Friday, November 26, 2010

Did UFOs Disable Minuteman Missiles at Malmstrom AFB in 1967?

When it comes to the existence of UFOs, I have to admit that I'm rather agnostic about the subject.  Its simple for me, over the past 53 years, I've never seen a UFO.  I don't rule the phenomenon out completely, but I'm of the mind frame that you have to "show me the saucer" or better yet, I need to see one with my own eyes.  The case of the Malmstrom AFB UFO incident that allegedly happened in 1967 caught my attention about a year ago.  Malmstrom was my first Air Force assignment, stationed there from 1981 to 1985.  I was assigned to the 490th Strategic Missile Squadron as a Minuteman II launch officer.  My primary alert facilities where November-01, Lima-01 and Kilo-01.  During my time on station, I never saw a UFO, nor did I hear from other alert crew members that they had seen one.  Curiously, I had never heard of any stories about UFOs disabling ICBM.  We would talk about the myths and legends surrounding our "haunted" Launch Facility, A-05, but UFOs weren't in our lexicon.

A UFO Mysteriously Causes 10 Minuteman ICBMs to Drop Off Alert

On the morning of March 16, 1967, Capt Eric Carlson and Lt Walter Figel were finishing up their alert cycle at the 10th Strategic Missile Squadron's Echo-01 Launch Control Center located near Winifred, MT. At approximately 0845, an alarm sounded indicating a missile fault. One of Echo's Launch Facilities (LF) had dropped from "Strategic Alert" to off alert. The crew, following tech order procedures initiated a Voice Reporting Signal Assembly (VRSA) channel check that revealed a reporting channel 9, LF No-Go, effecting the Minuteman I's guidance and control system. In rapid succession, the rest of Echo's remaining 9 sorties drop off alert status. All with the same VRSA channel 9 LF No-Go report.

Fast forward three decades. UFO researcher, Robert Hastings, tells an interesting tale of UFOs and a subsequent Air Force cover-up involving the Echo Flight shutdown. In an article on the web site, "Did UFOs Cause the Shutdown of ICBMs at Malmstrom AFB in March 1967?" dated 12-26-2008, Hastings provides the contents of a telephone interview with Col Walter Figel (USAF Ret).

Figel basically tells Hastings that during the morning of 16 March 1967 all ten missile did drop off alert with VRSA ch 9 No-Go reports. At least two of the LFs had maintenance teams on site. Two LFs were on diesel generators as backup power sources. When asked what was causing the faults, the maintenance team member stated, "Must be a UFO hovering over the site." Figel thought that the individual was joking. A subsequent call from a security guard stated that he could see an object over the LF. Figel thought that the man seemed serious but not panicked.

Figel recalls being relieved by the new on-coming crew and returning to base where he and Carlson were questioned by squadron personnel. When asked if Carlson heard all of the radio communications from the maintenance and security teams, Figel said that Carlson heard everything as he was sitting no more than two feet away.

When asked if Carlson had said anything to Hastings in a 10-6-08 interview, Hastings stated that Carlson seemed reluctant to talk about it. Carlson did not recall any UFO involvement nor did he recall ever talking to Figel about UFOs causing the shutdown incident. Thus ended the interview.

In another on-line article on the site, Robert Salas and Jim Klotz, "The Malmstrom AFB UFO/Missile Incident" originally dated 27 Nov 1996, updated 15 May 2000, provides a brief accounting of the Echo Flight incident basically identical to the Hastings/Figel account. The thrust of the article promotes Salas experience at Oscar Flight on 24 March 1967. Salas states that on alert as a Deputy Missile Combat Crew Commander at the 490th SMS Oscar Flight (near Roy, MT), security personnel top-side reported that they saw two star-like objects zig-zagging around in the night sky. Moments later, Oscar's Flight Security Controller (FSC) reported a UFO hovering outside of the facility's gate. The object was glowing red. Salas states that he then reported the information to the command post. (Kilo-01, the squadron's command post or the Wing Command Post back at the base?) The FSC calls back Salas that one man has been injured and is in the process of being evacuated by helicopter back to the base. At this point Salas awakens his crew commander, Fred Meiwald, and briefs him on the events. About this time, alarms sound and 6 to 8 LFs drop off of alert and all registering No-Go indications.

