Monday, January 26, 2015

NASA's New Horizons Spacecraft Starts Its Approach Towards Pluto

Artist conception, from Wikipedia
Last week I had to drop off items for my son at our local Barnes and Nobles.  While completing my task, I happened by the magazine racks and spotted the February 2015 edition of Astronomy Magazine and on its cover was an illustration of the New Horizons spacecraft zooming by Pluto, "NASA Sets Its Sights on Pluto:  New Horizons spacecraft begins its approach."  I quickly grabbed the magazine and purchased it on the spot.

I remember vividly watching the launch of the craft back on January 19, 2006 on TV.  This was no ordinary launch for NASA as it was not launching a satellite or probe to meet up with an asteroid or comet.  This was a planned mission to Pluto and its moon, Charon.  It would take nine years to reach its destination.  I was spell bound both by the mission and the relative short time required to cover the distance to Pluto.

From Wikipedia, New Horizon's launch Jan. 19, 2006
New Horizons reached Jupiter in January 2007 providing photos and details of some of Jupiter's moons during its flyby and gravity assist towards Pluto.

Now, nine years later, the waiting is almost over...I'm still spell bound and filled with a sense of anticipation and awe.  New Horizons will reach Pluto around July 14, 2015.  As I write, the craft is out of hibernation mode and conducting imaging of this tiny dwarf planet.  BTW, for those not aware, Clyde Tombaugh's cremains are on board the craft.  Tombaugh was credited with discovering the tiny planet in 1930.  For the UFO aficionados, Tombaugh's bio on Wikipedia has an interesting UFO section concerning Tombaugh's interests in UFOs. 

Here is NASA's site for the New Horizons mission.  And the Wikipedia entry as well.

Both web sites and magazine are good reads providing in-depth details about the spacecraft and it's mission.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

An analysis of a recent MUFON case: Applying subjective and objective criteria

MUFON case 62491, submitted drawing.  Accessed at MUFON.com
Earlier this month, I came across a MUFON case, 62491, listed in Frank Warren's UFO Chronicles.  Warren had posted an article by Roger Marsh of OpenMinds.tv concerning a sighting in North Carolina on Jan. 7, 2015 (date report submitted to MUFON).

Looking at the case, provides the possibilities for evaluating the sighting using subjective and objective criteria, whereas, subjective is the witnesses description of the event and objective being a combination of measurable data, if possible.

Here is the actual submitted report to MUFON:

On the way to a gas station in northern Durham, North Carolina, my girlfriend and I witnessed an extremely bright hovering object, amber in color. We decided to drive around to get a better view of it over the treetops and witnessed what looked like a triangular light pattern -- one very large, very bright amber light in the nose and a smaller flashing light on each wingtip and center which stayed illuminated but strobed brighter in order from left to right. It passed in the opposite direction of our car. Because it was so far away we could not make out any structure. The large light was unlike anything we had seen in the sky before in terms of its size and brightness. Once it was out of view we continued to the gas station.

On the way back to the house we saw the object again, hovering back close to its original position. It was much closer and we turned into a neighborhood to get a good look:

The object was very close. I would compare it to watching a plane in take-off pass overhead in terms of its distances. As we pulled into the neighborhood it stopped hovering and began moving -- drifting might be a more fitting verb -- across the sky towards us. We parked the car and got out as the object passed directly overhead. As it did we both witnessed the solid black outline of an equilateral diamond: a small white running light in the center and at each tip with an over-sized, amber-colored seemingly directional (forward to forward-down) light at its nose and a significantly dimmer light on its tail. The three lights from wingtip to wingtip constantly strobed in a right-to-left direction as it moved away from us. The object was silent as it passed over and disappeared behind the treeline.

