Like Santa’s reindeer, C-130 cargo planes spread Christmas joy across the Pacific

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NEWS AND OPINION:

Let’s journey to Andersen Air Force Base on Guam, located 3,800 miles west of Hawaii and established in 1945 as a B-29 bomber base. The base is home to 8,000 joint service members, civilians, and contractors, including 2,500 dependents. Here’s an idea of the Christmas season on the base:

“Operation Christmas Drop is the Department of Defense’s longest-running humanitarian airlift operation. The tradition began during the Christmas season in 1952 when a B-29 Superfortress aircrew saw islanders waving at them from the island of Kapingamarangi, 3,500 miles southwest of Hawaii. In the spirit of Christmas, the aircrew dropped a bundle of supplies attached to a parachute to the islanders below, giving the operation its name. Today, aairdropoperations include more than 50 islands throughout the Pacific,” notes a written report from the base itself, which can be found at Andersen.af.mil/ocd.

“Operation Christmas Drop is a PACAF event which includes a partnership between the 374th Airlift Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan; the 36th Wing, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; 734th Air Mobility Squadron, Andersen AFB of the 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; the University of Guam; and the ‘Operation Christmas Drop’ private organization which leads the fundraising and donations for the operation. Andersen is used as a ‘base camp’ to airlift the donated goods to islanders throughout Micronesia,” the report said.



“C-130J Super Hercules crews airdrop food, supplies, educational materials, and toys to islanders throughout the Federated States of Micronesia, and Republic of Palau. These islands are some of the most remote locations on the globe spanning a distance nearly as broad as the continental U.S.” it advised.

For those who need a translation, PACAF stands for “Pacific Air Forces” and “C-130J” is a four-engine turboprop transport aircraft.

The effort began Dec. 6 and delivered nonperishable food, fishing supplies, school books and toys to 42,000 people on 58 remote islands across 1.8 million square miles, and included support from volunteers along with multi-national aircrews from Japan, South Korea and Canada, and ground support from Philippines and Australia.

REAGAN’S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

Ronald Reagan was an eloquent president, that is for sure. Here is what he said in his Christmas message to the nation in 1981.

“On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ with prayer, feasting, and great merriment. But, most of all, we experience it in our hearts. For, more than just a day, Christmas is a state of mind. It is found throughout the year whenever faith overcomes doubt, hope conquers despair, and love triumphs over hate,” Reagan told Americans that year.

“It is present when men of any creed bring love and understanding to the hearts of their fellow man. The feeling is seen in the wondrous faces of children and in the hopeful eyes of the aged. It overflows the hearts of cheerful givers and the souls of the caring. And it is reflected in the brilliant colors, joyful sounds, and beauty of the winter season,” he said.

“Let us resolve to honor this spirit of Christmas and strive to keep it throughout the year. Nancy and I ask you to join us in a prayer that prudence, wisdom, and understanding might descend on the people of all nations — so that during the year ahead we may realize an ancient and wondrous dream: Peace on earth, good will toward men.”

EISENHOWER’S EGG NOG

The 34th president of the United States had a recipe for egg nog. And here it is, courtesy of the Eisenhower Presidential Library, which included this version of the seasonal drink in “Ike’s Cookbook” — which also offered recipes for biscuits, chili con carne and “President Eisenhower’s Old Fashioned Beef Stew.”

But on to the egg nog recipe. Here it is, verbatim from the source:

“Egg Nog

1 doz. egg yolks

1 lb. granulated sugar

1 qt. bourbon (part of this may be either rum or brandy)

1 qt. coffee cream

1 qt. whipping cream.

“Put the dozen egg yolks in an electric mixer. Feed in the granulated sugar very slowly so as to get a completely smooth, clear light mixture. When this is perfectly smooth, begin to add the bourbon very slowly. (The process up to here would normally consume at least 30 minutes — with a good mixer.) Add one quart of coffee cream.

“Put the whole thing in the ice box until a half hour before serving, at which time the whipping cream should be beaten until only moderately thick. Be careful not to get it too thick. Mix it slowly into mixture and serve with nutmeg.”

Find the Eisenhower Presidential Library at EisenhowerLibrary.gov. For a closer look at the president’s personal life, go to the “The Eisenhowers” pull-down menu and click on the “Ike and Mamie’s Favorites” section.

THE COOKIE FACTOR

Monmouth University has looked into the Christmas cookie preferences of the nation’s citizenry to discover that a “frosted sugar cookie” is the favorite, according to its very specific poll. About a third of respondents — 32% — preferred the sugar cookie.

Next on the cookie popularity parade comes gingerbread cookies, favored by 12%, followed by chocolate chip cookies (favored by 11%), snickerdoodles (6%), butter cookies (4%), chocolate cookies (4%); peanut butter cookies (4%) — plus spice cookies, fruit and nut cookies, oatmeal and almond cookies, plus teacakes and brownies — all favored by 2% of the respondents.

And one more finding: Another 13% cited a wide range of unspecified “other varieties,” according to the poll.

See more of the survey and its particulars in the Poll du Jour at column’s end

POLL DU JOUR

• 89% of U.S. adults celebrate Christmas.

• 79% think that Santa Claus would put them on a “nice list”

• 76% play Christmas music during the entire holiday season.

• 75% decorate their home.

• 69% make Christmas candy, cookies, or desserts

• 47% have a favorite Christmas cookie.

• 43% volunteer for charitable activities.

• 9% go caroling.

SOURCE: A Monmouth University poll of 803 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 30-Dec. 4. Respondents could cite multiple activities.

• Merry Christmas, and thank you for reading Inside the Beltway.

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