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U.S. military tracking Santa despite partial government shutdown


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U.S. military tracking Santa despite partial government shutdown

By Keith Coffman



FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump participates in NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) Santa Tracker phone calls with children at Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., December 24, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo


Denver (Reuters) - The partial U.S. government shutdown is not preventing the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) from tracking Santa Claus as he embarks on his global trek to deliver Christmas gifts to children across the world, the command said on Monday.


A holiday tradition, which allows parents and children to track Santa Claus online on his globe-trotting journey, will continue on Christmas Eve even though NORAD receives funding from the Department of Defence.


NORAD, a joint U.S. and Canadian command responsible for aerospace and maritime control and warning missions, is “on duty 24/7, 365 days a year…committed to protect the citizens of both our countries," the agency said in a statement.


Those duties include the decades-long Yuletide custom of shadowing Santa Claus on his reindeer-powered sleigh, it said.


“Santa is under way and we are tracking him,” said U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Mary Ricks, spokeswoman for NORAD, which is based in Colorado Springs, Colorado.


NORAD's Santa-tracking website, www.noradsanta.org, provides real-time animated updates of the worldwide journey. The site attracts nearly 1 million unique visitors annually. Some 1,500 volunteers, both civilian and military, staff the computers and a Santa hotline.


The tradition started in 1955 when a Sears Roebuck department store in Colorado Springs misprinted the phone number to the North Pole in a newspaper advertisement for kids to call in and speak to Santa.  


Instead, the number rang to what was then called the Continental Air Defence Command, according to NORAD's website. The commanding officer at the time, U.S. Air Force Colonel Harry Shoup, fielded multiple calls from children eager to speak to Santa, who is also known as Kris Kringle, Father Christmas or St. Nicholas.


Shoup assured the children that Santa had taken off from his home base at the North Pole and was delivering gifts to good girls and boys across the globe.


Renamed NORAD three years later as a combined Canadian and U.S. agency, the Santa-tracking tradition has continued. It now employs social media sites and smart phone apps to spread the word on Santa's whereabouts.


Ricks said Santa is tracked by infrared signals emitted by the shiny red nose of Rudolph, Santa’s lead reindeer.


Once Santa’s sleigh enters North American air space, a squadron of Canadian and U.S. fighter jets are scrambled to escort Santa,  who must slow down to greet the pilots as he travels at “the speed of starlight,” Ricks said. 


(Reporting by Keith Coffman; editing by Bill Tarrant and Leslie Adler)

-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-12-25
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Sorry, Santa!


But, the USA is now partially closed by the man who "wrote" The Art of the Deal.    


Instead, Santa should follow Tug's advice above.  Trump did tell his rally supporters that he loved coal. 


PS, RIP Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) and thank you!



Trump by Dr. Seuss.jpg

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You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
He's making a list
He's checking it twice;
He's gonna find out who's naughty or nice
Santa Claus is coming to town
He'll probably skip 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. this year.
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After hurricane trump smashed into Washington, I can only assume he never made it there.... that said, sleigh technology may have improved since 1974, allowing for better storm handling capabilities 



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