Fear & Loading: A Military Tradition 64 Years Young

by
posted on December 24, 2019
norad.jpg

It all started in 1955 when a local Sears and Roebuck newspaper advertisement informed children they could call Santa directly—only the contact number in the advertisement had a typo. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone rang through to the crew commander on duty at the Continental Air Defense Command Operations Center, the predecessor of North American Aerospace Defense Command’s (NORAD).

U.S. Air Force Colonel Harry Shoup was at the con that holiday evening and quickly realized a mistake had been made. He assured the child Mr. Claus was fine and being tracked by his crack team because they were going to be there all night, still keeping a keen eye on radar for Russian missiles or bombers. Col. Shoup then assigned a duty officer to continue answering calls, and they poured in. Thus, a tradition was born, and continued when NORAD formed in 1958. Each year since, NORAD has reported Santa's location on Dec. 24 to millions of children and families.

On Dec. 1, the 64th iteration of NORAD Tracks Santa launched at NORADSanta.org. The website is a global experience, delighting generations of families everywhere, not just in the United States. NORAD may be a binational U.S. and Canadian command charged with the serious business of aerospace and maritime warning and aerospace control of North America—as well as monitoring that activity globally—but it considers the supplementary mission of tracking Santa an honor.

“In addition to our day-to-day mission of defending North America, we are proud to carry on the tradition of tracking Santa as he travels along his yuletide flight path," said Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, commander of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command. "The same radars, satellites and interceptors employed on December 24 are used year-round to defend Canadian and American airspace from threats.”

Children of all ages can call (877) HiNorad on Dec. 24 and one of the many volunteers—who also still believe—can provide Santa’s precise location.

Latest

This summer, Federal Ammunition celebrated its 100th anniversary. John Zent, editor emeritus, had a chance to connect with two long-time employees and talk about their part of the journey.
This summer, Federal Ammunition celebrated its 100th anniversary. John Zent, editor emeritus, had a chance to connect with two long-time employees and talk about their part of the journey.

Federal's Big Celebration Between Friends

This summer, Federal Ammunition celebrated its 100th anniversary. John Zent, editor emeritus, had a chance to connect with two long-time employees and talk about their part of the journey.

Review: Taurus G3X Hybrid

Combining the compact slide of the G3c with the capacity of the G3, the Taurus Taurus G3X Hybrid offers the grip feel of a full-size gun blended with a subcompact slide-and-barrel assembly.

NRA Gun Of The Week: IWI Masada Slim

Watch American Rifleman staff on the range this week with a trimmed-down variant of IWI's striker-fired Masada duty pistol.

The Armed Citizen® Sept. 30, 2022

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Rifleman Q&A: M1911 Cartridge Catcher

Q: I came across this photo of an M1911 pistol fitted with some sort of metal cage, presumably to catch the fired cartridge cases. Can you shed any light on this item?

Henry Introduces 25th Anniversary Limited-Edition Guns

Two limited-edition Henry Repeating Arms rifles—celebrating the company’s 25th anniversary—have been released and are now available at FFLs nationwide while they last. The guns are a tribute to the lever-action’s enduring legacy in America and the model that launched Henry Repeating Arms.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.