Face of Defense: New York Guard Troops to Help Track Santa
New York National Guard
ROME, N.Y., Dec. 23, 2013 New York Air National Guardsmen from the Eastern Air Defense Sector here will play a key role tomorrow night as the North American Aerospace Defense Command tracks Santa Claus and his reindeer on their annual global Christmas Eve journey.
Air Force Senior Airmen Kyle Hesse and Phillip Gentile take part in Santa tracking training Dec. 19 at the Eastern Air Defense Sector in Rome, N.Y. U.S. Air Force photo by Tim Jones
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
"NORAD has supported Santa Claus' Christmas Eve operations for more than 50 years and we are always delighted to help," said Air Force Col. Dawne Deskins, EADS commander. "I can assure everyone that EADS will do everything in its power to assist Santa with his critical mission."
EADS' Sector Operations Control Center here will monitor Santa constantly as he travels across the eastern U.S. delivering toys and gifts. These activities are in support of the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Center at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., which leads the Santa monitoring effort.
NORAD starts its Santa tracking operation at 7 a.m. EST on Dec. 24. Children and parents can call the NORAD operations floor at 1-877-446-6723 for live updates on Santa or track Santa on the Web at www.noradsanta.org. The operations floor can also be contacted via email at email@example.com.
Santa Tracking information is also available on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/NORADTracksSanta?feature=watch; on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/noradsanta and on Twitter https://twitter.com/NORAD_SantaC.
The Santa tracking tradition started in 1955 when a Colorado Springs, Colorado-based Sears Roebuck & Company advertisement encouraging local children to call Santa listed an incorrect phone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number went into to the Continental Air Defense Command's operations hotline. Col. Harry Shoup, the operations director, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given location updates and a tradition was born.
In 1958, the governments of Canada and the United States created the bi-national air defense command, North American Aerospace Defense Command, which then took on the tradition of tracking Santa.
The Eastern Air Defense Sector is headquartered at Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome. Staffed by active-duty New York Air National Guardsmen and a Canadian Forces detachment, the unit supports NORAD's integrated warning and attack assessment missions and U.S. Northern Command's homeland defense mission.
EADS is responsible for air sovereignty and counter-air operations over the eastern United States and directs a variety of assets to defend 1 million square miles of land and sea.