Geek Trivia: What Caused The U.S. Military To Start Tracking Santa Claus?

Answer: Sears ad

NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) is a joint operation of the US and Canadian governments to monitor and protect the sovereign airspace of both countries. The forerunner of NORAD was CONAD (Continental Air Defense Command), both located on the hardened base of the US Army Cheyenne Mountain, near Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In December 1955, a local Sears store published an advertisement in a Colorado Springs newspaper with a direct phone line supposed to be a direct line with Santa Claus. The only problem was a huge typo in Sears advertising that made phone calls to the CONAD standard instead of the Sears store staff. Colonel Harry Shoup, the commander at the time, asked his staff to answer the calls of the hopeful children. On Christmas Eve, he then called the local radio station and said, "This is the Commander of the Combat Alert Center. an unidentified flying object. It looks like it's a sled. During the rest of the evening, radio stations called every hour to get updates on Santa's current position as he completed his crazy toy distribution race around the world.

When the CONAD was converted to NORAD, the tradition was passed on. Since then, every year, NORAD has faithfully responded to phone calls and e-mails from around the world to inform curious children of Santa's status and status. What began as a handful of soldiers responding to Colorado Springs' children's calls has expanded to include a large team of volunteers who handle about 12,000 emails and 70,000 phone calls from children in Colorado. whole world every year.

The operation even a website with a virtual radar system and the presence of social media. If it's Christmas Eve and you really need to know where Santa is, you can count on NORAD to make sure that you're there and that you're delivering toys to all good girls and boys.

Image courtesy of Sears / NORAD.

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