We jumped back into our car to try and get a better angle to continue watching it but as we circled the woods which it had passed over it was nowhere in sight -- until we happened to catch the faint strobe of the object now a great distance away.
We drove to my girlfriend's parents' house and watched this object glide back and forth across the sky at a great distance -- like a commercial plane at altitude -- for over an hour. At one point her mother came outside to watch it pass at about 45 degrees above the horizon close enough to make out the triangular front of the object. We kept noticing that it seemed to pass in a straight line until we could not see it anymore and then begin its trajectory again from where it started -- but we never saw it fly back. We assumed that we simply missed its return path. Finally we watched one disappear not behind trees but simply into the distance and made sure to watch for its return. It never flew back. Suddenly it was once again close and over our left shoulders. 
 faint strobe of the object now a great distance away.We drove to my girlfriend's parents' house and watched this object glide back and forth across the sky at a great distance -- like a commercial plane at altitude -- for over an hour.


We tracked the object as it passed about 60 degrees above the horizon when suddenly we noticed a second, identical object flying towards us from a great distance. We continued watching these two objects pass back across the sky.

The total sighting lasted from 9:20pm to 10:45pm. Which is to say that at 10:45pm I finally came inside out of the frigid cold to write this report.


End of submitted report.


Let's look at the subjective portion of this case.

1.  "...my girlfriend and I witnessed an extremely bright hovering object, amber in color."

2.  "... looked like a triangular light pattern -- one very large, very bright amber light in the nose and a smaller flashing light on each wingtip and center which stayed illuminated but strobed brighter in order from left to right."

3.  "The large light was unlike anything we had seen in the sky before in terms of its size and brightness."

4.   "I would compare it to watching a plane in take-off pass overhead in terms of its distances. As we pulled into the neighborhood it stopped hovering and began moving -- drifting might be a more fitting verb -- across the sky towards us."

5.  "... we both witnessed the solid black outline of an equilateral diamond: a small white running light in the center and at each tip with an over-sized, amber-colored seemingly directional (forward to forward-down) light at its nose and a significantly dimmer light on its tail. The three lights from wingtip to wingtip constantly strobed in a right-to-left direction as it moved away from us. The object was silent as it passed over."

6.   "...faint strobe of the object now a great distance away.We drove to my girlfriend's parents' house and watched this object glide back and forth across the sky at a great distance -- like a commercial plane at altitude -- for over an hour."

This appears to be the main subjective data for the case.  Subjectively, the observer(s) describe an object as:  large,bright, amber, triangular light pattern, strobing, hovering, gliding, drifting, and silent.

The following is to be considered as "soft" objective data:

1.  Late evening hours, 9:20 pm to 10:45 pm on Jan. 7, 2015.
2.  Durham, NC
3.  Outside temperature alluded to be "frigid cold."
4.  Direction of flight path is not listed.
5.  Object may have been 45 to 60 degrees above the horizon.

The following is considered "hard" objective data for Durham, NC.

1.  Temperature range from 19 F to 20 F.
2.  Clear skies, visibility at 10 miles, waning gibbous moon (ending phase of a full moon).
3.  Winds out of the North, 6.9 to 8.1 mph, gusting to 17.3 mph. (weather data retrieved from weatherunderground.com)

Discussion

The evaluation of the subjective aspects of the case from the reference point of the observer reveals a very detailed and descriptive sighting.  I hesitate to add that it may be too detailed, but it must be taken into account that the sighting supposedly lasted one hour and twenty five minutes.  This is an area of evaluation that invites either too much or too little criticism based on the content of any given UFO report.

What is peculiar is that the boyfriend provides the narration of the observation.  What is missing is the actual thoughts from his girlfriend.  Did she perceive the sequence of events the same as the boy friend?  The same can be said of the girlfriends mother.  According to the report, the mother came outside of her house and supposedly saw the object.  What were her thoughts, in her own words, concerning what she believed to have seen?

The couple where on their way to a gas station.  Where were they coming from prior to the sighting?  A movie, friend's house, or a bar?  This may be of importance to know for the purpose of fully evaluating the report. 

The object(s) where given elevations of either 45 or 60 degrees above the horizon.  In fairness, the observer did predicate the elevations with "about", but the question remains as to how one came to that possible conclusion.  Perhaps the elevation was 30 or 40 degrees instead, or the elevations are not really germane to the total report. 

