Family Programs
Operation Hay Drop: Colo., Wyo. Guard respond to twin blizzards of 2006 
By Air National Guard Master Sgt. Cheresa D. Theiral 
Operation Hay Drop 
Loadmasters from the Wyoming Air National Guard push a one-ton bale of hay from the back of their C-130 to a nearby heard of cattle, Jan. 3, 2007. The cattle are trapped in the snow due to two back-to-back blizzards that struck southeastern Colorado in late December. (Official Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. John P. Rohrer/RELEASED)

On Dec. 28, 2006, the second of two major back-to-back blizzards began re-burying Colorado in snow, and the response and recovery, which included efforts by Colorado and Wyoming National Guardsmen, lasted well into January.

The worst damage occurred in eastern and southeastern Colorado, where drifts were measured at 10- to 15-feet-deep, and even up to 18-feet-deep in Kiowa County. Thousands of cattle were stranded and local ranchers lost many of their herds, right in the midst of calving season.

Colorado and Wyoming Army and Air National Guardsman, using F-16s, C-130s and helicopters, worked together to locate and drop hay to the surviving cattle that were still trapped in the freezing snow.