**** CAF Media Release
Canadian NORAD Region is ready to track Santa with announcement of 2020 escort teams and trackers
The countdown to December 24th has begun! With the clock ticking as the big night approaches, we at the Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Region are today naming our CF-18 Hornet pilots, maintainers and trackers who will be charged with the mission of monitoring and escorting Santa as he completes his magical journey through Canadian airspace.
This Christmas will mark the 65th consecutive year of NORAD tracking Santa’s yuletide journey around the world. The defence of Canada and the United States is NORAD’s top priority. NORAD is a bi-national U.S. and Canadian command charged with aerospace and maritime warning and aerospace control of North America, as well as monitoring aerospace activity globally. However, every year during the holidays, NORAD assumes the supplementary mission of tracking Santa as he travels around the world.
CF-18 escort pilots and maintainers are chosen from both 3 Wing Bagotville, Que. and 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alta., while the trackers are chosen from the Canadian Air Defence Sector at 22 Wing North Bay, Ont.
“Thanks to the dedicated men and women who keep a watchful eye over North American airspace 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. NORAD tracks everything that flies in and around North America. On December 24, we also have the special mission of tracking and escorting Santa,” said Major-General (Maj.-Gen.) Eric Kenny, Commander of the Canadian NORAD Region. “Utilizing the North Warning System’s powerful radar and satellite systems, we are able to see into the North better than ever, allowing us to track Santa more precisely, ensuring he has a safe trip through North American airspace.”
Santa trackers from 21 Aerospace Control and Warning Squadron at 22 Wing North Bay include Aviator Diana Perry (of Meadowvale, Ont.), Aviator Stephane Jacques (of Valcartier, Que.) and United States Air Force Staff Sergeant Thomas Truong (of Wichita, Kansas) will be on the watch. Their duty is to maintain radio contact with Santa and his escort pilots.
From 3 Wing, Captain Jean-Sébastien Otis (of Charlesbourg, Que.) and Captain Caleb Robert (of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.) will serve as Santa’s escort pilots, while Corporal Jean-François Denis (of Saint-Anne-des-Monts, Que.) and Corporal Claudia Côté-Pellerin (of Saguenay, Que.) will form the maintenance team.
From 4 Wing, Captain Tucker Densmore (of Halifax, N.S.) and Captain Sean Foster (of Cold Lake, Alta.), are this year’s escort pilots, with Corporal Edrendel Caddarao (of San Marcelino, Philippines) and Aviator Christopher Marsh (of Scarborough, Ont.) serving as maintainers.
“From everyone across the Canadian NORAD Region who work every day to keep Canada and North America safe – thank you for your professionalism and for the support of your families. Happy Holidays!” added Maj.-Gen. Kenny.
- The NORAD Tracks Santa website (www.noradsanta.org) is now live. Featuring Santa’s North Pole Village, the website includes a holiday countdown, games, activities, information regarding NORAD’s mission of defending North America, and more. The website is available in eight languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Chinese. Tracking opportunities are also offered through social media on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
- Official NORAD Tracks Santa apps are available in the Apple and Google Play stores, so parents and children can count down the days until Santa’s launch on their smart phones and tablets!Follow Santa’s journey and share your story on Facebook and Twitter @noradsanta using the hashtag #NORADTracksSanta.
- Starting on Dec. 24 at 2:01 a.m. EST, website visitors can watch Santa make preparations for his flight. NORAD’s “Santa Cams” will stream videos on the website as Santa makes his way over various locations. Starting at 6 a.m. EST trackers worldwide can call to inquire as to Santa’s whereabouts by dialing the toll-free number 1-877-HI-NORAD (1877-446-6723) where they will either speak with a live phone operator or hear a recorded update. Due to COVID concerns, the NORAD Tracks Santa Operations Centre will have fewer operators, so callers who do not reach a volunteer will hear a regularly updated recording as to Santa’s current location. Additionally, any time on Dec. 24, Amazon Alexa users can ask for Santa’s location through the NORAD Tracks Santa skill for Amazon Alexa, and OnStar members can push the blue OnStar button in their vehicles to locate Santa.
- Santa trackers, escort pilots, and maintainers will be available for interviews until Dec. 20, 2020, and Public Affairs teams will be available until Dec. 24, 2020.
- For over 60 years, NORAD aircraft have identified and intercepted aircraft in the execution of NORAD’s North American air sovereignty and air defense missions. NORAD is on alert around the clock, every day.