Reserve 130 wings participate in Operation Toy Drop

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Elizabeth Van Patten
  • 94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
by Senior Airman Elizabeth Van Patten
94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

12/17/2012 - DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga. -- Aircrews and C-130s took off from here Dec. 7 to join up to eight other aircrews and approximately 6,000 paratroopers from around the world as part of the 15th Annual Randy Oler Operation Toy Drop over Fort Bragg, N.C.

The operation is hailed as the world's largest combined airborne operation, according to Maj. James Light, 700th Aerial Squadron, 94th Airlift Wing C-130 instructor pilot and mission commander. Airframes from multiple bases will drop hundreds of paratroopers and distribute an estimated 20,000 toys to children in need Dec. 7-8.

"It's a great feeling to be able to help children in need out, especially during the holiday season," said Light. "For us, we get a lot of training out of it. We will be flying multi-ship formations with Guard, Reserve and Active Duty. We have some young Airmen who have never dropped personnel before."

For the 94th AW and Light, this will be their third year participating in the toy drop. The wing's aircrews have a diverse group as far as toy drop experience goes. Capt. Jonathan Lester, 700 AS C-130 pilot will be an aircraft commander for one of the Dobbins airframes and will be completing his first toy drop.

"Overall, there will be about 6,000 paratroopers, and we hope to be able to drop about 2,000 of them," said Lester "Not only is this a great opportunity for our guys, but it's also an opportunity for the paratroopers to jump with foreign jump masters and earn foreign jump wings."

Seven nations are participating in the 2012 Operation Toy Drop: Italy, Germany, Canada, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, and the Netherlands, according to Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command officials. Operation Toy Drop combines thousands of toys, Army paratroopers, hundreds of volunteers, dozens of allied military personnel, and more than a dozen Air Force aircraft.