DECEMBER 16, 2014, RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) – Most children recognize the iconic figure whose rotund physique is decked out in a red and white suit with a joyous demeanor and a belly that jiggles like a bowl full of jelly every time he lets out a “ho, ho, ho!”
The figure is Santa Claus of course, and this year, in order to ensure every child has a chance to smile on Christmas Day, Santa’s workshop needed an upgrade.
For the toy delivery mission to less fortunate children Dec. 15, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Santa needed a little more help than usual. Knowing this, he enlisted the support of some very special elves at the 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron to help him pack and load his upgraded sleigh, a C-130J Super Hercules.
“Given what we are working on, I would say calling us Santa’s elves is a fair and accurate description,” said Tech. Sgt. Peter Schopperle, the 86th LRS aerial delivery NCO in charge. “We are all pretty festive here and in the holiday spirit, we like being able to help out the local community as best we can.”
Schopperle noted that many of the service members he works with have more in common with Santa’s elves than one might think.
“A lot of the guys here can be mischievous like elves are known to be,” Schopperle said jokingly. “In all seriousness though, it is an honor to be able to help, and we are all proud to be a part of this.”
Schopperle and his team, which included members from the 86th LRS, Papa Air Base, Hungary, and the Army’s 5th Quartermaster Detachment, began working on the bundles filled with toys to ensure they were ready to go when Santa arrived.
“We prepared the containers to be air dropped at (U.S. Army Garrison) Baumholder along with Santa so that he can deliver them to local families in need of a little support this holiday season,” Schopperle said. “All these guys work very hard at rigging these packages, and they really enjoy their work, especially for missions like this.”
Schopperle added that the toys came from donations from the members of the Kaiserslautern military community.
“It feels great to have us come together as a family and take part in an event as big as this,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Volk, a 86th LRS aerial delivery technician. “It really warms your soul to know that you are helping bring joy to children who need it.”
Though likened to elves, the differences between these Airmen and Santa’s tiny tinkerers go beyond pointed shoes versus combat boots; however, it is their similarities that just might make this Christmas one to remember for some very lucky children.