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RAAF takes part in Christmas relief mission

RAAF takes part in Christmas relief mission

Australia has joined partner nations for a humanitarian exercise in the West Pacific.

Australia has joined partner nations for a humanitarian exercise in the West Pacific.

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has commenced “Operation Christmas Drop”, joining partner nations to deliver 200-kilogram bundles of goodwill to support over 20,000 people in remote communities across the West Pacific.

This includes deploying a C-130J Hercules carrying 24 personnel to Guam in support of the United States Pacific Air Forces’ (PACAF) humanitarian airdrop activity.

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The packages include fishing line, rice, sporting equipment and school supplies, along with donated toys, books and clothing.

 The RAAF is expected to be supported by counterparts from Japan, New Zealand, India, and the Republic of Korea.

Over the course of the operation — to take place from 1 December to 12 December — the nations are scheduled to fly to each conduct airdrop missions in the Republic of Palau, Northern Marianas, and Federated States of Micronesia.

The area covers approximately 6 million square kilometres of the West Pacific.

Air Commodore David Strong, Commander Air Mobility Group, noted the importance of PACAF’s Operation Christmas Drop, with Australia participating since 2015.

“This year marks our return to Christmas Drop Guam after a three-year absence and we are honoured to again have the opportunity to support our Pacific partners and celebrate Christmas with some of the more remote parts of the region,” AIRCDRE Strong said.

“Additionally, the operation promises to be a professionally and personally fulfilling activity for the crews involved.

“It’s a unique opportunity to work side-by-side with other Indo-Pacific Hercules aircraft and build relationships at the aviator level, which will benefit our cooperation in future.”

 Related: RAAF, South Korean Air Force refuel for first time]

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