Noted is the lack of direction or heading of the object.  The speed is merely described as either drifting, gliding or simply hovering.  Wind speeds for the night were listed between 7 to 8 mph out of the North.  There were wind gust up to 17 mph with earlier evening gusts exceeding 20 mph.

Durham is a fairly large size city with a population greatly exceeding 200,000 people.  A check of local media outlets show no unusual reports for the night in question.  MUFON's data base shows only this case for the Durham area.  Given the length of the visual sighting and the slow speed of the object, one would think that other citizens would have happened to glimpse/observe this object.

What works in favor of the observer is that the sky was clear.  The full moon was ending [94 percent of moon in full view], but missing in the report is a description of the moon, nor does the observer state the actual conditions of the sky.

Tentative Conclusion

1.  Unknown flying objects with the possible shape of either a triangle or diamond.

2.  Descriptive observation report, but missing is a separate report from the girlfriend and her mother.  These two could independently help corroborate the sighting.

3.  Unusual event that happened in a high population area.  There appears to be no corroborating reports from others.  Based on the length of time of the observation, one would think that others would have seen and reported the object.

4.  Bright nearly full moon in the sky.  Could it have been possible that the initial sighting was that of the moon?

5.  No photos of the object despite the long duration of time under observation.  A drawing is presented to MUFON.  Missing is the direction that the object was moving.

6.  A possible hoax report can not be ruled out at this time.

The 6 areas of the conclusion are listed as tentative.  More data, if possible, could help explain the sighting.  Minus more data, a hoax cannot be ruled out.  The subjective data is descriptive and provides details based on what the observer saw on the night in question. Objective data shows that the weather and condition of the sky may tentatively support some of the subjective data, but can not fully explain the sighting.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and a Prosperous New Year to All

The management at "Did It Really Happen?" [solely me], would like to take this opportunity to wish all a joyful holiday season.

Many thanks to my readers, even those that stumble across this blog by accident.

I've got a new project for the new year, "Project Minuteman:  ICBM/UFO Encounters."  The purpose of this new project is to start a database collection site of UFO incidents involving land based ICBMs (Atlas, Titan I and II, Minuteman I, II, III).

I'll be attempting to collect hard data that will be based on past Project Blue Book investigations and other applicable government documentation.  There are plenty of anecdotal stories that I may be able to match with the official records.

I anticipate that this will be a separate blog site.  This will free up this site for other stories, thoughts and musings.

I'll post more about this new project later...

Monday, December 22, 2014

UFO attempts to launch Malmstrom ICBM...1974



Robert Hastings has posted on his website, as well as covered on The UFO Chronicles website, a story about a UFO attempting to start the launch sequence of a Minuteman II ICBM. The setting takes place at Malmstrom back in 1974 involving the old 564th Strategic Missile Squadron. 

The Incident

According to Hastings' source, who wishes to remain anonymous, this then young ICBM deputy commander launch officer was out on alert at Romeo in the 564th back in 1974.  The incident occurred between 2000 hrs and 2200 hrs. The time frame, as far as months go, is between January and July, but possibly narrowed down to March.  This based on who the source was crewed with as his commander.

During the night in question, there was no maintenance activity out in the flight area.  The LF, Romeo 29, reports OZ/IZ security alarm violations so the security alarm team is sent to strike the site.  Upon arriving at the site, the security team observes a large self-illuminated object hovering over the LF.  Supposedly, the light is so bright that the actual shape of the object could not be determined.




Back at the Launch Control Center, the crew begins to receive the following sequences of events from Romeo 29:  Launch Enable, which the crew inputs an Inhibit Command to counter the enable command, then the sortie drops into LF No-Go.  After an undetermined period of time, Romeo 29 "spontaneous" restarts. [assuming back to Strat Alert or Calibration mode]

Then the following condition's again occur:  Launch Enable, another crew inputted Launch Inhibit Command [which did not take], Launch Commanded, Launch in Process, and finally Missile Away.  This sequence of events gave the crew the impression that Romeo 29 had actually launched.

