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CF-188 Hornet pilots will help you track where Santa Claus is now

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With the clock ticking as Santa’s big night approaches, the Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Region has named the CF-188 Hornet pilots, maintainers and trackers charged with the mission of monitoring and escorting Santa Claus as he completes his magical journey through Canadian airspace.

Santa noted that when he visited NORAD Tracks Santa, they described his sleigh as ‘a versatile, all-weather, multi-purpose, vertical short take-off and landing vehicle capable of travelling vast distances without refueling.’

“My reindeer and I call it ‘the world’s most magical gift transporter’,” said Santa. “Ho Ho Ho.”

This Christmas will mark the 64th consecutive year of NORAD tracking Santa’s yuletide journey around the world.

The defence of Canada and the United States is NORAD’s top priority. NORAD is a binational U.S. and Canadian command charged with aerospace and maritime warning and aerospace control of North America, as well as monitoring aerospace activity globally.

However, every year during the holidays, NORAD assumes the supplementary mission of tracking Santa as he travels around the world.

CF-188 escort pilots and maintainers are chosen from 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec, and 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta, while the trackers are chosen from the Canadian Air Defence Sector at 22 Wing North Bay, Ontario.

“Defending Canada and the United States is what NORAD does, thanks to the dedicated men and women who keep a watchful eye over the airspace of both countries 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” said Major-General Alain Pelletier, commander of the Canadian NORAD Region.

“This is accomplished through a sophisticated system of technology and aircraft that also gives us the unique capability to track Santa’s passage and escort him on his journey throughout North America—a mission we are honoured to accept each and every year. ”

From 3 Wing, Captain Michaël “Metro” Lachance (of Winnipeg, Manitoba) and Captain Felix “Wrangler” St-Jean (of La Pocatière, Quebec) will serve as Santa’s escort pilots, while Corporal Amélie Tremblay-Gauthier (of Arvida, Quebec) and Corporal Kevin Savoie (of Windsor, Quebec) will form the maintenance team.

From 4 Wing, Major Kyle “Betty” Wilson (a United States Marine Corps pilot originally from Clearwater, Florida, who is on exchange with the Royal Canadian Air Force) and Captain Brett “Villain” Bobowski (of Regina, Saskatchewan), are this year’s escort pilots, with Corporal Vincent Cloutier (of Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec) and Aviator Jesse Tratch (also of Regina) serving as maintainers.

Captain Brad Ticky (of Montreal, Quebec), Sergeant Francis Doyon (of Thetford Mines, Quebec) and United States Air Force Staff Sergeant Sierra Rathbun (of Rome, New York) from 21 Aerospace Control and Warning Squadron’s Delta Flight at 22 Wing will be the Santa trackers on the 24th. Their duty is to maintain radio contact with Santa and his escort pilots.

“On behalf of our entire team at the Canadian NORAD Region, I wish everyone a safe and happy Holiday Season,” added Major-General Pelletier.

A message from Santa to Prince Edward County children:

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