DOBBINS AIR RESERVE BASE, Ga. --
As the holidays approach, many find themselves picking up part-time jobs to help pay for gifts during the holiday season. This year, Santa Claus himself decided to follow suit in a similar way, except his was a part-time job for the offseason. He decided to enlist in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. After all, there’s only so much ice fishing a person can do before he begins to seek some deeper meaning in life.
In an exclusive interview with the 94th Airlift Wing public affairs office at this year’s Operation Santa Lift, Santa discussed his time as a Reserve Citizen Airmen in the world’s greatest Air Force.
Before the other branches of the military get upset, he points out that it’s only natural he’d join the Air Force as he’s already used to flying missions. It’s also much easier to get to the rest of the world from the North Pole via plane versus other modes of transportation such as marching or taking a ship.
There was some initial concern on whether his experience would fit the needs of the Air Force Reserve, but he’s found a way to use his unique skills and experience to contribute to the mission.
“I can keep an eye on different places around the world as I fly, especially on Christmas Eve, and then feed information back the Air Force might need,” Santa said.
His new role as personnelist in the Air Force Reserve also provides him valuable skills for his full-time job, namely making it easier to look after the elves and reindeer when he returns to the North Pole, he said.
Mrs. Claus said she had some concerns of her own as she’s used to him only being gone for one night out of the year, and his military obligations sometimes require several nights away from the North Pole; however, she knows Santa is well taken care of by his fellow Airmen.
For the drill weekend this month, Mr. and Mrs. Claus flew into Dobbins on a C-130H3 Hercules. Mrs. Claus was assigned the role of navigator on the flight. She said she’s accustomed to this important job, as Santa regularly asks her for advice on routes during Christmas Eve.
“I usually try to help him with the routes,” said Mrs. Claus. “He’ll ask my opinion on which way might be the best way that night.”
She quickly made the distinction though that she is not a backseat sleigh driver, but a trusted advisor to Santa and the precious cargo he carries around the world.
Over the course of this busy drill weekend, the couple set up shop in Hangar 5 to hear the holiday wishes of military members and their families. Sitting on a stage in the hangar usually reserved for commander’s calls and aircraft maintenance, children lined up for what seemed like miles to ask the Clauses for everything from bicycles to video games.
As the event came to a close, Santa faced that all-to-familiar bittersweet realization of another holiday season that will soon come to an end. But similar to his fellow Reservists in attendance that day, he knows he’ll return again soon when duty calls.