The crew then contacts the security team outside of Romeo 29 to see if the missile had indeed launched, but are told that no launch had taken place.  The UFO, still presumably hovering over the site, then leaves the going straight up at a high rate of speed.  The security team notices that F-106 interceptors are in the squadron area.

Hastings' source later finds out that NORAD weapons controllers [SAGE unit back at Malmstrom] had tracked the object on radar.  The controllers could see both the object and F-106s on their scopes.

Meanwhile, back at Romeo 29, its supposedly found that the ground electronics were "fried", destroyed as if due to a massive electrical surge.  Despite the damage to the ground electronics, the missile guidance system is left intact with no internal damage.

What's Possible for the Launch Sequence

Is this plausible?  First, as Hastings' source correctly determines, there are two components to this story:  the LF indications and the UFO report.

The conditions occurring at Romeo 29 are indeed possible.  We have a sequence of indications that mimic an actual launch sequence, but these are false indications as the missile never did launch.

The enable code is stored in the down stage portion of the ICBM, it is actually loaded by an Elecrtical-Mechanical maintenance team when the site is brought back up to alert status during missile guidance system placement.  The enable code is also located back in the LCC which the commander starts the activation, but the deputy commander actually manually inputs the "unlock codes" after both crew members have accessed the unlock codes via the jointly locked safe.  It actually would have taken an Emergency War Order message from SAC HQ which would have designated the valid enable values that were to have been inputted into the system.  Both crew members, by SAC policy, would independently verify the unlock code values prior to activating the enable command.

Now we go to the activation of the launch code.  The full launch code is contained in the Launch Control Panel (LCP) back at the LCC.  The LCP is located at the commanders console.  To send a valid launch command, both crew members must simultaneously turn their respective launch keys to send out the command.  Back at the LF, on board the missile guidance system, the launch code is broken up into two parts.  On half of the launch code is located on the computer hard disk and the other half is located in the permutation plug (P-plug).  The P-plug (looks like a hockey puck) is physically separate from the on board computer.  Once the launch command reaches the missile guidance system, the two half codes are merged into one and thus terminal countdown begins...Launch in Process.

To counter act this process, there is another code, the Inhibit Launch Command, that is also a command input by the crew.  If all goes as planned then the launch sequence can be successfully aborted.  If successful, the missile will return to strat alert, go into calibration mode or drop LF No-Go.  If I remember correctly once the missile's status is Launch in Process, any command sent to the missile guidance system will have a report sent back to the crew as "computer busy" meaning that any sent command or status inquiry may be virtually impossible to get any responses back. (Similar to a busy dial tone on a telephone)

Can one crew, from one LCC, successfully launch a missile?  The answer is no.  As a fail safe, it takes two launch crews, from two separate LCCs to successfully launch a Minuteman missile.  Or, one LCC crew and one airborne launch crew (ALCC) to do the task.

So now we go back to the conditions shown by Romeo 29.  All of the indications were false readings and status reports.  The indications would have looked real to the crew and the actions by the crew would have been textbook regardless for all that they knew, the missile was actually in a real launch sequence.  But in the end the reported status from the LF were false, as the missile never launched and could not have launched based on the process involved that I mentioned above.

There is a process that, in a way, mimics a launch sequence.  The implementation of Sensitive Command Network (SCN) test.  This test will generally give all of the light indications culminating with a Missile Away light on the commanders console.  So if the problem started with the Logic Coupler drawer at the LF this would effected the SCN thus giving the light sequence and false reports back to the LCC.

This does bring up questions for Hastings' source:

1.  Were other 564th LCCs involved in the input of the inhibit command?  Generally, the other 4 LCCs would have been doing the same.
2.  Was the Romeo's secondary LCC (Sierra?) involved in this incident as they would have also received the print outs from Romeo 29?
3.  Was was any input from the 564th's squadron command post, Tango?
4.  Was Romeo 29  Strat alert to begin with during this particular alert status?
5.  What were the weather conditions?  A thunderstorm could have easily set off the OZ with the vibrations from the thunder setting off the IZ.  This was not uncommon even when I was on alert back in the 1980s.

