Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Tue, December 24 2013 at 3:12 PM, Updated: Tue, December 24 2013 at 3:40 PM
Several Airmen from Kingsley Field are volunteering their time on Christmas Eve tracking Santa...
The mission is carried out in secrecy behind the doors of 'Shadow Ops'.
Deep in an underground bunker, several volunteers are offering up their Christmas Eve to help track Santa Claus.
Staff Sergeant Kirsten Tubbe remembers very well what it was like to be a kid waiting for Santa...
"It was very important. His gifts are always the best."
Things happened a little different this year.
Master Sergeant Jason Patrick notes that Santa made a recent visit to Kingsley in an F-15 for a pre-flight briefing...
"Well, we discussed lot of things, mainly his flight plan into the area, and what he'd be doing when he got here, and how Kingsley could support that, and get him through here safely - the Grinch is always looking to ruin Christmas."
Colonel Wes French has flown with Santa before...
"We can keep up with him in the F-15...but he's very fast, and he's sworn us to secrecy about telling just how fast he is, and his true payload is not really known."
Master Sergeant Summer Jordre adds that Santa's exact flight plan is also kept 'top secret'...
"Sorry, that's confidential. We're not allowed to share that."
And if anyone needs proof of Santa, Master Sergeant Patrick notes they'll find it on his radar screen...
"He exists. He's right there - on his way to Klamath Falls right now."
And there could be more proof under the Christmas tree.
The crews are Kingsley are working in conjunction with N.O.R.A.D., or the North American Aerospace Defense Command to monitor Santa's travels tonight...the most recent word is that no delays are expected.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.