What is interesting about the Salas and Klotz article is that Salas thought that he was on alert at November-01 LCC during the night of 24 March 1967, hence the update to the original article now depicting Salas at Oscar-01.  There is no documentation showing that anyone was injured at Oscar-01 and helicoptered back to base.

So, as can be seen, Hastings, Salas and Klotz present testimony that UFOs caused, not just Echo Flight to shutdown, but 6 to 8 missile shut downs in Oscar Flight. Since the Echo Flight incident is referenced in detail in declassified Air Force documents with no mentioning of the Oscar Flight incident, Hastings, Salas and Klotz have declared that SAC and the Air Force intentionally covered-up the fact that UFOs disabled numerous ICBMs.

Robert Jamison

On 1-12-2009, Robert Hastings posted another article on, "UFOs DID Shutdown Minuteman Missiles at Echo and Oscar Flight at Malmstrom AFB in March 1967." The focus of Hastings article was to show that Figel's account was echoed in a interview given to Robert Salas and Jim Klotz. By this time Salas and Klotz were in the process of writing their co-authored book, Faded Giant. Hastings provides another interview which he uses as confirmation that both Echo and Oscar Flights were brought down by a UFO. Thus in Hastings' opinion this proves that SAC and the Air Force engaged in a cover-up.

Robert C. Jamison provided Hastings with his experience during the March 1967 incident. Jamison was a 1stLt assigned to a Combat Targeting Team (CTT). As the CTT commander, Jamison assisted in the restart of an entire flight of ten Minueman I ICBMs. He was "certain" that the restart occurred in a flight near Lewistown, MT believing that in may have been Oscar Flight. (Oscar is near Roy, MT; November is near Grassrange, MT) Jamison recalled that the start ups occurred around the 24/25 March time-frame.

Prior to being dispatched to the field, Jamison's team is kept on the base as a precaution to UFO reports coming from the field. He and his team received a special briefing concerning UFO reporting procedures. While awaiting to be dispatched to the field, Jamison overhears radio traffic concerning a UFO sighting near Belt, MT. (Belt is approx. 15 miles east of Great Falls/Malmstrom) Jamison's team is eventually dispatched and performs restarts at 3 to 4 LFs. While performing his tasks, Jamison stated that he saw nothing unusual. Two weeks later Jamison responded to a partial flight shutdown southwest of Great Falls. Hastings believes that this may have been India Flight.

In Hastings' conclusion, he believes that Jamison responded to the Oscar Flight shutdowns. This is interesting as Jamison stated that he responded to a full flight shutdown not a partial shutdown as stated in Salas' and Klotz's article. No where in the article does Jamison actually state what flight/flights that the restarts occurred in. After conferring with Hastings, Salas would then change his story that he was at Oscar rather than November Flight.

Who Saw the UFOs?

Let's look at some of the particular claims that supposedly supports UFOs as the cause of the Echo Flight shutdowns.

1. Lt. Walter Figel receives a report from one of the maintenance personnel at one of Echo's LFs that a UFO is seen hovering over the site. The maintenance team member would have either been in the Soft Support Building (partially underground, housing the diesel generator and other equipment, totally separate from the silo itself) or from inside the LF/silo. In either case, there would have been no way that the maintenance personnel could have had visual sighting of any object. Figel stated to Hastings that he contacted the maintenance team by radio.  In order to verify the LF No-Go and its corresponding VRSA channel, the maintenance team would have had to have been in the LF itself and communicating back to Figel by use of the Secure Intersite Network (SIN) lines.  Both team members would have had to have been together in the LF since the inside of the LF was a "NO LONE ZONE" and the enforcement of the SAC Two Man Policy would have been in effect.  Only the security guard would have been topside providing site security.

2. There are no names associated with the maintenance/security personnel. Simply, we do not know who these individuals were. Of all of the individuals that Hastings had interviewed, the people that supposedly saw the UFO remain unknown to this day.

3. Lt. Figel thought that the maintenance team chief was joking. He initially did not take this seriously. And most importantly neither Figel or his commander, Eric Carlson, ever make the claim that they had seen a UFO. After they were relieved from their alert duties, Carlson and Figel would have had at least a two hour drive back to Malmstrom. Surely they would have observed something unusual and would have told Hastings during the interviews.

