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Santa zooms to Hill AFB for early Christmas

Santa waves to members of the 419th Fighter Wing and their families after “arriving" in an F-35 Lightning II

Santa waves to members of the 419th Fighter Wing and their families after “arriving” in an F-35 Lightning II Dec. 8 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The wing hosts the children’s Christmas party annually to provide an opportunity for reservists to reconnect after a busy year of multiple deployments around the globe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Justin Fuchs)

Candi Kimber, spouse of a 419th Fighter Wing reservist, watches over her daughter, Cambrie, as she colors at the Children’s Christmas Party Dec. 8 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah

Candi Kimber, spouse of a 419th Fighter Wing reservist, watches over her daughter, Cambrie, as she colors at the Children’s Christmas Party Dec. 8 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The children also had the opportunity to meet with Santa at the event. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Justin Fuchs)

Taya Tesch, granddaughter of a 419th Fighter Wing reservist, sits with Santa at the wing's Children’s Christmas Party

Taya Tesch, granddaughter of a 419th Fighter Wing reservist, sits with Santa at the wing's Children’s Christmas Party Dec. 8 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The event was held for families of the 419th Fighter Wing and included bounce houses, arts and crafts, and music. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Justin Fuchs)

Santa poses for a picture in front of an F-35 Lightning II before visiting members of the 419th Fighter Wing Dec. 8 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah

Santa poses for a picture in front of an F-35 Lightning II before visiting members of the 419th Fighter Wing Dec. 8 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The wing hosts the children’s Christmas party annually to provide an opportunity for reservists to reconnect after a busy year of multiple deployments around the globe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Justin Fuchs)

Santa poses for a picture in front of an F-35 Lightning II before visiting members of the 419th Fighter Wing Dec. 8 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah

Santa poses for a picture in front of an F-35 Lightning II before visiting members of the 419th Fighter Wing Dec. 8 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The wing hosts the children’s Christmas party annually to provide an opportunity for reservists to reconnect after a busy year of multiple deployments around the globe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Justin Fuchs)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – Santa took a break from his busy schedule to visit the 419th Fighter Wing for an early holiday surprise. When the jolly old elf stopped by Hangar 37 for the wing’s annual Christmas party, he arrived in style, flying an F-35 Lightning II in lieu of his traditional sleigh.

Santa greeted children, passed out presents, and met with family members of the more than 1,200 reservists who serve here one weekend each month.

“The children’s Christmas party shows that the 419th cares about families,” said Tech. Sgt. Matt Kimber, engineering assistant in the 419th Civil Engineer Squadron. “Getting together during the holidays helps to strengthen the 419th family bond.”

Festivities lasted all afternoon and included snacks, crafting stations, bounce houses, and holiday music. The party provided an opportunity for wing members to reconnect after a busy year of multiple operations and deployments around the globe.