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Missouri Kids Again Can Track Santa's Travels

NORAD will once again be watching to make sure Santa arrives safely at all his stops. (shaneclements/morguefile)
NORAD will once again be watching to make sure Santa arrives safely at all his stops. (shaneclements/morguefile)
December 24, 2015

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A bi-national effort to keep Santa on track during his annual Christmas Eve flight continues today for its 60th year.

Lt. Marco Chouinard with the NORAD Tracks Santa Team says the program began by accident in 1955, when a misprint in a Colorado newspaper advertisement directed kids trying to call Santa to a number at what then was the Continental Air Defense Command.

"The phone started ringing over there and Col. Harry Shoup was on call that night," says Chouinard. "So, they started answering the calls, and then he indicated to all his operators to track Santa on the radars and tell all the kids that were calling where Santa was."

When the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) was created years later, it continued the tradition. Of course, technology has since improved and kids who want to know Santa's whereabouts can check online at They also can get updates from Facebook, Skype and Onstar, or call NORAD at 1-877-Hi-NORAD.

Chouinard said Santa begins his voyage in New Zealand, making stops in Asia, Europe and Africa before crossing the Atlantic and visiting homes in the United States. And he says NORAD uses the latest satellites and radar to keep an eye on the big guy.

"We've been tracking Santa with the same technology we keep the skies safe in North America, so it's all the same technology, and we're happy to use that to assist Santa in his big trip," says Chouinard.

He adds that it really does take a village to get Santa around the world. Today's operation includes more than 1,500 Canadian and American military personnel, as well as Department of Defense civilian employees and their families who volunteer their time.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MO