4. Lt. Jamison tells a story of UFO briefings prior to dispatching to the field, yet he does not report seeing a UFO while performing his tasks for the missile restarts. Jamison states that he was dispatched with his CTT to perform a full flight missile restart, yet he cannot recall what flight that he responded to.

5. Salas has had difficulty in deciding which site that he was on alert. Initially he thought that he was at November but later changed to being at Oscar only after conferring with Hastings. Regardless, the 341st SMW Wing History, 1 Jan -30 March 1967 (pg 32) only describes the Echo Flight shutdowns. There is no mentioning of any issues occurring in either Oscar or November Flights. There is no mentioning of airlifting an injured man back to the base via helicopter. Salas never states that he actually saw a UFO. Salas, like Hastings, is unable to name the individuals at Oscar that supposedly saw a UFO.

UFOs are talked about or alluded to, but none of the principle characters of Hastings' story sees or reports any strange objects flying in the sky or hovering over an ICBM launch site. The UFO hypothesis remains seriously in doubt. I propose a different set of hypothesis based upon the Minuteman I's complexity and the reporting of UFO sightings starting in January of 1967.

1.The ten missiles in Echo Flight shut down due to a power system anomaly, though unusual in the number of involved LFs, a similar incident had occurred in 1966, on a smaller scale, at another 10th Strategic Missile Squadron Flight.

2. The involvement of UFOs started out as a practical joke due to the past reports of sighting by the local population and subsequently published reports in the local newspapers and talked about for three months prior to the 16 March 1967 Echo Flight incident.

Echo Flight's ten Launch Facilities (LFs) shutdown due to a power system/supply anomaly.

The concept, design and development of the Minuteman ICBM weapon system started as mobile rail based system. But due to logistical and local political problems, the system eventually evolved into a underground silo based missile system. The basing concept was one that had one Launch Control Center (LCC) being able to remotely monitor 10 distant LFs. Initially, each LF housed the Minuteman IA ICBM and over the coming decades the missile and its corresponding command and control system would be modified to eventually support the current Minuteman III system. The initial growth in the system's complexity was mainly due to the ongoing enhancement of positive control and the fear of an unauthorized launch.

Yet, as the system matured, problems arose due to the remoteness of the LFs from the support base. An LF could be as close to it's support base as 20 miles and as far as 150 miles. Security for the LF was remotely monitored from its LCC. The LF needed power which was supplied commercially and in the case of interruptions, a back up diesel generator supplied standby power until commercial powere returned. Should the backup diesel generator fail, then the site would go on battery power. USAF Ballistic Missile Program, 1964-1966, Bernard Nalty.

As early as 1964, the LF diesel generators were a growing problem. Due to the initial system design, the missile launch crew could not monitor the backup diesel generators. The original diesel generators were used more than what SAC had anticipated causing an increase in fuel consumption and decreasing the oil levels leading to infield failures. This required the LF to switch to its last redundant backup system ....batteries. USAF Ballistic Missile Program, 1967-1968, Bernard Nalty.

During the 1965-1966, SAC's Minuteman wings faced numerous operational disruptions due to storms which downed commercial power lines. Diesel generator failures out in the field was of great concern. (pg. 13) In some cases, diesel generators continued running well after returning to commercial power. In 1966, SAC started a program to refurbish/replace the standby diesel generators and components. The program resulted in:

1. Mechanism to switch automatically to internal power supply.
2. Found out that the new switching mechanism was overly sensitive to fluctuations in commercial current.
3. This sensitivity was fixed by installing a 2 second delay after sensing a change in voltage and the shutting off of commercial power. Then the system would allow a switch to diesel generators.

 Bernard Nalty's History and James Carlson's Research

After the Echo Flight shutdown, SAC and other agencies began a comprehensive investigation. Bernard Nalty briefly gives a short accounting of the incident, USAF Ballistic Missile Program, 1967-1968 (pgs 16-17).

March 1967- entire flight of Minuteman I missiles at Malmstrom AFB abruptly drop off alert. Tests at Malmstrom, Ogden, and Boeing revealed the following:

1. Possible electronic noise pulse as probable causation.

2. Surge pulse was similar to an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) event.

3. Follow on test and evaluations showed that the Minuteman I was most vulnerable to electronic noise pulses that interfered with the LF's Logic Coupler, located in the missile's MGS.

