|The infamous ad with the misprinted number|
Radar technicians, not sure what to do, turned to duty officer Colonel Harry Shoup for guidance. Realizing he was in a unique position, he initially asked an Airman to play the role of the jolly old elf. Later, he authorized the phone operators to give the children who called a current status report on the location of Santa's famous sleigh.
|Canadian air defense technicians monitoring Santa's location on radar|
Just how popular? NORAD reported that on Christmas Eve of 2013, nearly 20 million unique visitors came to the website, and 1,200 volunteers answered just shy of 120,000 calls, with similarly high numbers on Twitter and Facebook.
|Volunteers getting into the spirit of the holiday at the NORAD operations center|
And, yes, think of the joy it brings the people who have one of the toughest jobs on a daily basis.
I will be taking some time off from the PIO Chronicles to enjoy the holidays with my family and friends. Until I see you again in 2015, I wish each of you nothing but health, happiness and just a little spark of that holiday magic.
And, for my colleagues who do have to work over the holidays, I wish you comfort, safety and good will.
Tom Iovino, Public Information Specialist
Pinellas County, Florida