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JBSA News
NEWS | Dec. 24, 2020

NORAD has provided 65 years of safe skies for Santa

By NORAD Public Affairs North American Aerospace Defense Command Public Affairs

Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, NORAD tracks everything that flies in and around North America in defense of our homelands. On Dec. 24, we have the very special mission of also tracking Santa.

NORAD has been tracking Santa since 1955 when a young child accidentally dialed the unlisted phone number of the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, believing she was calling Santa Claus after seeing a promotion in a local newspaper.

Air Force Colonel Harry Shoup, the commander on duty that night, was quick to realize a mistake had been made, and assured the youngster that CONAD would guarantee Santa a safe journey from the North Pole.

Thus a tradition was born that rolled over to NORAD when it was formed in 1958. Each year since, NORAD has dutifully reported Santa's location on Dec. 24 to millions across the globe.

Thanks to the services and resources generously provided by numerous corporate contributors and volunteers, NORAD Tracks Santa has persevered for more than 60 years.

Though the program began due to a misdialed number, NORAD Tracks Santa has flourished and is recognized as one of the Department of Defense's largest community outreach programs.

Each year, the NORAD Tracks Santa Web Site receives nearly fifteen million unique visitors from more than 200 countries and territories around the world. Volunteers receive more than 130,000 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 and Instagram.

For more information about NORAD Tracks Santa, visit www.noradsanta.orgFor more information about NORAD, visit www.norad.mil.