The Canadian NORAD Region (CANR) marks its 62nd year of tracking Saint Nicholas’ yuletide journey from the North Pole with the naming of its escort pilots, maintainers and tracking crews for the high-profile assignment.
Captain Pierre-David Boivin and Captain Pierre-Claude Quirion were selected from 3 Wing Bagotville, Que., as Santa’s escort pilots. Sergeant Marc-André David is the maintainer supporting the CF-18 Hornet pilots. This year’s team from 3 Wing belongs to 433 Tactical Fighter Squadron.
Santa’s escort pilots from 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alta., are Lieutenant-Colonel Forrest Rock and Captain Kevin Mittleholtz. The CF-18 Hornet maintainers supporting them are Corporal Kevin Richmon and Aviator Gillian Lavoie. All four are part of 401 Tactical Fighter Squadron.
Santa Trackers from 21 Aerospace Control and Warning Squadron’s Charlie Flight, 22 Wing at CFB North Bay, Ont. include Major Kathleen Leaton, Staff Sergeant Patrick Bisigni (United States Air Force) and Master Corporal-Gabriel Chartier. Their duty is to maintain radio contact with Santa and his escort pilots.
“The men and women of NORAD keep a watchful eye over the airspace of Canada and the United States 24 hours a day, and we are very proud to do so. Every year, we take on an additional, but very special responsibility – employing the same technology and systems we use to defend our two countries to track Santa’s passage and escort him on his journey through North America. It’s truly an honour to support Santa as he delivers joy and goodwill around the world. On behalf of our entire team at the Canadian NORAD Region, I wish everyone a safe and happy Holiday Season!”
Major-General Christian Drouin
Commander Canadian NORAD Region
· The NORAD Tracks Santa website (www.noradsanta.org) now live and available in eight languages, featuring Santa’s North Pole Village, which includes a holiday countdown, games, activities, and more.
· Official NORAD Tracks Santa apps are also available in the Apple and Google Play stores, so parents and children can countdown the days until Santa’s launch on their smart phones and tablets! Tracking opportunities are also offered on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Google+. Santa followers just need to type “@noradsanta” into each search engine to get started.
· Starting at 2:01 a.m. EST 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 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 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Any time on Dec. 24, Amazon Alexa users can ask for Santa’s location through the NORAD Tracks Santa skill for Amazon Alexa, and OnStar subscribers can press the OnStar button in their vehicles to locate Santa. Bing and Cortana users can also find Santa’s location on Dec. 24.
· Santa trackers, escort pilots, and maintainers will be available for interviews until Dec. 20, 2017.
Source: Media Release