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Santa Watch Gears up at NORAD: North American Aerospace Defense Command is preparing for its upcoming Christmas Eve Santa Claus escort, outfitting Canadian CF-18s with “SantaCams” and preparing pilots for specialized training for the high-profile escort mission. The tradition runs back to US Air Force Continental Air Defense Command, which started the program in 1955. NORAD provides live updates of the Santa Track on its Web site. Last year, officials say, the Web site got 912 million hits from 181 countries. Volunteers at the NORAD operations center took some 55,000 phone calls and 35,000 e-mails.