Aviator Jesse Tratch (left), Major Kyle Wilson, Captain Brett Bobowski and Corporal Vincent Cloutier from 4 Wing Cold Lake are ready for Santa Claus’ visit to Canada on December 24th. CF-188 Hornet pilots Major Wilson and Captain Bobowski, with the assistance of their groundcrew, Aviator Tratch and Corporal Cloutier, will escort Santa through Canadian airspace in western Canada. Image credit: Corporal Maxime St-Cyr, DND.
A time-honoured tradition of escorting Santa Claus through the skies on Christmas Eve continues for air bases in Canada and the United States, including 4 Wing Air Base in Cold Lake.
The Canadian division of NORAD announced 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.
From 4 Wing, Major Kyle “Betty” Wilson, a US Marine Corps pilot from Clearwater, Florida, and Captain Brett “Villain” Bobowski from Regina are this year’s escort pilots to help St. Nicholas deliver presents safely this Christmas.
Corporal Vincent Cloutier from Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec and Aviator Jesse Tratch also from Regina will serve as maintainers.
This holiday season marks the 64th year of NORAD tracking Santa’s Christmas trek.
The tradition began in 1955 after an advertisement misprint led to children telephone calling CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline” instead of Santa.