POSTED: Friday, December 23, 2011 --- 11:15 a.m.
Press Release from the Governor's office:
Gov. Walker orders "Operation Santa" for Christmas Eve, State Ready to Welcome Santa Claus
Governor Walker today directed the Wisconsin National Guard and Wisconsin Emergency Management to assist with a very important mission Saturday night to help Santa as he makes his way through the Badger State on Christmas Eve.
"I want to make sure that Santa has everything he needs—from food for the reindeer to the latest weather reports," said Gov. Walker. "The Wisconsin National Guard and Wisconsin Emergency Management are ready to respond to ensure Santa is able to deliver presents to all the good boys and girls across Wisconsin."
“Our motto is always ready, always there - and the men and women of the Wisconsin National Guard and Wisconsin Emergency Management are ready to assist Santa on this special night,” said Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, adjutant general of Wisconsin. “We're ready for this mission.”
A KC-135 Stratotanker from Milwaukee’s 128th Air Refueling Wing will meet up with Santa and his team of reindeer in the sky over Lake Superior and will provide carrots and water for the reindeer and power bars and cocoa for Santa.
Once Santa and the reindeer part ways with the air refueling tanker, they will be met by a squadron of F-16 fighter jets from Madison’s 115th Fighter Wing who will serve as an aerial escort, providing security and navigational guidance, for Santa and his reindeer for the remainder of their mission in Wisconsin.
As a precaution, the 147th Aviation Battalion of Blackhawk helicopters have been tasked to pre-position critical supplies such as reindeer feed and provide extra lift support should the reindeer have problems pulling the heavy sleigh. The 120th Field Artillery Battalion will be providing illumination support if Santa encounters bad weather and needs help landing to deliver his toys."
Wisconsin Emergency Management will keep a close eye on the weather and will provide Santa with updated storm reports.
In addition, "ReadyWisconsin" will post updates on Twitter and Facebook regarding Santa's location as he travels across the state at www.facebook.com/ReadyWisconsin and www.twitter.com/ReadyWisconsin.
The Wisconsin National Guard will also coordinate their efforts with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). NORAD tracks Santa’s route across the United States and posts updates at their “Santa Tracker” website, http://www.noradsanta.org/en/index.html.