Every year since 1955, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has tracked the jolly old white-bearded fat man as he delivers toys and goodies in his starlight-fast hay-powered sleigh to children all over the world. It all began after a Sears advertisement accidentally misprinted the phone number to the North Pole. On December 24th, 1955, instead of getting a Sears-employed elf or Santa, callers found themselves talking to to staffers of the Continental Air Defense Command, the precursor to NORAD. Not wanting to hurt the spirits of the eager kids calling in, Colonel Harry Shoup, CONAD’s top-ranked officer had airmen under his command check radars periodically and give the kids a quick “status update” every time they’d call in. From Christmas Eve of 1955 onward, an awesome tradition came about. After its formation in 1958, NORAD took over all Santa tracking duties, which is appropriate considering that his home base is within NORAD’s area of responsibility.
These days, NORAD uses among the most advanced tracking systems out there to make sure that kids across North America and the rest of the world know that good ol’ Saint Nick’s on his way, delivering presents and gifts without hindrance. To help out wherever they can, they send up fighter escorts of F-16 and F-15s of the United States Air Force, as well as CF-188 Hornets of the Royal Canadian Air Force. We here at Alert 5 aren’t entirely sure that their engines are powerful enough to keep up with Santa’s super-powered sleigh, but we’re confident in the training and abilities of USAF and RCAF pilots and Weapon Systems Officers! Here’s a link to the Santa tracker for all you boys and girls out there (of all ages)! To access it, click the picture below! Remember, the tracker goes live on Christmas Eve, so stay tuned!