Alberta Newspaper Group
Santa Claus is coming to town and he’s going to be escorted through Canadian airspace once again by NORAD as he and his reindeer take aim at rooftops across the country.
Every year the bi-national NORAD will be tracking Santa’s travels in addition to its regular duties.
Children from across the world on Christmas Eve will be able to see a video showing Santa entering Canadian airspace accompanied by NORAD CF-18s.
“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,” says Major-General Iain Huddleston, commander of the Canadian NORAD region.
The NORAD Tracks Santa website – http://www.noradsanta.corg – is now live. It includes a holiday countdown, games, activities, information of NORAD’s mission of defending North America and features’ Santa’s North Pole village.
The website supports languages including English and French along with German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese Spanish and Chinese.
The NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center will be operational starting at 4 a.m. MST on Dec. 24. People can call 1 (877) HI-NORAD (1 (877) 446-6723) for information on Santa’s location. Callers who are unable to speak to a volunteer will receive regularly updated, recorded information on Santa’s location.
NORAD has been tracking Santa since 1955 when a young child dialled the misprinted phone number from a department store advertisement in the local newspaper. That phone number rang into the Continental Air Defence Command (CONAD) Operations Center, NORAD’s predecessor, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 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.
Since 1955, fighter jets have escorted Santa every year. Today those NORAD jets include American F-15s, F-16s, F-22s and Canadian CF-18s.