If you enjoy romantic comedies with a Christmas theme then you're in luck, Cheesy Holiday Rom-Com season is officially underway, and Netflix just dropped its second 2020 offering: Operation Christmas Drop. The movie follows Erica Miller (Kat Graham), a Congressional aide who finds herself on assignment in Guam over the holidays. Her objective? To write a report that would allow her boss to defund Guam's U.S. Air Force base. The target? Operation Christmas Drop, a real military operation wherein cargo planes drop gifts and supplies to remote islands at Christmastime.
Erica’s boss, Congresswoman Angie Bradford (Virginia Madsen), believes the Christmas Drop is proof that the base is unnecessary and needs to be shut down. But once Erica arrives, she learns the truth about the tradition with a little help from her handsome tour guide Captain Andrew Jantz (Alexander Ludwig), who spearheads the event. It's obvious that these two characters are going to end up together. It is a bit less obvious that Operation Christmas Drop was actually inspired by a real annual tradition.
According to the Anderson Air Force base website, Operation Christmas Drop is considered to be “the Department of Defense’s longest-running humanitarian airlift operation,” having started all the way back in 1952. Per Pacific Air Forces, the U.S. Air Force works together with the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force, Royal Australian Air Force, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force to deliver these air dropped packages to over 20,000 people across 56 remote islands throughout Micronesia. However, unlike the one from the Netflix movie, the real mission doesn’t just take place over one single day — that the stuff of holiday-themed fantasy. In reality, all 176 bundles of goodies go out for delivery over the course of a week and a half during the month of December.
In the film, budget-conscious Erica is understandably skeptical about the whole ordeal. However, Andrew assures her that not a single cent comes out of the taxpayer’s pocket. Everything from clothes and food to medicine, educational materials, and toys are donated by citizens, local businesses, and church groups. He also points out that the drop serves as a great training exercise for the participating military airmen. The same is true for the real-life drop, which is a big part of what made Ludwig so interested in the role in the first place.
"A big shout-out to the men and women who help with the drop every year," the one-time Hunger Games star told People during a recent interview. "Over 50,000 pounds of humanitarian aid is dropped to people living on some of the most remote islands on the planet, and without them, these people wouldn't be able to get by. It's amazing what they do."
So there you have it. Who says you can't learn something new from watching melodramatic holiday rom-coms?