Defense Agency Has Breaking News on Santa

“Why is the military reporting on Santa?” you ask. Well, it started with a bad phone number that had kids calling an important colonel who was trying to defend the United States and Canada. Now just why does a military group with a serious name like North American Aerospace Defense Command track Santa and take […]

1955 Sears ad with the misprinted telephone number that led to the NORAD Tracks Santa Program

“Why is the military reporting on Santa?” you ask. Well, it started with a bad phone number that had kids calling an important colonel who was trying to defend the United States and Canada.

Now just why does a military group with a serious name like North American Aerospace Defense Command track Santa and take notes on just where he is and what he is up to?

Any kid can tell you, the man who says, “ho, ho, ho” is no danger to anyone. He may eat one too many a cookie, but that’s no crime. So why is the military watching him?

Good question.

For more than 50 years NORAD and a group that came before it, CONAD, have tracked Santa on Christmas Eve.

This publicity picture for NORAD Tracks Santa shows two Northeastern Air Defense Sector members with radar equipment in December 2008.

The adventure began in 1955 after Sears put the wrong number for Santa Claus into an advertisement. So all the kids who called trying to talk to Santa got none other than the Commander-in-Chief of another group, the Continental Air Defense Command.

Col. Shoup got on it right away. Within no time his staff was checking CONAD’s powerful radar equipment to give children everywhere information on exactly where Santa was and when he was there.

Since that time, the United States and Canada got together and that’s how CONAD became NORAD. And the men, women, family and friends of NORAD decided to keep up the Christmas mission that Col. Shoup started. They pitch in to take phone calls and emails from children all around the world.

So starting Dec. 24, children can track Santa online and get the latest info right quick.

Between now and then, kids can also get updates on what the big guy in red is up to.

 


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