SHAKO: Happy Holidays Around the World

December 25, 2011 at 12:54 am Leave a comment

NORAD Tracking Santa

As we write this, Santa Claus is somewhere over New England on his annual whirlwind trip around the world dispensing toys and other presents.

We know this because NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, is tracking the jolly old elf through one of the most effective radar detection systems the world has ever seen. The joint U.S.-Canadian air and space defense operation headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, has been keeping an eye on Santa’s yearly itinerary since 1955 when a child’s errant call to a department store hotline was answered at the air defense command by an Air Force colonel with a sense of whimsey. What started out as a kind gesture has turned into a tradition involving hundreds of volunteers including First Lady Michelle Obama.

But that’s not all the defenders of liberty and democracy doing this holiday season. From North Carolina to Japan, from Bahrain to Arizona and lots of places in between, the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard are keeping people safe, spreading a little seasonal cheer in their communities and bringing joy to some deserving little people. Below is a sample of some of the doings.Please click on the photos to enlarge them.

Your 4GWAR editor wishes all our visitors a happy and safe holiday season … and urges you all to keep watching the skies — you never know who may be flying by.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Tyler J. Bolken

More than 2,000 guests are entertained by 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Band, accompanied by the Craven Community Choir, during the annual Christmas Concert 2011 at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amanda Huntoon

Santa Claus greets sailors and their families a San Diego, California after landing in a Navy HS-60F Seahawk helicopter for the Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 10 and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 21 children’s Christmas party. The First Class Petty Officer Associations from both commands sponsored the event, which included bounce houses, balloon, animals, and gifts from Santa.

U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nathanael Callon

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mike Morris, 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron Loadmaster Flight Non-commissioned officer in charge, pushes a pallet of fuel onto a C-17 Globemaster III prior to a mission Dec. 23. The 816th EAS airdropped 40 pallets of fuel to remote forward operating bases in Afghanistan. The fuel will be used for generators, heaters and vehicles. Morris is deployed from Charleston Air Force Base, S.C.

U.S. Army photos by Staff Sgt. Sharilyn Wells

Paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division — and toys — prepare for the 14th annual Randy Oler Toy Drop at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The toy drop is an annual event where soldiers donate new, unwrapped toys and also get a chance to train and jump with international jumpmasters. The donated toys are distributed to underprivileged children within the community.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Martin Platek

U.S. Marine Corps Medium Helicopter Squadron 764 (HMM-764) of the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, flew CH-46E helicopters into the Grand Canyon, over Supai Village, during the beginning stages of Operation Havasupai. HMM-764’s mission was to  join the Flagstaff Community Toys For Tots Organization in delivering Santa Claus and toys to children of the Havasupai tribe, as well as conduct training operations throughout  the Grand Canyon.

Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Martin Platek

Here’s a bird’s eye view of the rough and remote country the Marine helos visited.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Cynthia Z. De Leon

Children from the Bahrain School sing Christmas carols to U.S. service members and civilian employees at the Naval Support Center on the Middle East island nation.

U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod

Sometimes the troops and their families are on the receiving end of holiday generosity. More than 800 tree growers and their customers donated about 900 trees to Fort Bragg soldiers through the Christmas Spirit Foundation’s Trees for Troops program. 

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Entry filed under: Afghanistan, Photos, SHAKO, Traditions. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

FRIDAY FOTO (December 23, 2011) FRIDAY FOTO (December 30, 2011)

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