Operation Christmas Drop welcomed first ever Religious Support Team

Photos by Sheridan Fidelman
Photos by Sheridan Fidelman

Operation Christmas Drop welcomed first ever Religious Support Team

by Sheridan Fidelman
The 374th Airlift Wing Yokota Chapel

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan - Yokota’s 374 MXG Religious Support Team (RST), Chaplain, Capt. Lance Brown and Religious Affairs, SSgt Wallace Pallicer, 374th AW Chaplain participated in the 70th Anniversary of Operation Christmas Drop (OCD), bundle build at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam 2021. OCD is the Department of Defense’s longest-running humanitarian aid and disaster relief training mission and provides relief to more than 50 islands throughout the Pacific. Operations such as OCD provide the U.S. and its partners the opportunity to enhance joint operational capabilities and maintain preparedness for real world emergencies in the INDOPACOM.

Ch Brown and SSgt Pallicer had the opportunity to represent the first ever flying RST on 13 Dec, 2021 as part of the 70th Anniversary OCD. When one considers that 80 years ago the Japanese were at war with the United States and flying planes over these same skies carrying bombs to drop on Guam and neighboring islands, it seems like a Christmas miracle that we are now working together to bring goodwill to all and share Christmas with those who were once our enemy.

“We are absolutely humbled at the opportunity to have represented the first ever flying RST for the 70th Anniversary OCD.  I believe the opportunity provided incarnational ministry by doing the Lord’s work alongside our MXG, OG and LRS Riggers in the thick of the mission so as to care for their souls while providing practical, ethical, provisional, spiritual and mental health support. This echoes the heart of the Heavenly Father who is with them even when away from home, which truly highlights our ministry of presence and ease of access to care,” said Ch Lance Brown, 374th AW/HC.

The RST’s assistance was displayed in full force with the team’s ability to operationalize ministry by flying with the operators to provide air and ground support with flight crew and maintainers. Yokota’s RST also supported the airdrop of 192 bundles, 25 sorties, and 230 flight hours culminating in a 100% mission completion rate; making it the largest Operation Christmas Drop to date.

“Our team was blessed to lead the charge in spiritual care at the 'tip of the spear' for this operational mission in humanitarian aid through the blessing of the crews and each individual package sent to those who experienced the love of a Heavenly Father at Christmas,” said Ch Brown, 374th AW/HC.

Ch Brown stated, “The Chaplain Corps unites people through God’s love and genuine care for those entrusted to us, including building relationships and ministering to USAF, ROKAF (Republic of Korea Air Force), and JASDF (Japanese Defense Force), personnel. This is accomplished through life giving conversation, impartation of spiritual strength and morale boosting, visitation supplies and community resiliency events such as the Multi-National attended Flight Line BBQ hosted by the chapel at “Santa’s Workshop” right where the maintainers ready the sleigh.

The participation of the Chaplain Corps in Operation Christmas Drop is a reminder that it is more “blessed to give than to receive” and “the tireless efforts towards caring for the souls of others is all worth it.”


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