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Follow Santa Claus’ path to central Wisconsin

Published: Dec. 24, 2021 at 4:41 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Since 5:00 a.m. this morning, NORAD has been tracking santa claus.

This is NORAD’S 66th year keeping tabs on Kris Kringle. In 1955, a local newspaper printed an ad giving out a phone number kids could call Santa Claus. That number was misprinted.

Instead it was the number to the Air Force commander on duty for the Continental Air Defense Center.

The commander did what was necessary, and the Air Force has been tracking Santa ever since.

Since 1989, highly decorated Sergeant Major James Porterfield has been a Marine. But at this moment, right now, there’s no mission as important for his team of about 600 volunteers as making sure Santa Claus makes his way to the North American skies safely.

“We use the same assets to track Santa,” Porterfield said, “as we use to protect Canada and the United States.”

How are they able to track Santa? It’s all thanks to Rudolph’s nose.

“Rudolph’s nose gives off the same infrared signal,” said Porterfield, “that we track missiles by. So, he’s pretty fast but we’re able to track him over North America.”

This is Sergeant Major’s first time tracking Santa. He calls it a “no-fail mission” and he needs to get it right. Some of his predecessors gave him some friendly advice before his Santa tracking debut.

“They said, hey, don’t be the guy that screws this up,” he said with a laugh.

You can follow Santa online by clicking here, or by calling NORAD at 1-877-HINORAD (446-6723).

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