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Tracking Santa

The North American Aerospace Defense Command tracks every aircraft that flies over North America — including, once a year, a certain magical sleigh. For more than 65 years, NORAD has followed Santa on his around-the-world journey from the North Pole, and will do so again this year with radar, satellites and Santa cams.

It Started As A Fluke

Harry Shoup

History of Santa Tracker


How NORAD Tracks Santa

Operation Christmas Drop

Santa’s not the only one spreading Christmas cheer in the Indo-Pacific! Operation Christmas Drop started in 1952 as a spur-of-the-moment supply drop, and it’s now the Defense Department’s longest-running humanitarian operation, spanning generations of volunteers, service members and island communities in the Pacific.

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Toys for Tots

Since 1947, the Marine Corps Reserve has been making the holidays brighter for American children and their families through the Toys for Tots program. Today, Toys for Tots distributes an average of 18 million toys to 7 million less-fortunate children each year.

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Yuletide Jumps

At Fort Bragg, N.C., Christmas is a time for family, friends, food ... and jumping out of aircraft. The All American Presents from Paratroopers event gives soldiers a chance to practice their craft and earn foreign jump wings in exchange for donating toys to children in need.

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Maritime Merriment

No sleigh? No reindeer? No problem. Over the decades, many Navy ships have transformed into festive, twinkling vessels during the holidays, fit for a seafaring Santa. Just think of them as giant sleighs on beds of melted snow.

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Major Military Events That Happened on Christmas

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On Dec. 25, many Americans relax and enjoy time with their families. For many of our troops, though, it can be a day of sacrifice and hardship. Over the history of the United States, several big military actions have taken place on Christmas.