How a Wrong Number Led To NORAD’s Tracking of Santa
The North American Aerospace Defense Command is hidden away deep inside the Cheyenne Mountain Complex near Colorado Springs. In that complex is some of the most sophisticated air defense technology dreamed up by man.
It is also one of the few places on Earth with the technology to track one of the fastest flying aircraft known to humanity. That would be the sleigh piloted by an individual who goes by the name of Kringle, Kris Kringle or Santa Claus.
Did you know that the tracking of Santa by NORAD's sophisticated air defense system came to be because of a wrong number? It happened by accident in 1955 when a local newspaper offered its readers a direct line to call and talk to Santa.
However, the contact number was misprinted in the paper and the phone calls instead wound up ringing the phone of U.S. Air Force Colonel Harry Shoup, at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center. That's what they used to call NORAD before they started calling it NORAD.
Well, Colonel Shoup being a bright military mind realized he had a great opportunity He ordered his staff of highly trained military minds to make sure that every phone call from every child was answered. Thus a tradition was born.
The Command evolved from simply answering phone calls to producing segments for radio and television to broadcast. With the inception of the Internet came the direct links for fans of Santa to track his progress online.
The NORAD Santa Tracking Website is now live. Already early this morning I have noticed activity in the vicinity of the North Pole. That's a good sign for all of us who have been good and kind this year.