Eighteen Navy and Marine Corps aircraft are temporarily calling JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, home while the airfield at MCAS Kaneohe Bay is under construction, according to a release. The airframes include 12 P-3 Orion surveillance aircraft, four C-20 Gulfstream jets, and two MK-58 Hawker Hunter “aggressor” trainer jets. Around 175 aircrew and maintainers will accompany the aircraft, as of Oct. 1, to continue their anti-submarine, anti-surface, and intelligence gathering missions for the next two months as construction on the airfield progresses. This is the fourth time Navy and Marine Corps aircraft have relocated to the base from Kaneohe Bay in six years, due to an ongoing runway construction project, said officials with Hickam’s 15th Wing. The units are expected to return to Hickam in 2015 and 2016 again, said Glen Bailey, the 15th Wing plans and programs support chief.
The Air Force will begin its 71st annual Operation Christmas Drop on Dec. 4. The weeklong exercise is a yearly tradition that delivers supplies such as food, fishing equipment, school books, and clothes to remote islands in the Pacific. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian mission.