Raptors and reindeer and whiskers on kittens...
By Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf
/ Published December 12, 2011
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- I caught up with Santa's helper, Col. Terry Scott, 3rd Operations Group deputy commander, and got an inside scoop on Santa and the F-22 Raptor.
SSgt. Zachary Wolf: How did you become Santa's helper?
Col. Terry Scott: As you know Santa is very busy this time of year; he gave me a call and asked if I could fill in for his planned visit to the Dicemen (90th Fighter Squadron) kid's party.
Wolf: When did you become Santa's helper?
Scott: This is the second year I have been helping out Santa since I transitioned to the F-22. Santa thought since it was a fairly fast machine, it would be useful for quick visits to and from the North Pole and it would be a reasonable substitute for a team of reindeer.
Wolf: What can you say to the rumors that Santa is looking to use the F-22 as his new sleigh or using one to pull his sleigh?
Scott: This is a complete rumor; even though the F-22 is one the most powerful and fastest fighters in the world and could do the job of pulling Santa's sleigh very well, it is no comparison for a team of reindeer!
See, in the F-22 you have about 68,000 pounds of thrust in full afterburner. That pales in comparison to the thrust of a single reindeer and Santa has a team of nine reindeer!
Additionally, the F-22 does not have the appropriate lighting of at least a 1.21-
Gigawatt-powered red light in the nose.
Wolf: Have you and Santa talked about how much faster it would be to use a Raptor rather than reindeer?
Scott: We did discuss using a team of F-22's to pull the sleigh, but Santa decided he would stick to the tried and true power and speed of the reindeer.
Wolf: An F-22 is equivalent to how much of Santa's reindeer power?
Scott: Reindeer power is about a zillion more times powerful than the F-22's engines.
Wolf: Why would Santa look at using a Raptor to make his runs?
Scott: The 3rd Wing's F-22's are on standby in the event Santa needs some help delivering toys to the kids.
Wolf: Where would Santa put the presents if he used the Raptor?
Scott: We would put them on Bomb Release Units in the internal and side weapons bays if required.
Wolf: Would Santa need in- flight refueling or would the same thing happen to the F-22 that makes the reindeer fly?
Scott: The F-22's would require in-flight refueling to get around the world to support Santa. That's why the reindeer are so much more efficient as they only require some oats and hay that can be carried on board the sleigh.
Wolf: How do you think Santa's image would change if kids saw him flying an F-22 instead of a sleigh?
Scott: I think Santa has a great image of doing great things for the kids and community, so no matter what he arrives in; it's always Christmas when he arrives!
As kids eagerly awaited to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas, I spoke to two sisters about Santa's arrival in an F-22.
Wolf: What did you think of Santa's new sleigh that you saw him arrive in?
Kynzee Coarsey: It was really cool and I would like to see Santa fly around in it more.
Kylee Coarsey: It was cool but it was a lot different and I like the sleigh and the reindeer better.
Wolf: How many reindeer do you think it would take to make an F-22 fly?
"We think it's important at the 90th Fighter Squadron to have a Dicemen family identity and this is just part of it," said Air Force Lt. Col. Joseph Kunkel, 90th FS commander.
"We try to do things to get the families together at least once a month and we thought it would be a great idea to have Santa come down here and give gifts to the boys and girls," he said.