JBER gets ready to track Santa Claus
KTVA was given special access to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson to see how the 176th Air Defense Squadron will track Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. The group is doing their part to track the sleigh and its reindeer with Alaska's North American Aerospace Defense Command region, or NORAD.
"We like to know anyone who is coming and going in our airspace and that includes Santa," Staff Sgt. Brian Rhodes said.
Kids will be able watch as Santa flies across the sky so they know when to got to bed; even though that's not always up to Santa.
"Whatever time their parents tell them to," Rhodes said.
Santa will be escorted by two F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets, to make sure Santa has a safe flight. Staff Sgt. Rhodes would not divulge the top speed of the F-22s, saying that is "classified" information, but he did let one secret slip.
"Santa can outrun the F-22s," Rhodes said.
NORAD started tracking Santa 55 years ago when a child called a number in a newspaper to find out where Santa was. However, because the number was a misprint, the boy called a wrong number and ended up on the phone with NORAD.
"[The boy] got a commander of NORAD on his red switch... And he asked if they knew where Santa Claus was because it was printed in the paper that way," Tech Sgt. Cirena Smith said.
The commander gave the boy the information he requested.
People can track Santa's trip on noradsanta.org. Kids can also call the NORAD Track Santa Hotline at 877-446-6723 to see where Santa is and where he is going.
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