12/04/05 — Santa arrives for party in an F-15E

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Santa arrives for party in an F-15E

By Turner Walston
Published in News on December 4, 2005 2:09 AM

On Christmas Eve, don't be surprised if you hear a sonic boom overhead. Santa Claus is traveling in a new aircraft, one that has a few more horsepower than Rudolph and his reindeer kin.

Santa arrived Saturday on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base at the 4th Maintenance Operations Group children's Christmas party in an F-15E Strike Eagle.

Monica Lynn said she organized the second annual party for about 300 children. In addition to visiting with the jolly one, the children and their parents enjoyed craft tables and a bouncy castle.

In between hearing Christmas wishes from boys and girls, Santa took the time to explain his decision.

"The world's getting bigger," Santa said. "There's more children. I don't have time to wait on Rudolph. I've got to get there faster."

The decision didn't sit well with the children in attendance.

Maricela and Tranquelino Trujillo, 7 and 4 years old respectively, said Santa should stick to reindeer.

Emily Howard, 9, asked Santa for a cell phone for Christmas. She said she was impressed by the aircraft, but that Santa should stick with reindeer, "because jets make too much noise."

Eight-year-old Elizabeth Williams asked Santa for a Nintendo DS. She said she enjoyed seeing Santa in the fighter jet.

"It was pretty cool," she said, though she hoped he'd use the reindeer on Christmas Eve. "It would be really scary," she said of an F-15 landing on her housetop. "I'd wake up."

Elizabeth agreed that the F-15 would be faster for worldwide travel, but wanted to be able to sleep through Santa's visit.

"The reindeer would be much quieter."

Santa's assistant Willie Ray Starling could not be reached for comment.