The Real-Life Humanitarian Mission Behind Netflix's Operation Christmas Drop: 'We Need This Positivity'
The U.S. Air Force's decades-old operation sees gifts and supplies parachuted to residents of remote neighboring islands
Operation Christmas Drop premiered on Netflix last week, and now fans of the holiday rom-com can learn about the real-life mission that inspired the story.
A new video courtesy of the streaming service explores the actual annual humanitarian effort that goes by the same name as the film, featuring interviews with the cast, filmmakers and Air Force members.
"Operation Christmas Drop is the longest-running humanitarian mission in the department of defense," Colonel and Vice Wing Commander Matthew Nicholson says in the clip, exclusively debuted by PEOPLE. "So it's been going on for decades now, but outside of the Air Force a lot of people don't really know about it."
The drop is a decades-old tradition where gifts and supplies are parachuted to residents of remote neighboring islands. "What the movie is portraying is what we really do in real life," Nicholson says.
Starring Kat Graham, Alexander Ludwig and Virginia Madsen, the film was the first movie to shoot in the U.S. territory of Guam. Streaming now on Netflix, it follows congressional aide Erica Miller (Graham) and Captain Andrew Jantz (Ludwig).
Erica is at the Air Force base for her job, looking for ways to defund the military facility, while Andrew has made the Christmas drop his pet-project. In time, however, their initial clash over the operation turns into a romantic connection.
"I love the fact that it was about a real mission that the Air Force does every year," Graham, 31, previously told PEOPLE. "I loved that I was playing a congresswoman's aide, [working] to shut down the mission. In a lot of ways it was the opposite to our last film, as this character was a bit of a Grinch. It was so much fun to read, and even more fun to shoot. It's the most fun I have ever had on a set."
In the new clip, the actress, who also starred in 2018's The Holiday Calendar, reiterates her appreciation of the real-life story behind the film.
"The military volunteers their time — they parachute down clothing, medical supplies items that people actually need," Graham explains. "The fact that Operation Christmas Drop is a real-life mission — I was just blown away. We need this positivity, it makes the world a better place."
"It's a really, really worthy cause, and to wrap a Christmas story around it and wrap a love story around that, it's just been amazing," director Martin Wood adds.
Operation Christmas Drop is streaming on Netflix.
- Long Island Man, 28, Battling Brain Cancer Loses Both Parents Days Apart: 'It's Unfathomable'
- Shaquille O'Neal Opens Up About How Exercise Helped Him Following Kobe Bryant's Death
- Sales of Bridgerton Novels, Which Inspired Hit Show, Have Exploded Since Netflix Premiere
- Sam Cooke's Granddaughter Nicole Says She Is a 'Steward' of His Legacy: 'I Do It with Pride'