Operation Christmas Drop: Daedalians Give Back

In addition to the great work done by our Foundation, Daedalians around the country give back throughout the year through outreach, partnerships, and charitable activities. Among the most noteworthy of these efforts is Harley H. Pope Flight #48’s participation in Operation Christmas Drop (OCD) to the remote islands in the Pacific.

2021 marked the second consecutive year Flight #48 has participated in OCD. The Flight donated $2,000, which supported 8 bundles. This contribution was second overall in total OCD donations, behind a large corporate donation. Col. Kevin “Kmart” Martin, USAF and Daedalian Member #10,020 and current 374th Operations Group Commander, along with Flight #48’s Captain, Col. Joe Fitzpatrick, USAF (Ret.) have been the driving force behind the Daedalians effort the past two years.

Col. Martin is “very proud of all the participants of the 70th Operation Christmas Drop.  This year included the USAF, Japan Air Self Defense Force, and for the first time the Republic of Korea Air Force!  We also hosted several other international observers from seven nations.  Most of our USAF coordination and participation revolved around the 36th Airlift Squadron and the package of maintenance and riggers to support their operations.”

OCD celebrated its 70th anniversary this year. The effort brings food, clothing, tools, fishing supplies, and Christmas gifts to residents of the remote outer islands of the Federated States of Micronesia. Largely isolated and with limited modern comforts, OCD provides a vital lifeline to necessities for the islanders and is a much-anticipated annual event. In addition to being one of the largest humanitarian efforts of its kind, it provides flight training opportunities to participating nations.

In addition to direct donations in support of OCD from the Flight, Flight Captain Col. Fitzpatrick arranged a briefing on Operation Christmas Drop (OCD) for the Flight’s September meeting. Presented via Zoom by Col. Martin, 374th Operations Group Commander, along with this year’s OCD Mission Commander, Capt. Alex Randall, the Flight was brought up to speed on OCD’s history and this year’s operational plan. Involvement with OCD has facilitated connection with the Flight and active-duty Daedalians.

Col. Fitzpatrick had learned about OCD while active-duty and stationed at Yokota AB, Japan in the late 70s. However, he didn’t have a chance to participate during his military career. He summed up the unique opportunity to give back “I can’t think of a better way to make an impact to the Federated States of Micronesia islanders but to make monetary donations toward bundles.”

Col. Martin thanks his fellow Daedalians “Again, I was very impressed by the awesome charity from my fellow Daedalians who continue to serve whether in or out of the cockpit!  This was my third and final OCD as the 374 AEG Commander, which has been an absolute highlight of my career.” The Daedalian boxes were dropped by the 36th Squadron, commanded by Lt. Col. Steve Massie, USAF to the islanders of Micronesia. We applaud the Flight, all Daedalian donors, and all personnel and volunteers involved with OCD in another successful effort.