A 2015 graphic commemorates the 60th anniversary of the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s work tracking Santa’s Yuletide journey. NORAD graphichttp://www.defense.gov/Media/Photo-Gallery/igphoto/2001321906
What is NORAD? While it is North American Aerospace Defense Command the name appears chosen to emphasize its role in protecting against nuclear weapons attack: “The North American Aerospace Defense Command conducts aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning in the defense of North America.” http://www.norad.mil/AboutNORAD.aspx
“NORAD Tracks Santa
On Dec. 24, 1955, a call was made to the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. However, this call was not from the president or a general. It was from a girl in Colorado Springs who was following the directions in an advertisement printed in the local paper – she wanted to know the whereabouts of Santa Claus.
The ad said “Hey, Kiddies! Call me direct and be sure and dial the correct number.” However, the number was printed incorrectly in the advertisement and rang into the CONAD operations center.
On duty that night was Colonel Harry Shoup, who has come to be known as the “Santa Colonel.”
Colonel Shoup received numerous calls that night and rather than hanging up, he had his operators find the location of Santa Claus and reported it to every child who phoned in that night.
Thus began a tradition carried on by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) when it was formed in 1958. Today, through satellite systems, high-powered radars and jet fighters, NORAD tracks Santa Claus as he makes his Yuletide journey around the world.
Every Christmas Eve, thousands of volunteers staff telephones and computers to answer calls and e-mails from children (and adults) from around the world. Live updates are provided through the NORAD Tracks Santa Web site (in seven languages), over telephone lines, and by e-mail to keep curious children and their families informed about Santa’s whereabouts and if it’s time to get to bed.
Each year, the NORAD Tracks Santa Web Site receives nearly nine million unique visitors from more than 200 countries and territories around the world. Volunteers receive more than 12,000 e-mails and more than 70,000 calls to the NORAD Tracks Santa hotline from children around the globe.
This year, children and the young-at-heart are able to track Santa through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and TroopTube.tv. To follow us on any of these Web sites, type in @noradsanta into the search engine and start tracking.
NORAD Tracks Santa has become a magical and global phenomenon, delighting generations of families everywhere. For more information about NORAD Tracks Santa, please visit http://www.noradsanta.org For more information about NORAD, please visit http://www.norad.mil“http://www.norad.mil/AboutNORAD/NORADTracksSanta.aspx
NORAD Tracks Santa program kicks off for 2018
Release No: 18-014 Nov. 30, 2018
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. —
The North American Aerospace Defense Command is celebrating its 60th anniversary of defending the homeland along with its tradition of tracking Santa’s journey around the globe on Dec. 24.
“In addition to our day-to-day mission of defending North America, we are proud to carry on the tradition of tracking Santa as he travels along his yuletide flight,” said Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, commander NORAD and U.S. Northern Command. “The same radars, satellites and interceptors employed on December 24 are used year-round to protect Canada and the United States.”
NORAD is a binational U.S. and Canadian Command charged with aerospace and maritime warning and aerospace control of North America as well as monitoring aerospace activity globally. However, every year during the holidays, NORAD assumes the supplementary mission of tracking Santa as he travels around the world. It all started in 1955 when a local ad directed children to call Santa – only the number was misdialed. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the crew commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center, the predecessor to NORAD.
Now, the 63rd iteration of NORAD Tracks Santa kicks off Dec. 1, with a more mobile friendly website, social media channels, “Santa Cam” streaming video and a call center that will be operating around the clock on Dec. 24. More than 1,400 volunteers are expected to join NORAD on Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs to help track Santa’s journey.
NORAD Tracks Santa is truly a global experience, delighting generations of families everywhere. This is due, in large part, to the efforts and services of numerous program contributors…
The NORAD Tracks Santa website can be found at http://www.noradsanta.org. On Dec. 24, users may call or text 1-877-HiNORAD for Santa’s up-to-date location.
The defense of Canada and the United States is NORAD’s top priority. NORAD is on alert around the clock, every day. For 60 years, NORAD aircraft have identified and intercepted aircraft in the execution of NORAD’s North American air sovereignty and air defense missions. Because NORAD is a binational command, our responses do not distinguish between the two nations and draw on forces from both countries…
Starting at 2:01 a.m. EST on Dec. 24, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight. NORAD’s “Santa Cams” will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations. Then, at 6 a.m. EST, trackers worldwide can speak with a live phone operator to inquire as to Santa’s whereabouts by dialing the toll-free number 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723), you can also text this number for automatic updates [standard data rates apply for non-Verizon customers]; by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by following the official NORAD Tracks Santa social media channels. Additionally, any time on Dec. 24, Amazon Alexa users can ask for Santa’s location through the NORAD Tracks Santa skill for Amazon Alexa, and OnStar members can push the blue OnStar button in their vehicles to locate Santa. Bing users can also find Santa’s location on Dec. 24.
Featuring Santa’s North Pole Village, the website includes a holiday countdown, games, activities, information regarding NORAD’s mission of Homeland Defense, and more. The website is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Chinese. Tracking opportunities are also offered through social media on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram…” http://www.norad.mil/Newsroom/Press-Releases/Article/1701351/norad-tracks-santa-program-kicks-off-for-2018/