It would be helpful if any maintenance records could be accessed for this time period and a peek at the previous maintenance history of the site.  But I'm well aware that such things are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to access.

The UFO Angle of the Story

As far as the UFO sighting, we are told that the security team reported the observation, but to whom first...the flight security controller topside at Romeo or directly to the crew via radio?  As typical in these cases, we are left with no names, but merely secondary sources concerning the actual eye witnesses.  

Regarding the NORAD angle, once again we are left with second and third hand accounts that NORAD tracked the object.  There are no documents available to show that this is true. That does not mean the documentation does not exist, but at this point in time, we have no way to access them.  The only documentation that Hastings, or any other researcher has, is the NORAD information concerning a 1975 incident at Malmstrom.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we have an interesting story with little corroborating evidence.  It would be helpful if the anonymous source would have his former commander's input, if possible.  The fault sequences are plausible especially if the SCN were affected.  On our part, it would be further helpful if we had access to wing job control, wing security and wing command post logs.  The anonymous source's crew log for that alert cycle would be invaluable for this case.

As far the UFO story, we have very little to go with.  We are lacking any first hand accounts from the security responsive team and Romeo's FSC, thus we only have a secondary source who is currently "anonymous."  If the FSC relayed the report, then we have a tertiary source.  Again with little to go with.  We have no actual logs from wing security control for verification. The same can be said of the NORAD controllers.  Logs and other reports would be much helpful, but even with the NORAD segment of the story, we are left with second hand, hearsay, information. 

One component of the story is plausible, the other is left lacking at this point in time.

Oh...least I forget...did this really happen?


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Re-Look at the Malmstrom/Echo Flight Case: Has anything changed?

During the past 4 weeks, the Unexplained Mysteries Forum has been discussing the Echo Flight incident.  It's been a lively discussion and for the most part has been interesting so far as the subtopics that were raised.  In the end, the question (for some) still remain whether a UFO caused the flight's missile guidance systems to shut down.

For those not familiar with the case, on 16 March 1967,  Malmstrom AFB's Echo Flight sustained a full flight shutdown of all 10 of it's ICBMs.  An indepth investigation would eventually lead to the conclusion that a "noise" pulse was generated from the Launch Control Center that affect the ICBM missile guidance system.

The then on duty deputy missile launch commander, Walter Figel, would later state to Robert Hastings and Robert Salas that he had received a report from a missile maintenance team or a security guard that a UFO was seen hovering above one of the flight's Launch Facilities, thus driving the debate.

A portion of the discussion on UM's forum centered around the statements given by Walter Figel in two interviews given to Hastings and Salas.  For some, this is proof positive that a UFO had caused the missile shutdowns.  My counter argument has always been that Figel gave two completely different versions of the supposedly event.  The version given to Hastings is different from that given to Salas.  This renders Walter Figel's statements irrelevant and suspect...in my opinion.

As I've stated on this blog on numerous occasions,  the 341st Strategic Missile Wing's unit history and the subsequent engineering investigation and analysis do not mention any maintenance/security teams on any of the launch facilities which cast further doubt on the statements given by Walter Figel.  

Another area of interest that was discussed was a section of the unit history that mentions that "the rumors of UFOs were disproven..."  This brings up an interesting point of discussion, as the unit history references the paragraph to the engineering report.  Someone had to have provided details as to why UFO rumors were "disproven" and I seriously doubt that it was the engineering task group that did so.  This may have lead to the input of LtCol Lewis Chase, the base UFO officer.

Of special note, Chase never elevated Echo Flight to Project Blue Book for an investigation, nor is there any evidence that Blue Book personnel tasked Chase to conduct an investigation.  But the questions remains where did the "rumors of UFO's were disproven" come from.  Some on the UM forum speculate that a separate investigation was ensued based on the supplanting of AFR 200-2 with AFR 80-17 in Sept 1966.  Again, this may have been true, but as of yet nothing has surfaced to validate these claims.

