More than 1,500 military personnel and volunteers in an air force base in Colorado will be hard at work Christmas Eve, tracking Santa Claus and answering children’s calls, reported NPR.
NORAD Tracks Santa is run by volunteers at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado and is funded by the Department of Defense’s budget that was approved earlier this year, reported Fox News.
Dating back to the Cold War, volunteers every year answer calls and emails from children from across the world asking where Santa is located.
This all started when the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Operations Center in Colorado received a call in 1955 from a young child after a Sears ad in a local paper detailed steps for calling Santa. The newspaper had accidentally printed the wrong number, which was Col. Harry Shoup’s private hotline for government officials.
The calls flooded in and Shoup instructed his crew to pick up the phones and pretend to be Santa Claus.
The tradition that began with the telephone has since evolved to “satellite systems, high-powered radars and jet fighters” to track “Santa Claus as he makes his Yuletide journey around the world,” as NORAD says.