Government Mission to Track Santa

How the high-flying mission started 60 years ago.
1:52 | 12/25/15

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Transcript for Government Mission to Track Santa
way. The team at norad tracking his every move as they've been doing now for 60 years. Tonight, how and why the government launched this high-flying mission. Here's ABC's Clayton Sandell. Reporter: Tonight, Santa Claus is under the watchful eyes of norad. You see the last place we've seen Santa Claus, which was in Russia. And then it tracks the number of gifts delivered, which is just over 2 billion. Reporter: Usually on alert for things like missile attacks, norad takes this very seriously. How important is this mission? Oh, this is a no fail mission. Reporter: A mission that goes back to the cold war, as the story goes, back in 1955, a sears newspaper add gave kid as number to call Santa. But that number was off by one. So, instead of reaching the man in red, they were calling the red phone. That red phone was some secret. Reporter: The colonel ordered his men to play along. He was military through and through, but he loved kids. And he loved Christmas. Reporter: And a tradition was born. Norad has been playing along now for 60 years. Santa loves cookies and milk. Reporter: 1,500 volunteers taking 135,000 calls from excited kids in 235 countries. Headed for India right now. Reporter: You might just reach terry, taking calls today for the first time ever. Have you got cookies for him? Reporter: The colonel was her dad. So, your first call, what does it feel like? It's great. Better than I even thought. It's wonderful. Reporter: She says that went for her dad, too. A simple mistake he helped turn into 60 years of magic. Clayton Sandell, ABC news, Colorado Springs. And our thanks to those 1,500 volunteers that take the calls.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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