Troops with care packages provided by Operation Tango Mike. Courtesy photo.
LAKEPORT, Calif. — What began as a gesture to show support to a few friends deployed to Afghanistan in 2003, became a twenty year effort and has supported thousands of military personnel, Operation Tango Mike.

Operation Tango Mike translates from military jargon to Operation Thanks Much. The organization is an all volunteer 501(c)3 nonprofit.

The Board of Supervisors honored the group with a proclamation in honor of its 20 years of services on Tuesday morning.

Currently, 85 to 100, and sometimes more, care packages are sent every month to troops in the Middle East, Africa, aboard ships and in many other countries.

Military families are supported as well. Many volunteers that support Operation Tango Mike have volunteered their assistance with home repairs, transportation and more.

With no base or military installation in the local area, folks who wish to support troops and their families gather via Operation Tango Mike. Military families are welcomed and are provided with emotional support, knowing that they and their loved ones are appreciated.

On the third Thursday of every month, volunteers gather at 6 p.m. at Umpqua Bank, 805 11th St., Lakeport, to prepare care packages for deployed military personnel.

The annual exception comes every March, when Operation Tango Mike hosts an open house at 5 p.m. The community is invited to visit and become acquainted with what the group does, and longtime supporters are encouraged to join in the festivities.

Monthly shipping costs of $2,000, and items for care packages, are all covered through donations and fundraising. No government funding is provided for shipping or goods.

“Forget politics, support our troops,” is the mantra that has helped ensure that all are welcomed and appreciated at Operation Tango Mike functions. The effort does not involve politics and exists to support our troops and their families.

Packing parties are family friendly and children are encouraged to participate. Every care package is decorated with stickers and artwork by “the world’s greatest decorating crew” of children.

Troops express appreciation in thank you messages that are sent to Operation Tango Mike.

Staff Sergeant Landerman recently wrote, “I wanted to say thank you! All of us here really do appreciate what the members of Operation Tango Mike have done for us. Especially during this holiday season. I know many of the airmen living in the dorms with no family here especially appreciated it. I remember being that airman. Deployed during the holidays surrounded by people I’ve just met. Far from home and feeling lonely. I know the airmen here felt the same way I did. But it’s people like you and the members of Operation Tango Mike that show us someone cares and appreciates what we’re doing. So again, thank you.”

The public is invited and encouraged to help celebrate and commemorate twenty years of community effort. To date, more than 25,000 care packages have been shipped.

On Thursday, March 16, at 5 p.m., there will be an open house at Umpqua Bank, 805 11th Street, Lakeport. It will be an opportunity to pay a visit and learn more about Operation Tango Mike, read letters from troops, browse photos and get acquainted.

Delicious food will be served. Catering is generously being donated by Rosemary Martin of Rosey Cooks, LLC.

The regular monthly packing party will take place following the open house, and as holiday items are shipped one month in advance to ensure timely delivery, the March care packages will be Easter boxes. You are invited to bring along any special treats, candies, correspondence or items you would like to include in care packages.

For further information or to add someone to the care package recipient list, please call 707-349-2838 or e-mail

Staff sergeant Christian Landerman. Courtesy photo.