TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (WMBB) — The North American Aerospace Defense Command, also known as NORAD, is tracking Santa for the 65th year as he travels around the world to deliver presents on Christmas Eve.
Despite obstacles from the COVID-19 pandemic, Tyndall Air Force Base officials working with NORAD say this tradition will continue with a few adjustments to typical operations.
According to leaders with the 601st Air Operations Center, they will reduce the number of people within the center who are responsible for picking up calls from the 1-877-HINORAD hotline and follow social distancing.
Fewer people answering the phones could mean longer wait times for those who call in, 601st Air Operations members said.
However, this tradition began 65 years ago and Tyndall Air Force Base shared an explanation as to how NORAD got its start.
“Back in 1955, a child thinking that he was dialing Santa, actually dialed to the command center of the continental air defense command, which was the predecessor to NORAD,” said Col. Moose Gardner, 601st AOC. “The colonel who answered, realizing what was happening, assured the child that he was tracking Santa and thus started the tradition.”
Thanks to that one phone call, people around the world can track the big man in red for themselves.
Tyndall leaders also said the NORAD Santa Tracking app and website have built-in features this year for children to enjoy while on-hold.
Also find out what NORAD and Santa are up to by visiting the Defense Command’s Facebook page.