To understand AFR 80-17, we have to look at the program objectives:


2. Program Objectives.  Air Force interest in UFOs is two-fold: to determine if the UFO is a possible threat to the United states and to use the scientific and technical data gained from study of UFO reports.  To attain these objectives, it is necessary to explain or identify the stimulus which caused the observer to report his observation as an unidentified flying object.
   a. Air Defence.  The majority of UFOs reported to the Air Force have been conventional or
       familiar objects which pose no threat to our security.
       (1) It may be possible that foreign countries may develop flying vehicles of revolutionary
            configuration or propulsion.
       (2) Frequently, some alleged UFOs are determined to be aircraft.  Air Defence Command
             (ADC) is responsible for identification of aircraft.  Except as aircraft are determined to be
             the stimulus for a UFO report, aircraft are not to be reported under the provisions of this
             regulation.
   b. Technical and Scientific.  The Air Force will analyze reports of UFOs submitted to it to attain
       the program objectives.  In this connection these facts are of importance:
       (1) The need for further scientific knowledge in geophysics, astronomy and physics of the
             upper atmosphere which may be provided by study and analysis of UFOs and similar aerial
             phenomena.
       (2) The need to report all pertinent factors that have a direct bearing on scientific analysis and
            conclusions of UFO sightings.
       (3) The need and the importance of complete case information.  Analysis has explained all but a
             small percentage of the sightings which have been reported to the Air Force.  The ones that
             have not been explained are carried statistically as "unidentified."  Because of the human
             factors involved and because of analysis of a UFO sightings depends on a personal
             interpretation   by the observer rather than on scientific data or facts obtained under
             controlled conditions, the elimination of all unidentifieds is improbable.  However, if more
             immediate, detailed and objective data on the unidentifieds that have been available and
             promptly reported, perhaps these too, could have been identified.

Based on the above, it would appear that the primary focus was to identify UFOs with the purpose of ascertaining if foreign countries had developed technologies that would have allowed incursion into the United States posing as possible security threats.  This would make sense due to a then expanding Soviet capability and threat to our national resources.

But where does Echo Flight fit into this scenario?  Again, we go back to AFR 80-17:

 c. Investigation.  Each commander of an Air Force Base will provide a UFO investigative
       capability.  When notice of a UFO sighting is received, an investigation will be implemented to
       determine if the stimulus for the sighting.

The question for consideration:  was there a notice of a UFO sighting?  We simply don't know for sure if Walter Figel's alleged report from the flight area would have stimulated an investigation, because it is unknown prior to his decades later interviews that he had ever told anyone his story.  The crew commander Eric Carlson stated in an interview with Ryan Dube, that there was never any mentioning of UFOs during the shutdown event.  Plus, no eyewitness has ever come forward to validate Figel's initial claims.  If there are no witnesses that had visual observation, then there is no reason to investigate.

Yet, there were rumors of UFOs, and these rumors permeate the narratives of Henry Barlow, LtCol Arneson, and Robert Jamison, though none of these individuals saw anything themselves. The local newspaper was awash with UFO reports.  And it stands to reason that these accumulated rumors would have drifted to the investigation team.

Despite all that was discussed, I've yet to see any persuasive argument to alter my views.  The cause of the noise pulse came from the Launch Control Center and traveled via the HICS cabling system to each Launch Facility, thus causing the missile guidance systems to enter into a "controlled" shutdown.

There remains no credible or verifiable evidence to support a UFO causation be it ET or a foreign source.



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Minot AFB 1968 UFO Incident: Oscar Flight FSC William Smith...Part 5

The observations of an unusual object/light which was observed in the early morning hours of 24 October 1968 was not strictly an issue involving November Flight.  Oscar Flight's FSC, William Smith also had reported visual observations from his location.  

William Smith's AF-117 and later 2001 interview provides a description of a light source low above the horizon seen SSW of his location at Oscar Flight.  Based on the physical orientation of the LCF, FSC's office facing due south, Smith would have had a clear view from his office windows.

