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NORAD Observes 55th Anniversary

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Missile Commanders Lt. (L) and Lt. Col. Ken Reed confirm a launch warning over the phone during a practice drill at the North America Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Cheyenne Mountain Complex in November 1999.  (credit: MARK LEFFINGWELL/AFP/Getty Images)

Missile Commanders Lt. (L) and Lt. Col. Ken Reed confirm a launch warning over the phone during a practice drill at the North America Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Cheyenne Mountain Complex in November 1999. (credit: MARK LEFFINGWELL/AFP/Getty Images)

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PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AP) -
The North American Aerospace Defense Command is celebrating its 55th anniversary.

A ceremony was held Thursday at NORAD’s headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. NORAD’s commander, U.S. Army Gen. Charles Jacoby, and James Bezan, chairman of the Canadian Parliament’s Standing Committee on National Defense, helped cut the cake.

NORAD is a joint U.S.-Canada command responsible for defending the skies over both nations and monitoring sea approaches.

It “tracks” Santa Claus every Christmas Eve and also is known for a command post dug deep inside Cheyenne Mountain during the Cold War to protect it from missile attack.

The command post has been moved above ground at Peterson Air Force Base, but the mountain stronghold is maintained as a backup site.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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