Why Does NORAD Track Santa?
I wrote a story earlier last week about being able to track Santa as he delivers presents on Christmas Eve. It got me wondering how this 66-year tradition was started, so I got on the internet and started researching.
Here is what I found:
Every day of the year NORAD, North American Aerospace Defense Command, defends and patrols North America by tracking everything that flies in and around Canada and the United States. So on December 24, Christmas Eve, it is no different, except they focus their attention on tracking the big man himself, Santa Claus.
Like most good stories, NORAD’s special mission to track Santa began by accident. The story goes that in 1955 a young child was trying to reach Santa by phone. The child misdialed the department store phone number and ended up calling CONAD, the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Co.
Air Force Col. Harry Shoup, answered the phone call and quickly realized a mistake had been made. However, he played along and assured the child that he was in fact Santa. After several more calls came in, Shoup assigned a duty officer to continue answering calls, and a tradition was born. Now NORAD reports Santa’s location to millions of children around the globe and all of it is because of a typo. This special mission has become recognized as one of the Department of Defense's largest community outreach programs.
NORAD receives millions of unique visitors from more than 200 countries around the world each year on its website. NORAD has volunteers who answer the phone and they typically take 130,000 calls a year as well. Children and even adults can track Santa from the NORAD website, on Social Media, and through their mobile app.