Coast Guard flies Santa in for kids

by Petty Officer Matthew Belson

CAPE COD, Mass. – The sound of a helicopter could be heard in the distance, loud and powerful, approaching the crowd standing on the tarmac.

“Who’s that coming?” asked several parents.

“It’s Santa,” screamed the cluster of kids, pointing to the aircraft as it flew overhead.

On its second pass the Coast Guard HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter turned back and slowly hovered. The door opened and Santa Claus waved to the crowd.

After landing, Santa got out and was greeted by Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The pair walked towards the exuberant children who were eager to tell him what they wanted for Christmas.

The fly-in of Santa was the highlight of a holiday breakfast hosted by the Cape Cod Chapter of the Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association and the Cape Cod Spouses Organization.

More than 350 people from the Coast Guard, Air Force and Army families at the Massachusetts Military reservation gathered in the hanger at Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod to join together in some holiday fun.

“It’s a great time of the year for the community to get together,” said Coast Guard Chief Damage Controlman James Kline, president of the Cape Cod Chief Petty Officers Association. His wife, Tricia, is president of the Spouses Organization and helped co-chair the event with Patti Pulliman, also a Coast Guard spouse.

Kline said the breakfast used to be held in the chief’s mess but over time a larger venue was needed.

“Every year this seems to just keep getting bigger,” said Keith Rees, the Command Master Chief Petty Officer for the air station.

Several members of the local Coast Guard Auxiliary flotilla volunteered their time, including Auxillarist Ron Armonath who dressed up as Santa.

Wendy Lachowicz held her four year-old daughter, Mikayla, and waited patiently on the long line to have a picture taken with Santa. Her husband, Michael, is a pilot at the air station and she said they just recently transferred from Air Station Miami, along with their two year-old son, Christian.

Lackowicz said a similar holiday event is held at the air station in Miami, including a fly-in by Santa, but nothing on the scale organized at Cape Cod.

“My kids think Santa comes on a helicopter,” she said.

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