36th EAS members honor fallen Airman during Operation Christmas Drop

  • Published
  • By Yasuo Osakabe
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Near the end of Operation Christmas Drop 2022, airmen participating in the event paused to honor the memory of a fallen member during a memorial ceremony on Dec. 9, 2022.

Senior Airman Jeremy Jutba-Hake, a member of the 36th Airlift Squadron, Yokota Air Base, Japan, passed away due to heart complications after landing at Andersen AFB during Operation Christmas Drop in 2015.

Airmen participating in OCD gather annually to hold a memorial ceremony in Jutba’s honor. This year, participants gathered around a C-130J Super Hercules to remember Jutba and offer an opportunity for members to recognize his service. The ceremony centered on a special bundle decorated with images of Jutba. The bundle contained donated humanitarian goods that would be delivered to communities in the Federated States of Micronesia later that day.

“Jutba always wanted to help people,” said Lt. Col. Crouch, 2015 OCD mission commander. “I think he enjoyed Operation Christmas Drop because that was his personality, a giver and a person willing to help others.”

After the ceremony, the aircraft carrying the Jutba bundle departed Andersen AFB as the last mission flight of OCD 2022. The aircrew took special care of Jutba’s bundle from load to drop, considering the special place Jutba’s memory holds during OCD.

“It was an honor to participate in Senior Airman Jutba’s memorial ceremony and be part of the Jutba flight this year,” said MSgt Luke McLimans, 36th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron operations superintendent and OCD operations senior enlisted leader. “Jutba will always be part of Operation Christmas Drop, and it’s important that we honor his memory and recognize his service and contribution to this special event.”

After aircrew lowered the aircraft ramp and pushed the bundle out, Jutba’s bundle arrived on time and target with a splash, marking one of the last humanitarian good deliveries during this year’s OCD.