Winnipeg's 38 Signal Regiment's 1 Squadron was on a special mission: connecting some lucky Winnipeg children to the North Pole so they could talk directly to Santa via military radio.

Operation Radio Santa took place at various schools in the city on Wednesday, including Bertrun E. Glavin Elementary School on Antrim Road.

Cpl. Alan Haley, who has been on every operation, says it basically uses the same equipment that is used for a command post, but the goal is different from the usual military aims.

"To see the kids smile, it's definitely a nice change and very heartwarming," Haley said.

Teacher Paula Hlady said her students have been anxiously waiting for the chance to talk to Santa.

"They've been really excited since we told them maybe a week ago now," she said.

"Every day, they've been counting down for Operation Santa."

Santa himself answered each child's radio call with a hearty, "Ho ho ho. This is Santa in the North Pole. What's your name?"

Some of the children asked if he has received their letters, while others launched in with their wish lists.

Grade One student Olivia Norris said it was an amazing experience.

"I asked for a kitty and a fish, and he said look under the tree on Christmas Eve," she said.

It's the third year the squadron has hosted the event.