William Smith's AF-117




Smith states that his observation occurred between 0230 and 0415 on 24 Oct 1968.  He drew a positional map were the object was seen south of O-01.  Both his initial sighting and last observed location (A and B) show a light source SSW and 15 degrees above the horizon.  Smith drew a zig-zag pattern of the object's movements.  He observed the object off and on for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  The movement was steady and smooth rising slight. It would disappear completely at times, fade or dim.

The night was completely overcast, no stars, clouds, no moon.  The only lighting source was the security lighting on Oscar's LCF.

The phenomenon appeared to be  reddish burnt orange.  Smith saw it fade and change as a star might twinkle.  He also noticed a slight hint of green, but burnt orange was the dominant color.  The object appeared as a star would appear on a clear night.  No edges were visible from his position.

What drew his attention to the light source/object was his being notified that it [object] had been seen in an adjacent area.  He then alerted his sentry and directed his gaze south of his position and saw the object.  About 15 minutes after my sentry had sighted it.  I was visible one moment and just vanished.

It appeared star-like with an unknown angular size.  Smith drew a diagram showing the object moving east and west.  Speed estimated at 75 knots and at a distance of 10 miles.

The object resembled the planet Mars as it is while rising on the horizon.  It was similar in color and size.  It would fade from view.

Smith had never seen a phenomena like this.

Smith had his security response team with him.

Reported his observation to Wing Security Control (WSC) 24 Oct 1968.

He completed his AF-117 on 26 Oct 1968.

End of AF-117.

Items of Interests

Smith states that the object/light was seen SSW of his location which would have been in the direction covering a portion of both November and Oscar Flight, but he gives the impression that his security team first spotted something due south.  This gives the impression that two separate objects at separate locations were observed, but Smith never states that he saw two objects.  Was his sighted object south or SSW of his location?

If it was solely SSW, then this would have been in the general direction towards N-07.  If the sighting was actually due south then this would have been in the direction towards O-6. Confusion or two separate objects?

Smith lists his first observation at 0230, but WSC's log shows that Oscar reported at 0320. This is almost a difference of an hour.  It's possible that Smith was observing something and it came into his view about the 0230 time and made the call to WSC later at 0320.  Despite this possibility, November Flight made the initial call to WSC at 0308 and Smith wrote that he became aware of the object due to being notified it was "seen in an adjacent area."

What is meant by "adjacent area?"  Smith never clarified, but the area adjacent to Oscar Flight was November Flight.  There was a Camper Alert Team (CAT) posted on O-06 at this time and some have speculated that this initial report might have originated with this security team.

"I was notified it had been seen in an adjacent area.  I alerted my sentry.  I directed my gaze south of my position and saw the object about 15 minutes after my sentry sighted it."

Per Smith's AF-117, his security response team was with him on site at Oscar for the entire duration of the sighting.  Smith makes no mentioning of the CAT on O-06.  Did Smith receive a call from November and had his on-site security scan the sky in the direction of November Flight and they spotted something and reported this to Smith?

Or, did Smith receive the report from the CAT posted on O-06?  The WSC log lists the CAT on O-6, but did not list an observation time.  This can be interpreted that the CAT did not report any observations to WSC or Smith leading to the plausible conclusion that Smith's security response team reported the sighting to him.  Of note, LtCol Werlich never had the CAT members fill out a AF-117 meaning they had nothing to report, or they were simply forgotten about.

In an interview with Tom Tulien conducted in 2001, Smith made a vague statement about the possibility that a Combat Targeting Team was on either on O-6 or O-7 and that they had seen a large glowing light.  The problem with this statement is that there is no documentation available to support this possibility.  The WSC log shows no additional security personnel posted on O-7 nor is any reference made confirming a Combat Targeting Team on any site within both November and Oscar flights.

Smith makes no mentioning of the B-52.  In a interview with Tom Tulien, Smith states that he did not see the B-52, but he was notified by Oscar's launch crew that the aircraft "was going to the area."  This is reasonable since the wing command post would have notified all of the launch crews whose flight areas the aircraft would have overflown. Further, the crews would have been directed to what UHF channel to monitor for radio traffic.

