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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.
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.
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.
Santa got a little help from his National Guard friends to reach children in remote parts of Alaska. The Guard partners with the Salvation Army and other volunteers to deliver gifts to kids in communities across the state during Operation Santa Claus.
At Fort Bragg, N.C., Christmas is a time for family, friends, food ... and jumping out of aircraft. The Randy Oler Memorial Toy Drop 2.0 gives paratroopers a chance to practice their craft with counterparts from foreign nations while also donating toys for kids in the local community.
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.
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.
The Department of Defense provides the military forces needed to deter war and ensure our nation's security.