Kingsley Field crews tracking Santa

Klamath Falls, Ore. – Oregon Air National Guard crews at Kingsley Field are on special assignment tonight.

NBC5 secured special clearance for a peek behind the scenes tracking Santa Claus.

‘Shadow Ops’ crews want to keep the bad guys away from Santa.

“It is an extra concern.”  Notes Senior Airman Zach Hamilton.  “The means to which we keep those things from being a threat to Santa are classified.”

Preparations for tracking Santa began last year.

“Essentially right after Christmas.”  Says Senior Master Sergeant Jodey Wilson.  “We start up with the plans, we have to work with the elves, Santa Claus.”

Santa is operating a new sleigh this year, and some of the pilots from Kingsley got a test flight with him.

“I did not – a lot of my friends did.”  States 1st Lieutenant Graham Johnson of the U.S. Air Force.  “And I’m very jealous.  But I got to fly next to the sleigh, which I thought was pretty cool.”

Santa’s exact flight plan is top secret, and fighter jets help provide a safe escort.

We asked Senior Airman Penny Snoozy if she believes in Santa Claus…

“Of course I do.  I wouldn’t get my gifts if I don’t.”

Our special thanks to the men and women of the 173rd Fighter Wing for their help with this story…and a very ‘Merry Christmas’ to all of our men and women in uniform.

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