Correlations with other observers

Smith's SSW point of observation would have been in the general location of N-07.  For a stellar possibility, none seem to fit.  Rigel would have been somewhat SSW of Smith's location, but only at around 0500 and much higher in elevation above the horizon.  At a point in time, one wonders if he may well have seen the B-52 and not realizing it.  

This brings the issue of the physical intrusion onto O-7 into the picture.  Who or what was responsible?  Smith makes no reference to this incident in his AF-117, but the incident is up channeled and provided to PBB.   Was 0-7, along with the B-52 radar contact, the driving force behind SAC HQ's push for answers?  I will post a separate blog article, because this segment of the Minot story intrigues. 


Monday, November 10, 2014

It came out of the sky...

I am a big fan of Creedence Clearwater Revival.  I'm fortunate to own all of their vinyl albums, all in storage back at the family home in Texas.  John Fogerty is/was a master at weaving the blues theme into rock music.  His music was timely and captured the pulse of the nation back in the late 1960s to the mid 1970s.

To me, Fogerty's lyrics are a sociologist's dream, as he explored the psyche of a nation during the political upheavals and socio-economical impacts of the Nixon era.  The nation was starting its slide into a deep recession, an unpopular war raged on in Vietnam, and the Cold War continued to cast a shadow of fear and doubt...we all were experiencing the blues. Fogerty penned these collective emotions to paper and then to music.  My god, he could sing the blues...our blues...

Back in 1969, CCR released their album "Willie and the Poor Boys" with much acclaim and success.  One of the album's songs is relevant to the topic of UFOs.  "It Came Out of the Sky" speaks of the hysteria of society and the reaction of government/media/religion as all attempt to capitalize on this collective hysteria.  Fogerty penned a parody that humorously captured this theme.  I loved it then and still love it now.

To listen to the song, go to youtube.  Here are the lyrics:

                                             "It Came Out Of The Sky"                                                     
Oh, it came out of the sky, landed just a little south of Moline
Jody fell out of his tractor, couldn't b'lieve what he seen
Laid on the ground and shook, fearin' for his life
Then he ran all the way to town screamin' "It came out of the sky."
Well, a crowd gathered 'round and a scientist said it was marsh gas
Spiro came and made a speech about raising the Mars tax
The Vatican said, "Woe, the Lord has come"
Hollywood rushed out an epic film
And Ronnie the Popular said it was a communist plot

Oh, the newspapers came and made Jody a national hero
Walter and Eric said they'd put him on a network T.V. show
The White House said, "Put the thing in the Blue Room"
The Vatican said, "No, it belongs to Rome."
And Jody said, "It's mine and you can have it for seventeen million."

Oh, it came out of the sky, landed just a little south of Moline
Jody fell out of his tractor, couldn't b'lieve what he seen
Laid on the ground a shakin', fearin' for his life
Then he ran all the way to town screamin' "It came out of the sky."


Did Jody see and recover a meteorite, or something else?  I'm leaning towards a meteorite, but take notice that scientist claimed it was "marsh gas."  Reference to Project Blue Book or academia in general?

Why would Spiro (Spiro Agnew, Nixon's Vice-President) give a speech to raise the "Mars tax" for a run of the mill meteorite...or was it something else?  

Ronnie the Popular (Ronald Reagan) said it was a communist plot, linking the "event" to the Cold War.  Now this would appear to rule out a simple meteor.  What could those dastardly Soviets been up to?

What ever it was, it was enough to cause Jody to fall off of his tractor and run screaming into town. Despite this great awakening moment, capitalism wins the day as Jody was willing to part with it for $17 million.

Its a period piece of satire, but it humorously illustrates how ridiculously we tend to react to something unusual. Should this be Roswell's theme song?  Based on the current state of affairs with ufology, researchers should take solace...Fogerty sings your blues.


Note to reader:  Lyrics obtained from azlyrics.com and can be seen here.