TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - It's taking more than Santa's little helpers to deliver gifts to good little boys and girls around the world.
Jolly Ol' St. Nick is getting some help from our brave men and women at Tyndall Air Force Base.
On Christmas Eve, the members of the 601st Air Operations Center have been working with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in Colorado Springs, Colorado to make sure Santa is safe in the sky.
"We use all of the same systems that we use for our day to day for defending the continental United States," said Col. Nick Kavouras.
They're been doing this since 1955.
"Sears Roebuck put out a phone number so it will track Santa essentially, and they published the wrong phone number, and that phone rang at what was the predecessor to NORAD's operation center," said Kavouras.
The team has used radars, even with the help of Rudolph's red nose!
"Rudolph is our beacon, and he does some good work for us," said Kavouras.
"They have to put real senior pilots up there because his nose is so bright they can't wear their night vision goggles," added Lt. Col. Robert Brodie with the U.S. Marine Corps.
"What's most rewarding is knowing that you're affecting the children all over the United States, and that they're able to check this at any time and their excitement builds, and they get to see when it's gonna go towards their house, and they have to go to bed so they can get their presents in the morning," said Sgt. Danielle Nayman, 601st AOC.
"Every child, deserves happiness. It doesn't matter where you're from, or what your background is, every child deserves happiness," said Brodie.
Brodie also left some advice for the kids before before they sleep.
"The present doesn't arrive until you behave. So make sure that you stay a good kid all the way through Christmas day," said Brodie.
The NORAD Center in Colorado is taking calls until 4 a.m. C.S.T. on Christmas Day.
Kids can call the toll free number at 877-446-6723.
They can also download the 'NORAD Tracks Santa Claus App' for free.
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