JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA —
The 15th Airlift Squadron, 437th Airlift Wing, sent a C-17 Globemaster III to drop nearly 1,000 Army paratroopers at Pope Army Airfield at Fort Bragg, North Carolina for the Army’s annual Randy Oler Memorial Operation Toy Drop Dec. 9-10.
Paratroopers lined up early in the morning for the opportunity to receive a lottery ticket and to donate an unwrapped toy if they so desired. Soldiers are not required to bring a toy to receive a lottery ticket. Soldiers receiving winning lottery tickets perform an airborne operation with a foreign jumpmaster.
All toys donated are provided to children in the Fayetteville, N.C. for the holidays. "It is a great opportunity to provide the children of Fayetteville with toys during this Christmas season. It also gives valuable training for the 15th AS and provides the platform for members of the 82nd Airborne to receive their foreign jump wings," said Capt. Eric Darwin, 15th AS pilot.
Paratroopers who jump with a foreign jump master earn the jump wings from that respective country. Other career related incentives include jump training for the paratroopers and flight hours and training for pilots.
"I was honored to be a part of this great community outreach event while showcasing joint Army and Air Force capabilities,” said Capt. Josh Bauer, 15th AS pilot.
The event has been an annual Fort Bragg tradition since 1998. It benefits the community as well as the Airmen and Soldiers involved.
"I'm proud of Eric and his team that went up to Pope,” said Lt. Col. Eric Bucheit, 15th AS commander. “Our Eagles led the way by accomplishing more drops then initially planned; dropping nearly half the jumpers when two C-130s became unavailable.”
On Dec. 13 the 437th AW sent two more C-17s to participate in another Toy Drop where the crews flew from here to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida and dropped more than 100 additional paratroopers.