DARKE COUNTY — No snow? No problem.
Sources from North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) report that despite the warmer-than-usual weather in Ohio this winter, Santa’s Christmas Eve journey is a “go.”
“NORAD can confirm that Santa’s sleigh is a versatile, all weather, multi-purpose, vertical short-take-off and landing vehicle,” said NORAD spokesman Lt. Marco Chouinard. “As such, it is able to self-compensate for all natural occurring phenomena and will not be affected by the full moon or the weather. It is capable of traveling vast distances without refueling and is deployed, as far as we know, only on December 24 (and sometimes briefly for a test flight about a month before Christmas).”
Chouinard added, “Deliveries will be on schedule, as long as the children are in bed when Santa arrives. He usually arrives between 9 p.m. and midnight (local time). If the children are not in bed, he flies to the next house and comes back once they are in bed.”
Though tracking Santa’s Christmas Eve journey each year is an important task, NORAD is also charged with the missions of aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning for North America. Aerospace warning includes the monitoring of man-made objects in space, and the detection, validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles, through mutual support arrangements with other commands.
This year’s holiday, however, is a special one for the men and women of NORAD, as it marks the 60th anniversary of the agency tracking St. Nick’s globe-spanning travels.
Tracking of the North Pole’s most famous citizen first began Dec. 24, 1955, when Continental Air Defense Command’s (CONAD) operations center received a phone call from a Colorado Springs girl.
An advertisement in a local newspaper had inadvertently given the incorrect phone number for children to call to track Santa’s whereabouts on Christmas Eve.
Col. Harry Shoup, who came to be known as the “Santa Colonel,” took the call, and a legend was born.
After receiving numerous calls that night, Shoup had his operators find the location of Santa Claus and report it to every child who phoned in that night.
The tradition was carried on by NORAD when it was formed in 1958. Today, through satellite systems, high-powered radars and jet fighters, NORAD tracks Santa Claus as he makes his Yuletide journey around the world.
NORAD Tracks Santa has become a magical and global phenomenon, delighting generations of families everywhere.
Every Christmas Eve, thousands of volunteers staff telephones and computers to answer calls and emails from children (and adults) from around the world. Live updates are provided through the NORAD Tracks Santa website (in seven languages), over telephone lines, and by email to keep curious children and their families informed about Santa’s whereabouts and if it’s time to get to bed.
Each year, the NORAD Tracks Santa website receives nearly nine million unique visitors from more than 200 countries and territories around the world. Volunteers receive more than 12,000 emails and more than 70,000 calls to the NORAD Tracks Santa hotline from children around the globe.
This year, children and the young-at-heart can track Santa through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and TroopTube.tv. To follow NORAD on any of these websites, type in “@noradsanta” into the search engine and start tracking.
For more information about NORAD Tracks Santa, visit www.noradsanta.org.
Erik Martin may be reached at 937-569-4314. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.