Paratroopers donate gifts to Operation Toy Drop

December 3, 2016 by  

A seasonal, multinational toy drop is due to take place for the 19th year running in early December, as airborne troops prepare to donate and distribute Christmas gifts in the Fayetteville area as part of an annual parachute training exercise.

As well as being an important training exercise for thousands of soldiers, focusing on skills involving transportation, food and medical provision, parachute rigging, and the chance to work and train with foreign nationals and reservists, it is also the opportunity to collect toys and gifts that can then be distributed throughout the local area.

Over the past two decades, in excess of 100,000 toys have been collected and distributed, with the 2015 toy drop collecting more than 6,000 gifts. On the morning of the event, soldiers will line up for lottery tickets and the chance to donate a gift, then the tickets will be drawn for the order of jumps for the following day. This process continues throughout the week until all the jumps have been completed.

The event, first organised in 1998 by the late Staff Sergeant Randy Oler, is a multinational event with representatives from Germany, Netherlands, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Canada expected to take part this year.

Citizens may want to mark the date in their calendars, as Operation Toy Drop is due to start this Thursday, December 8.