New York Air National Guard will help NORAD Track Santa on Christmas Eve

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Staff Sgt. Tom Silva and Staff Sgt. Rachael Alcorta practice Santa tracking at the Eastern Air Defense Sector in Rome. EADSplays a supporting role in NORAD's annual Santa tracking.

ROME, N. Y., (12/22/2015)(readMedia)-- New York Air National Guardsmen and Royal Canadian Air Force personnel assigned to the Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS) will play a key role Christmas Eve as the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracks Santa Claus and his reindeer.

"NORAD has supported Santa Claus' Christmas Eve operations for 60 years and we are always delighted to help," said Col. Michael J. Norton, 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 (BCC) 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.

NORAD starts its Santa tracking operation at 2 a.m. EST on Dec. 24. Children and parents can call the NORAD operations floor at 1-877-446-6723 for live updates on Santa or track Santa on the web at

Media interested in scheduling live interviews, accessing pre-recorded interviews and the latest press releases can send e-mail requests to Broadcasters interested in B-roll, video or audio downloads, or historical footage can contact the Digital Video and Imagery Distribution System at The NORAD public affairs office is also available to assist and can be reached at 719-554-6889.

The Santa tracking tradition started in 1955, when a Colorado Springs, Colorado Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement encouraging local children to call Santa listed an incorrect phone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number went into to the Continental Air Defense Command's operations hotline. Col. Harry Shoup, the operations director, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given location updates and a tradition was born.

In 1958, the governments of Canada and the United States created the bi-national air defense command North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), which then took on the tradition of tracking Santa.

The Eastern Air Defense Sector is a North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) headquarters unit located at Griffiss Business and Technology Park in Rome. 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.