DETROIT (WWJ) — The North American Aerospace Defense Command is ready, once again, to track Santa Claus’ annual trip around the globe this Christmas.
NORAD Lt. Commander Paul Noel said the tradition began in 1955 purely by accident.
“It did happen in 1955, when a misprint in a local newspaper urging children to call in and talk to Santa instead connected them with the Continental Air Defense Command Red Phone,” Noel said live on WWJ Newsradio 950.”
The watch commander, Col. Harry Shoup, answered the calls and had his operators give children Santa’s location throughout the night. Today, NORAD has a website and a host of mobile apps that help people track St. Nick’s Christmas route.
“Even if you’re on your way to grandma’s house, you can hit the OnStar button,” Noel said. “They are working with us to give you Santa’s location.”
Noel says that NORAD uses both American and Canadian jet fighters to welcome Santa into North America.
“This year we expect over 1600 volunteers that’ll take thousands of calls and emails and provide live updates from the NORAD Tracks Santa website,” Noel said.