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NORAD continues to track Santa 68 years later

By Tara Clow Dec 24, 2023 | 6:00 AM

Santa Claus is preparing for his annual trip around the world.

NORAD will once again be making sure he has a safe trip.

It’s the 68th year the North American Aerospace Defense Command has been monitoring Jolly Ole St. Nick’s flight on the 24th.

It all started in 1955, with an advertisement misprint of a phone number.  A young child called, trying to reach Santa, and mistakenly reached the unlisted number of Continental Air Defense Command’s Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado instead.  The Director of Operations Colonel Harry Shoup answered the phone, and played along,  instructing his team to check the radar for  Santa as he made his way from the North Pole.  That was the very beginning of NORAD’s one-day mission of tracking Santa.

NTS Program Manager 1st Lieutenant Sean Carter says “Tracking Santa one night a year is an extra special assignment that is taken seriously,  just like the daily NORAD mission of aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning. At the end of it all, though, he said there is one thing that makes the NTS mission special, successful, and come to life each Dec. 24 – the people.”

You can track Santa Claus on the website or the app on your phone, or talk to one of the many volunteers who will be manning the phones on December 24th.