Why does NORAD track Santa? | The Week


Category:  Entertainment

Via:  kavika  •  2 years ago  •  16 comments

By:   The Week

Why does NORAD track Santa? | The Week
It all started with a typo

Niibaa Anama’e Giizhiigad! Merry Christmas in Anishinaabe.

Wishing a beautiful Christmas to everyone time to be with good friends, new and old, and family. .

Hug your kids/grandkids/great-grandkids for they are the future

My son lives in California and my daughter, four grandkids, twelve great-grandkids and three great great grandkids all live in OZ and it is Christmas Day for them and I miss them all dearly. 

Yes, I've started my own tribe and we just received Federal Recognition. 

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

It all started with a typo

(AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

On December 24, 1955, the red telephone at the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center in Colorado Springs began ringing.

The red phone meant it was either the Pentagon or CONAD commander in chief General Earle Partridge on the other end, and their reason for calling would probably not be pleasant.

U.S. Air Force Col. Harry Shoup, director of operations at the center, rushed over to the phone and grabbed it.

"Yes, sir, this is Colonel Shoup," he barked.

Nothing but silence in response.

"Sir? This is Colonel Shoup," he said.

Silence again.

"Sir? Can you read me alright?"

Finally, a soft voice on the other end.

"Are you really Santa Claus?" a little girl asked.

Shoup was stunned for a second. This must be a joke, he thought. He looked around the room, expecting to see his men laughing at their prank, but found stony, serious faces all around.

He realized that there was "some screwup on the phones," and decided to play along.

"Yes, I am," he answered. "Have you been a good little girl?"

The girl explained to Shoup that she would leave some food out for both Santa and his reindeer and then recited her Christmas list to him. Shoup thanked her for her hospitality, noting that Santa had a lot of traveling to do. How did he get to all those houses in one night, anyway, she asked.

Apparently, that was classified intelligence in Shoup's mind. "That's the magic of Christmas," he said. If anyone asks her about that, he said, she should tell them to stop asking so many questions or Santa would put them on the naughty list.

"That red phone, boy," Shoup later recalled. "That's either the old man — the four star [General Partridge] — or the Pentagon. I was all shook up."

The red phone would keep ringing throughout the night. Not because of Soviet nukes or fighter planes heading toward U.S. soil, but because of a typo.

That day, Shoup would later learn, a local newspaper ran a Sears Roebuck ad inviting kids to contact Santa.

"Hey Kiddies!" the ad read. "Call me on my private phone and I will talk to you personally any time day or night." The ad listed Santa's direct line, but the number in the copy was off by a digit. Instead of connecting to the special line Sears set up with a Santa impersonator, kids wound up calling a secret air defense emergency number.

After a few more Santa-related calls, Shoup pulled a few airmen aside and gave them a special assignment. They would answer the phone and give callers — barring the Pentagon, we assume — Santa's current location as they "tracked" him on their radar.

From that night on, tracking Santa became a yearly tradition, carried on by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) when it replaced CONAD in 1958. A new phone number, separate from the red phone, was established and publicized, and people were invited to call in and find out how close Santa was to their home. Every Christmas Eve, military service members staff phones and email accounts and the Santa Tracker Twitter account to keep kids up to date on Santa's whereabouts.

Harry Shoup passed away in 2009, remembered by his peers and the public as the "Santa Colonel" who gave a special gift to millions of kids.


jrDiscussion - desc
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Kavika     2 years ago

The very best to everyone on NT. 

Kudos to NORAD and to Santa Colonel.

Professor Guide
1.1  Kathleen  replied to  Kavika @1    2 years ago

Same to you Kavila, that was a nice story.

Nowhere Man
Junior Guide
1.1.1  Nowhere Man  replied to  Kathleen @1.1    2 years ago

And an absolutely true one... Merry Christmas Kav, and keep the stories coming... Your stories help make the holidays around here..

Professor Principal
2  CB    2 years ago

Merry Christmas, Kavika (head of the "Cutey" klan!). Love the story. Having trouble imagining the nuke red phone has (or had) the same count of digits to dail as the rest of public phones!

Nowhere Man
Junior Guide
2.1  Nowhere Man  replied to  CB @2    2 years ago

It was the '50's with analog dial phones, there was no such thing as a "Direct" line every line had a number... direct lines came in the early '60's...

Professor Principal
2.1.1  CB  replied to  Nowhere Man @2.1    2 years ago

Hmm. I don't quite follow that. Interesting and would love to have it explained to me. (Smile.) Merry Christmas!

Nowhere Man
Junior Guide
2.1.2  Nowhere Man  replied to  CB @2.1.1    2 years ago

Merry Cristmas to you to CB

Professor Principal
3  seeder  Kavika     2 years ago

Merry Christmas from Midori and Phillippe. Midori is the mom on the right and weighs in at 50 lbs, Phillippe is her son and the house hippo and weighs in at 85 lbs. Both as gentle as lamps and loved to go to Mickey D's for cheeseburgers or to Starbucks for a Pupacchino. 


Junior Participates
3.1  Freewill  replied to  Kavika @3    2 years ago

Merry Christmas from Olive and June!


I bet they would love to meet Midori and Phillippe.... well maybe not, but they would wish them Merry Christmas in any case.

Professor Principal
3.1.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Freewill @3.1    2 years ago

Midori and Phillippe would lick them to death...LOL

Professor Principal
3.1.2  CB  replied to  Freewill @3.1    2 years ago

So picturesque. Merry Christmas to all!

Senior Participates
3.2  GregTx  replied to  Kavika @3    2 years ago

What the heck is a Pupacchino?  jrSmiley_4_smiley_image.png  

Professor Principal
3.3  CB  replied to  Kavika @3    2 years ago

Merry Christmas, Family!!! Too cute!!

Senior Quiet
4  shona1    2 years ago

Morning Greg... warm milk in a cup for doggies...so they call it a pupaccino...it is served in all the yuppie cafes etc where dog lovers go for their morning coffee...

Professor Principal
4.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  shona1 @4    2 years ago

Exactly, Shona.

Professor Participates
5  1stwarrior    2 years ago


That's why NORAD lost him :-)


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