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Friday, December 4, 2015

Canadian NORAD Region Names Santa's Fighter Escort Team

Captain Andrew Jakubaitis and Corporal Steeven Cantin. 
PHOTO: Leading Seaman Alex Roy
This year NORAD celebrates 60 years of tracking Old Saint Nicholas

From Royal Canadian Air Force Public Affairs

The Canadian NORAD Region kicks off the 60th anniversary of tracking Santa’s yuletide journey from the North Pole with the naming of his escort pilots and tracking crews for the important job.

Santa’s escort pilots from 3 Wing Bagotville, Quebec, are Captain Andrew Jakubaitis, and Captain Pierre-David Boivin. The CF-188 Hornet crew chiefs supporting them are Master Corporal Marc-AndrĂ© David and Corporal Steeven Cantin.

Santa’s escort pilots from 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta, are Lieutenant-Colonel William Radiff, and United States Air Force Lieutenant-Colonel Mark Bortnem. Their CF-188 Hornet crew chiefs are Corporal Sean Adel and Aviator Laurie Dunbar.

Santa Trackers from 21 Aerospace Control and Warning Squadron at 22 Wing North Bay, Ontario, include RCAF Major Darren Reck and Captain Pierre Grignon, and United States Air Force Technical Sergeant Amanda Pascoe. The team’s duty it is to maintain radio contact with Santa and his escort pilots.

“The men and women of the Canadian NORAD Region keep watchful eyes over North American airspace 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” says Major-General David Wheeler, Commander Canadian NORAD Region. “It’s a great responsibility to ensure Santa’s safe passage around North America so that he can continue his journey of goodwill and cheer. We’re honoured to celebrate 60 successful years of this gratifying mission.”

The NORAD Tracks Santa website: www.noradsanta.org, now live and available in eight languages, features Santa’s North Pole Village, including a holiday countdown, games, activities, and more.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. MST on Dec. 24, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight. NORAD’s “Santa Cams” will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations. Then, at 4 a.m. MST (6 a.m. EST), trackers worldwide can speak with a live phone operator to inquire as to Santa’s whereabouts by dialing the toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or by sending an email to noradtrackssanta@outlook.com

Any time on Dec. 24, Windows Phone users can ask Cortana for Santa’s location, and OnStar subscribers can press the OnStar button in their vehicles to find Santa.