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New York Air National Guard, Canadian Airmen Will Track Santa on Christmas Eve

By Timothy Jones New York National Guard

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ROME, N.Y., Dec. 21, 2017 — New York Air National Guardsmen and Royal Canadian Air Force personnel from the Eastern Air Defense Sector will play a key role Christmas Eve as the North American Aerospace Defense Command tracks Santa Claus and his reindeer.

Eastern Air Defense Sector personnel conduct training in preparation for Santa tracking operations at their headquarters in Rome, N.Y.
Eastern Air Defense Sector personnel conduct training in preparation for Santa tracking operations at their headquarters in Rome, N.Y., Dec. 11, 2016. Pictured from front to back, are: Sgt. Thomas Vance of the Royal Canadian Air Force, a member of EADS Canadian Detachment; and Master Sgt. Michelle Gagnon, Master Sgt. Lena Kryczkowski, standing, and Master Sgt. Shane Reid, all members of the New York Air National Guard's 224th Air Defense Squadron. Army National Guard photo by Eric Durr
Eastern Air Defense Sector personnel conduct training in preparation for Santa tracking operations at their headquarters in Rome, N.Y. Santa Tracking
Eastern Air Defense Sector personnel conduct training in preparation for Santa tracking operations at their headquarters in Rome, N.Y., Dec. 11, 2016. Pictured from front to back, are: Sgt. Thomas Vance of the Royal Canadian Air Force, a member of EADS Canadian Detachment; and Master Sgt. Michelle Gagnon, Master Sgt. Lena Kryczkowski, standing, and Master Sgt. Shane Reid, all members of the New York Air National Guard's 224th Air Defense Squadron. Army National Guard photo by Eric Durr

“NORAD has supported Santa Claus’ Christmas Eve operations for 62 years, and we are always delighted to help,” said Air Force Col. Emil Filkorn, EADS commander. “I can assure everyone that EADS will do everything in its power to assist Santa with his critical mission.”

EADS’ Battle Control Center 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, Colorado, which leads the Santa monitoring effort.

Santa’s Christmas Eve Travels Website

The NORAD Tracks Santa website, launched Dec. 1. The site features Santa’s North Pole village, a holiday countdown, games and activities. The website is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Chinese.

NORAD starts its Santa tracking operation at 2:01 a.m. EST on Dec. 24. At 6 a.m. EST, children and parents can call the NORAD operations floor at 1-877-Hi-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) or send an e-mail to noradtrackssanta@outlook.com for live updates. Any time on Dec. 24, Amazon Alexa users can ask for Santa’s location through the NORAD Tracks Santa skill for Amazon Alexa and OnStar subscribers can press the OnStar button in their vehicles to locate Santa. Bing and Cortana users can also find Santa's location on Dec. 24.

Media interested in covering NORAD tracks Santa can send e-mail requests to NTSmedia@outlook.com. Broadcasters interested in b-roll, video or audio downloads, or historical footage can visit the Digital Video and Imagery Distribution System at http://www.dvidshub.net/feature/NORADTracksSanta. The NORAD public affairs office also is available to assist and can be reached at 719-554-6889.

History of Santa Tracking Mission

It all started in 1955 when a local media advertisement directed children to call Santa direct -- only the number was misprinted. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the crew commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center. Thus began the tradition, which NORAD carried on since it was created in 1958.

The Eastern Air Defense Sector is a NORAD headquarters unit located at the Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome, New York. Responsible for the air defense of the eastern United States, EADS is composed of New York Air National Guardsmen from the 224th Air Defense Group, a Canadian Forces detachment, Army, Navy and Coast Guard liaison officers, and federal civilians. EADS also has two detachments located in the National Capital Region.


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