(Santa) Ho! Ho! Ho! Happy Holidays to the Defence Team!
They’ve been kind enough to let me host this special episode of Defence Team News from my home here in the North Pole.
Today, I’ll be speaking with Aviator Stephane Jacques who works with the NORAD Tracks Santa team over at 22 Wing North Bay.
Not only do they ensure I have a safe flight and journey each year on Christmas Eve, they protect the skies 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!
Hello Aviator Jacques…or can I call you Stephane?!
(Avr Jacques) Yeah.
(Santa) Your team and I have been working together for quite some time now. How long has it been?
(Avr Jacques) Well, it's actually been, this year the 65th year. We've been doing this since 1955 and it's a very proud tradition we have here at NORAD and we hope to continue doing this well into the future despite everything that's going on today.
(Santa) I always love hearing the story about how NORAD began tracking me [Ho Ho Ho]. Can you tell it to the folks again?
(Avr Jacques) Yeah, sure. So, it's actually kind of a funny story. So there was a misprint in an ad in 1955 and it said that kids could call Santa at this number, and the number was actually misprinted and it happened to be NORAD's number. So a colonel ended up picking the phone and he had a kid on the other line. And he played along. He pretended to be Santa Claus and he made that kid's night. And ever since then, it's been a proud tradition that we've carried on and we hope we can continue to carry it on.
(Santa) I seem to have misplaced my map, but perhaps you could tell the people out there what my usual route is on Christmas Eve? I’m sure you know it well!
(Avr Jacques) The usual route is Santa usually ends up coming on the east coast of Labrador and Newfoundland. And from there, he goes and stops at multiple places in Canada. Once he's done in Canada, he goes to the US, and then the pilots in the US hope they get the opportunity to escort him to the US. And then, we hand it off to the US and then they take care of Santa and make sure that he's safe.
(Santa) Ho! Ho! Ho! Thanks so much for joining us today, Stephane. Anything else you’d like to add for Defence Team members and their families watching at home?
(Avr Jacques) We're extremely honoured to be escorting Santa Claus. This is our 65th year doing so. We hope we can continue doing so and it's a proud tradition that we have in NORAD.
(Santa) A big holiday thank you to the Canadian Armed Forces and the Ho-Ho-whole NORAD Tracks Santa team for keeping me safe year after year.
Rest assured kids, I’ll be wearing my mask throughout the night as I make my deliveries. Make sure you’re in bed so we can keep a safe, 6-feet distance…or two reindeers! Ho, ho, ho!
Visit the related links, download the NORAD Tracks Santa mobile app, or call the number below for regular updates on my progress throughout Christmas Eve!
Merry Christmas everyone and happy holidays!