Thule Airmen execute Operation Julemand, spread joy to Greenlandic children
By Technical Sgt. Erica Picariello, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 03, 2019
THULE AIR BASE, Greenland --
Thule Air Base, Greenland, personnel launched the first round of toy deliveries to remote Greenlandic villages on Dec. 22, 2018.
Participants from Thule AB raised money and gathered toys for 190 children to be delivered to four remote Greenlandic villages, most more than 100 kilometers from the installation. Operation Julemand Foundation began in 1959, when two Airmen began "Operation Santa Claus," since renamed "Operation Julemand." The word Julemand is Danish for "Christmas Man" and is the equivalent to Santa Claus.
The annual effort started with providing Christmas gifts to local children, and has expanded over the years to include playgrounds and educational materials. This multi-national effort is held by U.S., Danish and Canadian military and civilian employees at Thule to promote good will to the Greenlandic people. During this time of year, the only way to access these villages is by air or dog sled. The next round of toy deliveries for the operation are slated for January 2019.
“I’m humbled to have this opportunity to honor our Greenlandic partners through Operation Julemand and continue a tradition started in 1959,” said Col. Mafwa Kuvibidila, 821st Air Base Group commander. “One of our priorities here is to take care of our Airmen, all members of Team Thule and especially our local Greenlandic community partners. Our mission at the 821st ABG wouldn’t be possible without the amazing relationships we share with the wonderful communities around Thule AB.”
The members that participated in this year’s delivery are Kuvibidila, Staff Sgt. Elisheba Horcutt, 821st Support Squadron, Capt. Scott Foust, Thule base chaplain, and Master Sgt. Michael Shortsleeves, 23rd Space Operations Squadron, Detachment 1 chief, who played Santa Clause this year.