US military confirms NORAD Santa tracker will operate despite government shutdown

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For the 1500 civilian and army volunteers who will reply the telephones for youths calling 1-877-HI-NORAD, it infuses the vacation with childlike surprise.

The serious business of answering calls at the NORAD Tracks Santa centre at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado gets under way today.

The intense enterprise of answering calls on the NORAD Tracks Santa centre at Peterson Air Power Base in Colorado will get underneath approach as we speak.Credit score:AP

“They’re all actually candy, small voices,” mentioned Madison Hill, a volunteer who helped reply the telephones in two earlier years.

The North American Aerospace Defence Command – a joint US-Canadian operation primarily based in Colorado Springs that protects the skies over each nations – has since run the Santa tracker. The army command centre has embraced and expanded the Santa-tracking mission and has been rewarded with a bounty of goodwill and good publicity.

Final yr, NORAD Tracks Santa drew 126,000 telephone calls, 18 million web site hits, 1.eight million followers on Fb and 179,000 extra on Twitter.

It takes 160 telephones to deal with the calls that pour in. New volunteers get a playbook that briefs them on the questions children would possibly ask. Large screens on the partitions present a Santa icon making blistering progress across the globe. US and Canadian officers do dwell TV interviews from the telephone rooms.

The US military tracks Santa as he makes his deliveries across the globe.

The US army tracks Santa as he makes his deliveries throughout the globe.Credit score:AP

“It actually will get you into the Christmas spirit,” mentioned Hill, a scholar at Mississippi State College who received concerned via Air Power members of the family stationed in Colorado Springs.

“There are Christmas carols within the background, everybody’s very pleasant, pleased to be there.”

One yr, she took a name from a boy who started studying a really lengthy Christmas record. “I bear in mind having to chop him off after the 10th current or so,” she mentioned, explaining to him that she needed to take calls from different youngsters.

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A woman instructed Hill she needed to warn Santa to not bump right into a bell hanging on her door. “I feel she needed Santa to be quiet and never wake her up,” Hill mentioned.

Generally the volunteers should deal with the sudden. In 2012, a baby from Newtown, Connecticut requested if Santa might carry further toys for households who misplaced youngsters within the mass taking pictures that yr at Sandy Hook Elementary.

“If I can get ahold of him, I am going to attempt to get the message to him,” replied the volunteer, Sara Berghoff.

NORAD’s commander, Air Power Normal Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, may even take a flip answering the telephones on Monday.

“That is my first NORAD Tracks Santa,” mentioned O’Shaughnessy, who took command in Could. “I am actually excited.”

O’Shaughnessy was even requested about this system throughout a Senate Armed Companies Committee listening to in April to substantiate him as NORAD chief.

“I assume this committee can depend in your dedication to proceed that venerable custom,” Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton deadpanned.

“Sure sir, particularly since my son Sam would wish to see that as nicely,” O’Shaughnessy

AP

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