With the most critical job in the world at Christmas, it’s no wonder that the highly trained and specialized Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command Region (CANR) will once again be tracking and escorting Santa as he makes his way through Canada.
Although NORAD holds the very critical job of defending Canadian and United States air space during the holiday season, it also “assumes the supplementary mission of tracking Santa as he travels safely around the world,” according to a press release from the Department of National Defence.
“NORAD defends North America by using complementary, multi-domain defence capabilities, including military aircraft, radars and satellites. These capabilities and assets also enable CANR to escort Santa safely through Canadian airspace on December 24th. I want to reassure all children and their parents that we will do everything we can to ensure Santa’s safe passage across Canada while he delivers joy and gifts,” said MGen. Iain Huddleston, Commander of the Canadian NORAD Region.
How you can track Santa this Christmas
The NORAD Tracks Santa website is now live, allowing children and adults alike to check out where Santa is. The website also features Santa’s North Pole Village, which includes a holiday countdown, games, activities and information regarding NORAD’s mission of defending North America.
The website is available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, and, this year, Korean.
Starting at 6 a.m. MST on Dec. 24, you can join in the fun by calling in at 1 (877) HI-NORAD (1 (877) 446-6723) for information on Santa’s location.
“Children from across the world will be able to watch and to see NORAD CF-18s joining up with Santa and his sleigh,” stated the press release.
Established in 1958, NORAD has been identifying and intercepting aircraft for the last several decades, defending both American and Canadian air space.
NORAD began tracking Santa after a young child accidentally dialled NORAD’s predecessor, Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center, mistaking it for a department store advertisement in the local newspaper.
“United States Air Force Colonel Harry Shoup, the commander on duty that night, was quick to realize a mistake had been made and assured the child he was Santa. He then assigned a duty officer to continue answering calls,” stated the press release.
Escorting Santa Since 1955
Since 1955, NORAD has been escorting Santa annually with American F-15s, F-16s, F-22s and Canadian CF-18s.
“When the jets intercept Santa, it’s a friendly occasion; NORAD fighter pilots tip their wings to say, “Hello Santa! Welcome back and good to have you on our radar again!” Santa always waves. He loves to see and greet the pilots,” added the release.
Track Santa this Christmas online at here or download the official NORAD Tracks Santa app on Apple and Google Play store. Follow Santa’s journey and share your story on Facebook using the hashtag #NORADTracksSanta.