On December 24th, 1955 at the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) – NORAD’s (North American Aerospace Defense Command) forerunner – the phone rang. This was the direct line phone to the center’s director of operations.
This line was to inform Operations that we were at war with the Soviet Union. Col. Harry Shoup, the director of operations, answered the line and was asked an all important question that was to decide an ongoing mission for the next 60 years.
A little girl on the other end of the line asked Colonel Shoup, “Are you Santa Clause?” Shoup paused, obviously recognizing the little girl was not President Eisenhower and then answered, “Yes, I am”.
The little girl’s phone call was due to a misprint in a local Sears’ Department store ad asking kids to call Santa. That night, anyone answering the phone at CONAD immediately became Santa Claus and spoke to the children.
60 years later, the tradition continues.
As of this writing, NORAD’s countdown clock to Santa’s departure from the North Pole is less than four and half hours. Internet giant, Google, is also tracking Santa. I am partial to the original trackers and their military intelligence. Earlier in the year, Santa visited the NORAD Command Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado for his yearly briefing by the joint-command staff. Nothing is left to chance for Santa. The visit is always welcomed by the staff at NORAD.
One of the perks of being an official escort pilot for Santa Claus as he enters North American airspace is that the pilot gets to meet Santa on his visit to Colorado. This is probably not a recruiting tool for The US Air Force for future pilots, but maybe it should be.
On a personal note to parents, I recommend letting kids know that the CGI animated videos detailing Santa’s progress at NORADTracksSanta are just that; computer animated videos. Video of the real Santa Claus and his sled, would contain too many secrets that would jeopardize Santa’s yearly mission.
Santa’s scheduled departure is 7:00AM GMT, December 24, 2015. That’s 1:00AM Central Standard Time, here is the USA. If you miss the departure, you can always watch the videos provided at the website.
Speaking of videos, I’m providing the 3-minute promotional video for NORAD Tracks Santa 2015.
HAPPY 60TH ANNIVERSARY SANTA CLAUSE AND NORAD!
KEEP ON TRACKING!