TYNDALL AIR FACE BASE, Fla. (WMBB) — It won’t be long before Santa and his reindeer take to the skies, delivering presents all over the world.
And Tyndall Air Force Base personnel will be with him every step of the way.
The 601st Air Operations Center will be handling NORAD’s Santa tracking mission on Christmas Eve.
The Tyndall Air Force Base Air Operations Center detects and protects the skies over North America 24/7, 365 days a year, but on Christmas Eve, they get to focus on a special mission.
“Using our multi-domain sensors and fighters get to help Santa and on his voyage where we track Santa through the heat of Rudolph’s nose as he delivers toys and such,” 101st Air Operations Group Commander Colonel Randy Lake said. “So we use satellites based on geostationary orbits with infrared sensors actually to detect the sensor from Rudolph.”
NORAD has been tracking Santa for the last 67 years.
“It gives us a chance to help the children as well as provide the children with a technical means of actually seeing where Santa is,” Lake said. “For us it’s the chance to highlight what we do for NORAD both the U.S. and Canada and Alaska by kind of portraying how we do have to watch 24/7, 365 and we do defend the airspace over America to include tracking Santa.”
Major Jordan Ornelas said he will be surprising his five kids with the tracker this year.
“They don’t get to see much of what we do,” 601st AOC Tanker Airlift Duty Officer Major Jordan Ornelas said. “Especially because our job here, typically a lot of classified work, a lot of behind closed doors so they don’t get to come and see what dad does. So getting to see this little bit of what I do will be a great chance for us to connect.”
Officials said not to worry about the cold weather, the arctic storm won’t impact their tracking abilities, or Santa’s ability to make his deliveries.
Visit the website here to start tracking Santa.
You can also give Santa a call at 1-877-HI-NORAD.