Team McChord sets off Operation Ham Grenade

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Tryphena Mayhugh
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

It’s that time of year again, which means Team McChord accomplished Operation Ham Grenade, receiving donated hams for McChord Field Airmen Dec. 17.

Each holiday season, the Air Force Association (AFA) McChord Field Chapter 334 and the Pierce Military and Business Alliance (PMBA), donate large hams to service members and their families to brighten their holiday spirit.

While Operation Ham Grenade has grown from what it was in the beginning, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected how the hams were donated this year.

“We have a little smaller delivery team than in years past, with no busload of volunteers,” said Andy Hockman, AFA McChord Field Chapter 334 president. “In its heyday, we had about 10 motorcycle escorts and a [bus] of community partners who spent the whole day delivering across Air Force and Army units. Last year, we split the task and AFA took over the Air Force units with the Association of the U.S. Army handling the Army units.”

This year, AFA and PMBA donated 355 hams to McChord Field service members, gathering together volunteers to help deliver them to each squadron.

“This effort has never been more important than it is right now during this pandemic, and the AFA and PMBA have continued to be amazing partners,” said Master Sgt. David Schnabel, 8th Airlift Squadron first sergeant.

They also passed along another 120 hams to the Reserves before their drill weekend at the beginning of December.

“We have had an even greater need this year with the challenges of people laid off from jobs and kids at home from school,” Hockman said. “Everyone can use some holiday cheer in this challenging year. Do it every year—yes—and the size of our donations seems to go up every year, so the need is definitely there.”

Operation Ham Grenade continues to provide a way for the community to come together and show their appreciation to McChord Airmen.

“My favorite part about Ham Grenade is the teamwork from community partners and chapter members, and getting to show that teamwork with those here in uniform,” Hockman said. “And the chance to get to wear some Christmas gear as we do it. It’s a lot of fun.”

Now through Jan. 4, 2021, any active duty, Guard or Reserve service member or Department of Defense civilian interested in joining AFA can sign-up for a free three-year membership at