It’s almost Christmas Eve, and Wisconsin’s state government is getting ready for another visit from Santa Claus. Governor Scott Walker is directing the Wisconsin National Guard and Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM), as part of “Operation Santa,” to be ready to aid Santa as he delivers presents across the state.
“We look forward to this mission every Christmas Eve,” Walker said in a statement released Friday. “The last few days everyone has been busy gathering extra reindeer feed, baking Christmas cookies and preparing hot cocoa to make sure Santa has everything he needs while in Wisconsin.”
Maj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, Wisconsin’s Adjutant General, said the Wisconsin National Guard and Wisconsin Emergency Management are ready to respond to help Santa as he travels across the badger state Monday night.
“It’s an exciting night for us. We have been coordinating with the North Pole to make sure we are set for Operation Santa,” said Dunbar. “I have seen the official list for Wisconsin and we owe our best to all the children.”
A KC-135 Stratotanker from the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee will link up with Santa in the skies over Lake Superior. The air refueling operation will provide “carrots, reindeer feed and water for the reindeer, as well as hot chocolate and cookies for Santa.”
Meanwhile, the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 115th Fighter Wing has F-16’s “on alert and ready to assist Santa should the need arrives.” Walker’s press release did not indicate what kind of enemy resistance Santa Claus could be facing given the defeat of the Burgermeister Meisterburger in 1970.
However, the 128th Air Control Squadron, based at Volk Field, Wisconsin, “will keep other air traffic out of Santa’s delivery corridors during his brief time in Wisconsin.”
Wisconsin Emergency Management is expected to keep Santa informed of any changing weather that may affect his safe travel, as well as ice conditions on rooftops. Local emergency responders will be on alert, too, to “assist Santa with directions and extra cookies as he delivers Christmas presents.”
Children of all ages wishing to track Santa’s journey can follow ReadyWisconsin on Facebook and Twitter beginning at 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve. They suggest using the hashtags #SantaAlert and #OperationSanta on social media.