Saturday, December 23, 2017

Air Guard will track Santa on Christmas Eve

Training for Santa tracking duties are (front to back) Master Cpl. Adam Kittson of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and Major Kip Trausch, and Master Sgt. Derek Gagnon of the NY Air National Guard.

ROME, N.Y. >> 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.

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

The sector’s 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.

The NORAD Tracks Santa website,, launched on Dec. 1. It 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.

The Santa tracking operation begins at 2:01 a.m. on Dec. 24.

At 6 a.m., Eastern Standard Time, children and parents can call the operations floor (1-877-446-6723) or send an e-mail to, 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.

Also, 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.

The operation began in 1955 when a 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.

The Eastern Air Defense Sector is a North American Aerospace Defense Command headquarters unit located at the Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome, N.Y. It is responsible for the air defense of the eastern United States, and 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. 

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