The US Navy Says Santa and His Elves ‘Were Born into’ One of its Most Exclusive Clubs

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Among Santa Claus’ many accolades is membership in one of the U.S. Navy’s exclusive orders, a Navy command said on Twitter on Wednesday.

“Santa and his elves were born into the Order of the Blue Nose,” Navy Region Mid-Atlantic tweeted.

The command, which coordinates shore-based naval personnel and shore activities in the Mid-Atlantic region, added in an image attached to the tweet that the order “is a special designation reserved for personnel who have crossed the Arctic Circle above 66°34’N.”

“After completing assigned activities and a line-crossing ceremony, Sailors are welcomed into the Order and given a certificate,” the image says.

According to Navy tradition, sailors crossing into the Arctic Circle enter the realm of Boreas Rex, King of the North. To be accepted, those sailors have to complete a series of challenges.

It is one of the Navy’s rarest line-crossing ceremonies. While Navy submarines regularly operate in the Arctic, Navy surface ships haven’t had much reason or time to travel that far north, especially since the end of the Cold War.

But changing climate and renewed tensions with Russia have made the region a higher priority.

USS Harry S. Truman’s trip north of the Arctic Circle for a major NATO exercise in late 2018 was the first such trip by a U.S. carrier since the early 1990s. U.S. ships made several trips north of the Arctic Circle in 2020, spending much of their time in international waters in the Barents Sea, close to major Russian naval installations.

Sailors aboard guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt went through the ceremony on May 3, a few days after sailing into the Arctic Circle. Roosevelt’s Command Master Chief James Kuroski, who played the role of Boreas Rex, called the ceremony “an exhilarating experience for the body and mind and soul.”

Another Navy destroyer, USS Thomas Hudner, conducted the ceremony for its sailors while in the Canadian Arctic for an exercise in August.

“It was about 38 to 42 degrees throughout the morning [of the ceremony], but we rotated everyone through in about 10 minutes … get wet, get the ice water on you, and then you are initiated into the Kingdom of King Neptune and Boris Rex, which is nice,” Cmdr. Brett Litchfield, Hudner’s commanding officer, told Insider after the exercise.

Only 12 members of Hudner’s crew had done the ceremony before. “It is slightly rare for surface ships,” Litchfield said.

More recently, USS Ross made its second trip above the Arctic Circle this year, operating in the Barents Sea for 13 days at the end of October before heading to Tromso in northern Norway, where members of its crew joined the Order.

Navy Region Mid-Atlantic mentioned a few of the Navy’s other orders on Wednesday, including the Order of the Red Nose for sailors who make it into the Antarctic Circle at 66°30’S and the Emerald Shellback for sailors who cross the Equator at the Prime Meridian, which runs north-south through the Atlantic.

Though Santa is known for his travels, the command would only go as far as to say he was “likely” also a Golden Shellback, meaning he had crossed the Equator at the 180th meridian in the Pacific.

“His official record is heavily classified and @NoradSanta is the official release authority on his travels,” the command explained. Another mystery in the legend of Santa.

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