News

Operation Turkey Drop: mission accomplished

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 4th, 7th and 8th Airlift Squadrons help distribute turkeys during Operation Turkey Drop at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Nov. 17, 2020. The Air Force Association McChord Field Chapter and the Pierce Military and Business Alliance organized the drop of more than 400 turkeys to Airmen at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for the Thanksgiving holiday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Callie Norton)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 4th, 7th and 8th Airlift Squadrons help distribute turkeys during Operation Turkey Drop at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Nov. 17, 2020. The Air Force Association McChord Field Chapter and the Pierce Military and Business Alliance organized the drop of more than 400 turkeys to Airmen at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for the Thanksgiving holiday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Callie Norton)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron and 62nd Maintenance Squadron help distribute turkeys during Operation Turkey Drop at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Nov. 17, 2020. The Air Force Association McChord Field Chapter and the Pierce Military and Business Alliance organized the drop of more than 400 turkeys to Airmen at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for the Thanksgiving holiday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Callie Norton)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 627th Logistics Readiness Squadron and 62nd Maintenance Squadron help distribute turkeys during Operation Turkey Drop at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Nov. 17, 2020. The Air Force Association McChord Field Chapter and the Pierce Military and Business Alliance organized the drop of more than 400 turkeys to Airmen at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for the Thanksgiving holiday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Callie Norton)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 627 Communications Squadron help distribute turkeys during Operation Turkey Drop at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Nov. 17, 2020. The Air Force Association McChord Field Chapter and the Pierce Military and Business Alliance organized the drop of more than 400 turkeys to Airmen at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for the Thanksgiving holiday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Callie Norton)

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 627 Communications Squadron help distribute turkeys during Operation Turkey Drop at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Nov. 17, 2020. The Air Force Association McChord Field Chapter and the Pierce Military and Business Alliance organized the drop of more than 400 turkeys to Airmen at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for the Thanksgiving holiday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Callie Norton)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --

Once again Operation Turkey Drop spreads holiday spirit to service members, fostering a Thanksgiving season they will never forget.

Every year, the Air Force Association (AFA) McChord Field Chapter and the Pierce Military and Business Alliance (PMBA), round up their volunteer troops to donate turkeys to service members and their families who may not have been able to celebrate on their own.

“This effort has never been more important than it is right now during this pandemic, and the AFA and PMBA have continued to be amazing partners,” said Master Sgt. David Schnabel, 8th Airlift Squadron first sergeant.

The AFA exceeded their goal this year, distributing giant turkeys to more than 400 families of active duty and Reserve Airmen.

Another 140 turkeys will go to Western Area Defense Sector and Camp Murray National Guard families, courtesy of PMBA.

“We had to cancel a lot of events this year – but we couldn’t cancel this,” said Andy Hockman, AFA McChord Field Chapter president.

Hockman spoke to the importance of Operation Turkey Drop this year more than ever. With losing older members of the AFA to the devastation brought on by the pandemic, it was important to the AFA and PMBA to give back to service members this year.

“With COVID-19, this has been an especially difficult year for our Airmen and we wanted to make sure our support of them continued this holiday season,” Hockman said.

Preparation and funding for this event started almost two years ago, including heavy coordination with the 62nd Airlift Wing during the last two months.

“This wouldn’t be possible without the help and coordination from all of our sponsors, we appreciate their support of the Airmen and growing our organization,” Hockman said.

Throughout the last 10 years, Operation Turkey Drop has grown five times larger than it started years ago. 

“It has grown so much that we had to separate it from the Army efforts last year to make sure we could get to every family in need,” Hockman said.

Bird count increased to 403 from last year’s 330, and they will be back to do it all again next month for Ham Grenade.