specific day on our calendar, but this year, on 51 islands, Christmas will begin as it has for over half a century, when you, the (U.S.) Air Force, show up carrying Santa in the sky.".
- Bill Hagen, long-time volunteer and supporter of Operation Christmas Drop
A heartwarming 58-year tradition started by a WB-50 crew in 1952.
Operation Christmas Drop is under way once again
by Senior Airman Shane Dunaway
36th Wing Public Affairs
12/18/2009 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFNS) -- More than 12 months of preparation have gone into ensuring this year's four-day air drop mission, known as Operation Christmas Drop, goes smoothly, with countless fundraisers and many drop-off points made available to those wishing to donate supplies and help support Guam's island neighbors in the Marianas, Carolines, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands and the Federal States of Micronesia.
Operation Christmas Drop's mission officially kicked off with a Push Ceremony held Dec. 15. Members of the Andersen family and representatives from the local community were on hand to assist in loading boxes onto a C-130 Hercules, in essence preparing the first sortie's load of donations for delivery.
This is the 58th consecutive year that Operation Christmas Drop missions will fly, making it the longest-running airdrop mission in the history of the Air Force. The concept of Operation Christmas Drop began in 1952 when locals on the island of Kapingamarangi waved to the crew of a WB-50 flying overhead. In the spirit of the holiday season, the crew gathered what they could, packed it into a canister, attached a parachute and dropped it to the islanders.
More at the link.