Masterminded by then-Staff Sgt. Randy Oler in 1998, Operation Toy Drop started as a relatively small-time success backed by some big-time coordination. Oler's dream of incorporating Airborne operations, foreign military jumpmasters and local charities was a tall order, but Oler was never one to shy away from a challenge. He approached his commanding general within the U.S. Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) with the idea and was given the green light to spearhead the project.
That December, after eight months of planning, the first annual Operation Toy Drop had been completed on a wing, a prayer, and Oler's handshakes across several organizations. It was small, and only a small number of toys had actually been raised - but it was a start, and from that point on Oler had a foundation to build on.
Over the following years, Operation Toy Drop expanded to include aircraft support from Pope Air Force Base's 440th and 43rd Airlift Wings, and welcomed the participation of Soldiers from Fort Bragg's XVIII Airborne Corps and 82nd Airborne Division. These Soldiers’ enthusiasm to participate in the budding holiday tradition greatly outweighed the number of jump slots available. With limited space on the planes, the project's organizers arranged to draw names of participating Soldiers at random to fill the slots. The name drawing has become one of the main spectacles of Operation Toy Drop, where hundreds of Soldiers crowd together for the chance to hear their ticket number called, no matter how long the wait.
USACAPOC(A), a subordinate of the Army Reserve Command, has had control over Operation Toy Drop since Oler, a USACAPOC(A) Soldier, initiated the event in 1998. Oler's passion for helping those in need is echoed again and again among USACAPOC(A)'s nearly 10,000 Army Reserve Soldiers, whose civilian experiences play important roles in their units' missions overseas. By conducting civil-military projects and humanitarian assistance efforts, USACAPOC(A) Soldiers are making non-lethal contributions to global peace and stability across the world.