Tracking Santa

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Mon, December 24 2012 at 5:08 PM, Updated: Mon, December 24 2012 at 5:19 PM

A 'Special Ops' crew at Kingsley Field has a big night ahead, charged with tracking Santa Claus...

"Pappy one shadow vector 360, set angels 2 - 5 - new mission - protect Santa."

This Christmas Eve is going to be a long night for the men and women of Shadow Ops.  But they say in the long run, it's worth it.

Technical Sergeant James Shols of the Oregon Air National Guard agrees...

"Well, it's a great responsibility, but I have several very highly qualified elves that have done this in previous years."

Master Sergeant Summer Witts was part of a contingent from Kingsley Field that traveled to the North Pole not long ago for a pre-flight check...

"He just wanted to make sure that we had everything prepared for his arrival, and that was pretty much it.  He was a very nice guy, he was ready for the year, and he had all the toys ready and packed."

Tech Sergeant Shols notes that Santa did share some new technology...

"Santa has some upgrades again, some radar upgrades - which we're not at liberty to talk about."

The ring of a phone triggers activity at Shadow Ops...

"Airman Weitzel - scramble scramble race flight, vector north.'  'Copy - race, scramble - set angels 2-7 vector 3-6-0."

An F-15 escort helps ensure a safe trip for Santa.

"Tell them he is airborne, and Santa is inbound - no vector traffic."

Master Sgt. Witts cautions that Santa's airspeed and flight plan remain 'confidential'...

"I don't think we're allowed to tell you that."

But Shadow Ops will confirm that Santa's on his way...

"Santa's crossing into Klamath County at this time."

-  Merry Christmas - and our thanks to the 173rd Fighter Wing from Kingsley Field!

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

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.

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