The kids hang out in the flight rooms at the squadron until the announcement comes from the duty desk that The Big Man is in the landing pattern. Then they rush out with their parents to mob the flight line, where everyone shrieks and waves as Santa taxies by.
See the white line? The kids have to stay behind that to be safe. F-15 engines are loud, not to mention prone to sucking down loose objects like children.
While The Jolly One parks in a secure location, the crowds return to the squadron building where there's a party with cookies to decorate and glittery, gluey crafts to make and of course, a line to meet Santa when he's taken off his flying gear.
My kids also know that Santa can be tracked on Christmas Eve via NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command.) This year, it appears that Google Earth will also have a tracer on The Much Anticipated Visitor.
I hope NORAD and Google Earth keep a close eye on Santa. One year---in a story that's now part of Holmes family Air Force lore--- the fighter squadrons painted giant wooden Christmas cards to post along the main road into the base. Greetings of Joy and Peace and Love and All That.
Except that a group of well-meaning lieutenants (I don't think there were any wise captains among them) designed their elaborate sign to feature Santa's sleigh flying through the air, with an F-15 fighter jet as St. Nick's personal escort. The only problem: The F-15 was firing a missile. In a tragic artistic mistake, it looked like the missile was headed right for the unsuspecting Santa.
You can imagine the complaints.