Operation Christmas Drop: Toys arrive by parachute over Pacific islands

HONOLULU -- Australian, Japanese and U.S. air force planes are dropping food and toys on remote atolls in the Pacific as part of the U.S.

See Full Article

military's longest-running humanitarian relief mission.

The packages will support 20,000 people across 56 islands in Micronesia, the Mariana Islands and Palau.

The U.S. Air Force began the annual Operation Christmas Drop in 1952 when a Guam-based air crew noticed residents on the island of Kapingamarangi waving at them as they flew overhead. The crew gathered items they had on the plane, attached a parachute and dropped them to the islanders.

It's a feel-good mission that also helps the U.S. achieve political aims, namely deepening three-way co-operation with close allies Australia and Japan, who are first-time participants. Analysts say the U.S. has been boosting the trilateral relationship in recent years as it keeps an eye on China's growing military.

The boxes include books, canned food and items like fishing nets that will help islanders maintain their largely subsistence lifestyle. This year, each package will also include a soccer ball.

The planes fly low, look for a safe spot to drop the bundles then release them from the back of the C-130s. University of Guam distance education staff use ham radios to talk to the islanders throughout the year and relay their needs.

Japan and Australia each sent one C-130 to join three from the U.S.

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Gregory Guillot, who is the director of strategic plans at Pacific Air Forces, said the Christmas Drop offers a good trilateral training opportunity, particularly in a time of budget constraints and busy units.

Guillot said the three air forces have been increasing their co-operation, noting they also come together for the annual Cope North exercise on Guam and Red Flag drill in Alaska. Inviting Australia and Japan to Christmas Drop was a logical extension of other work the countries have been doing, Guillot said.

"Partnerships here in the Pacific are the key cornerstone in our strategy to maintain regional stability and prosperity. Japan and Australia share a common interest in that goal," Guillot said.

Brad Glosserman, executive director of Pacific Forum think-tank in Honolulu, said the three-way relationship is the "gold standard" for the U.S. military's strategy toward allies in the Pacific. The U.S. wants to break out of "hub and spoke" system of bilateral alliances it has with five Asian countries and link multiple allies together, he said.

The U.S. has tried something similar with South Korea and Japan, but this grouping has struggled amid tensions in Tokyo and Seoul over Japan's past colonial rule of Korea.

The improved military capabilities of U.S. allies are a factor driving the increased co-operation, as is China's rise as a military power, Glosserman said.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Pepper-spraying anti-Donald Trump demonstrators brawl with pro-Trump marchers in California: Police [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    Brawls between a gang of pepper-spraying anti-Trump counter-protesters and proponents of the U.S. president broke out on a Southern California beach over the weekend, authorities said. The violence erupted when pro-Trump marchers, of about 2,000 people, at Bolsa Chica State Beach reached a group of about 30 counter-protesters, some of whom began spraying the irritant, said Capt. Source
  • NATO wants to spend over $3B US to bolster satellite, cyber defence

    World News CBC News
    NATO plans to spend 3 billion euros ($3.24 billion US) to upgrade its satellite and computer technology over the next three years as the Western military alliance adapts to new threats, a senior official said. Seeking to deter hackers, and other threats including Iranian missiles, the investments underscore NATO's recognition that conflicts are increasingly fought on computer networks as well as in the air, on land and at sea. Source
  • 8 feared dead in Japan avalanche

    World News CBC News
    Eight people are feared dead and two were in critical condition on Monday after an avalanche hit a group of high school students and teachers climbing in central Japan. It was not immediately clear how many of the victims were students, an official said. Source
  • New York cop quits to avoid firing after shooting unarmed teen

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- A white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager resigned Sunday from the New York Police Department to avoid being fired following a disciplinary trial in a case that sparked outrage over police use of deadly force against black men and boys. Source
  • 'Nasty cyclone' could bring 300 km/hr winds to parts of northeast Australia

    World News CBC News
    Thousands of Australians abandoned their homes as a powerful cyclone bore down on coastal towns in Queensland on Monday, while others ignored authorities' advice to evacuate with winds forecast to reach up to 300 km per hour. Source
  • Police search for suspects after deadly nightclub shooting in Cincinnati

    World News CTV News
    CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati police searched for suspects in a nightclub shooting that left one man dead and 15 other people injured and sent club patrons diving to the ground to dodge bullets in what they described as a chaotic and terrifying scene. Source
  • Trump plans to have son-in-law head up new government office

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump is set to announce a new White House office run by his son-in-law that will seek to overhaul government functions using ideas from the business sector. A senior administration official said Trump on Monday will announce the White House Office of American Innovation. Source
  • South Korea to seek arrest warrant for impeached ex-president Park

    World News CBC News
    South Korean prosecutors said Monday that they want to arrest former President Park Geun-hye over the corruption allegations that triggered a huge political scandal and toppled her from power. The announcement came about one week after prosecutors grilled Park for 14 hours over suspicions that she colluded with a jailed confidante to extort from companies and committed other wrongdoing. Source
  • South Korean prosecutors push to arrest ex-president

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - South Korean prosecutors said Monday they want to arrest former President Park Geun-hye for the corruption allegations that triggered a huge political scandal and toppled her from power. The move comes after prosecutors grilled Park for 14 hours last week over suspicions that she colluded with a jailed confidante to extort from companies and committed other wrongdoing when she was in office. Source
  • Russians by the thousand take part in anti-corruption demonstrations

    World News CBC News
    Trump, after blaming Democrats, now also faults conservatives for failed health-care bill Source