By Staff Sgt. Alexandra M. Longfellow | 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
THULE AIR BASE, Greenland — This year marked the 60th anniversary of Operation Julemand, which means Santa Claus in Greenlandic. Operation Julemand an annual humanitarian program that gives back to the local Greenlandic community that is organized and supported by personnel stationed at Thule Air Base, Greenland, and is the largest community outreach event Thule AB conducts each year.
The Operation Julemand Foundation has been conducting outreach events for the children of Greenland since 1959 when two Airmen began Operation Santa Claus, since renamed Operation Julemand. It began with providing Christmas gifts to local children, but over the years has expanded to support programs for children, youth and the elderly. Gifts are donated by Americans, Danes, Canadians and Greenlanders, while Air Greenland donates helicopter flights to deliver the presents and provides a sleigh ride to Santa and his helpers from Thule.
According to Col. Timothy Bos, 821st Air Base Group commander, the 10-person Operation Julemand committee, led by the base Chapel, doubled the amount of gifts collected this year. In the spirit of such a momentous achievement, Chaplain Capt. Matthew Gallo, Thule AB installation chaplain, and Staff Sgt. Steven Whitley, non-commissioned officer of Thule AB Chapel, ensured everyone on the committee was flown to Qaanaaq over the course of several months so they could meet the children and parents in the town and have a better understanding of the lives they are impacting.