Tracking Santa Claus with the 173rd Fighter Wing

Klamath Falls, Ore. – Crews at Kingsley Field are busy tracking Santa Claus from deep in an underground bunker.

“Contact is made – 165 miles north of the field.”  Announces one of the airmen monitoring radar and communications.  “Looks like his callsign is ‘Santa One’.”

The men and women at Kingsley volunteer their time Christmas Eve for a special assignment.

“We need to make sure that Santa gets here safely.”  Says U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Dustin Long.  “So all the kids can get their gifts.”

Tech Sergeant Megan Alaniz is a veteran Santa tracker, volunteering since 2010.

“I do keep coming back.”  Notes Alaniz.  “I like keeping Santa safe, and make sure that he gets into town, and delivers all the presents.”

Some top secret details about Santa’s flight have recently been declassified, including information on Santa’s sleigh.

“It’s got the ‘ho ho jolly times two’ magical engines”  Notes Master Sergeant James Schols of the Oregon Air National Guard.  “Engines are working fine, just want to make sure we don’t have any hiccups.”

Sergeant Long notes that Santa’s airspeed has also been released.  “To make it across the planet, he has to deliver to all the kids, he’s got to be going mach 3 at least.”

“When you’re going mach 3, that’s a lot of candy cane dust.”  Adds Schols.

Santa’s exact payload remains classified.

“A lot.”  Offered Tech Sergeant Alaniz.  “That’s all I can relate to you, but it’s a lot – looks like there’s a lot of nice kids out there.”

The 173rd’s night flight training pays big dividends on Christmas Eve.

F-15’s are scrambled to provide cover and escort for Santa.

“We’re making sure the Grinch, and I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the Abominable Snowman has GPS tracker this year.”  Cautions Master Sergeant Schols.  “So that’s a real concern.”

While it’s no secret the 173rd would like some F-35’s in the future, Schols says the airmen will be happy with whatever Santa brings.

“One thing’s for sure – we’ll keep Santa safe.”  Assures Schols.  “And we’ll be ready to execute the mission whatever gets sent here.”


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