ROME, N.Y – New York Air National Guard members and Royal Canadian Air Force personnel from the Eastern Air Defense Sector will play a key role Christmas Eve as the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracks Santa Claus and his reindeer.
"NORAD has supported Santa Claus Christmas Eve operations for 62 years and we are always delighted to help," said Col. Emil Filkorn, EADS commander. "I can assure everyone that EADS will do everything in its power to assist Santa with his critical mission."
EADS' Battle Control Center (BCC) will monitor Santa constantly as he travels across the eastern U.S. delivering toys and gifts. These activities are in support of the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, which leads the Santa monitoring effort.
The NORAD Tracks Santa website, www.noradsanta.org, launched on Dec. 1. The site features Santa's North Pole village, a holiday countdown, games and activities. The website is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Chinese.
NORAD starts its Santa tracking operation at 2:01 a.m. EST on Dec. 24. At 6 a.m. EST, children and parents can call the NORAD operations floor at 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org for live updates. Any time on Dec. 24, Amazon Alexa users can ask for Santa's location through the NORAD Tracks Santa skill for Amazon Alexa and OnStar subscribers can press the OnStar button in their vehicles to locate Santa. Bing and Cortana users can also find Santa's location on Dec. 24.
It all started in 1955 when a local media advertisement directed children to call Santa direct – only the number was misprinted. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the Crew Commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center. Thus began the tradition, which NORAD carried on since it was created in 1958.
The Eastern Air Defense Sector is a North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) headquarters unit located at the Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome, New York. Responsible for the air defense of the eastern United States, EADS is composed of New York Air National Guardsmen from the 224th Air Defense Group, a Canadian Forces detachment, Army, Navy and Coast Guard liaison officers, and federal civilians. EADS also has two detachments located in the National Capital Region.