4. Further testing showed that the Minuteman II missile guidance system was equally vulnerable to noise pulses.

5. The recommended fixes via Engineering Change Proposals (ECPs) was a system-wide installation of EMP filters for the suppression of EMP and other related "noise" pulses.

As I stated above, Nalty gives the incident a brief notation in his history, but he confirms that the event actually occurred, but was there a cover-up? Nalty does not mention any other flights dropping off alert, ie, November or Oscar flights. This is where I have to give James Carlson credit for his research. James Carlson is the son of Eric Carlson.  James has been persistent that no UFO had caused the Echo Flight shutdowns.  Eric Carlson has always claimed that no UFOs were involved.  James' debate with Hastings showed that he had "dug" into the "noise" pulse theory in a rather thorough manner. In fact, James was doing what Hastings and others should have been doing: ruling out other possible factors that could have caused the flight to drop off alert.

The 341st Strategic Missile Wing Unit History

Via the Black site's FOIA documents, UFO Case: Malmstrom AFB UFO/Missile Incident March 16, 1967 excerpts from the declassified 341st SMW Unit History.

"The 341st SMW and 341st Combat Support Group 1 Jan-30 Mar 1967" Prepared by A2C David B. Gamble.

The unit's history was initially classified SECRET to comply with SACR 210-1 and AFR 205-1. The reason for the unit's classified history was due to the revealing of the unit's current military capabilities and operational status.

Page 32, titled "Investigation of Echo Flight Incident" documents the actual shutdown and the wing's, SAC, AF, and other agencies response.

16 Mar 1967, 0845, all ten sorties of Echo Flight shutdown with No-Go VRSA channels 9 and 12 indications. All of the sorties dropped off alert nearly simultaneously. Not other units were effected. A Guidance and Control channel 50 data dump was collected from LFs E-7 and E-08. All ten of the LFs were returned to strategic alert without the need for equipment replacement. All sorties showed that they were subjected to a "normal" controlled shutdown.

E-8 was previously experiencing intermittent operation of diesel generator, that is, on stand-by power and not on commercial power.  Inspection of the LCC cables, communication cable lines from LCC to all 10 LFs, showed not discrepancies. The LCF/LCC had commercial power problems in the afternoon of 16 March. This resulted in the burnout of the 10HP ECS chiller compressor motor.  The chiller provides cooling air for the LCC and its equipment racks.  Based upon the non-alert status of an entire missile flight, SAC HQ directed analysis by OOAMA (Ogeden/Hill AFB). A task force was set up involving OOMA, Boeing, Autonetics, and 15th AF. (Pg. 33)

Fault Isolator Test Tapes were extracted from both E-07 and E-08. (pg 34) The LCC crew was questioned about the days events by the Wing Maintenance Evaluation Team, OOMA and Boeing on 16 March. (Figel had told Hastings that they were questioned only by squadron personnel. He omitted be questioned by members of the task force.) The crew reported that all ten sorties dropped off of alert within 10-40 seconds. On the commander's console stand-by lights or fault lights were illuminated. (I am assuming what was meant is that prior to the sorties dropping off alert there were no fault indication lights illuminated. Once the sorties dropped off alert, there would have been a fault light illuminated, then the crew would have interrogated for any active VRSA channels via the VRSA panel located on the deputy's console.) E-8 had previously had an active VRSA channel 26 which showed the the site was operating on back-up diesel generator. (pg 35)

The deputy commander (Figel) had awaken the commander (Carlson). The commander was first to see the faults on his console, the deputy commander had his back turned from the console. (pg 36) (Again, assuming that Figel received the radio reports from the maintenance teams and Carlson awoke just in time to see the fault indications on his console.) The Channel 50 data dump for E-7 and E-8 showed that both sites had shut down due to external influences to the Guidance and Control.

19 March, channel 50 data dump was obtained for E-02 and E-09. By then, both missiles had been returned to strategic alert. Both missile's Guidance and Control showed no previous No-Go loop. If a true No-Go situation had occurred, both Guidance and Controls would have showed LFNA (not authenticating due to loss of codes) and only VRSA channel 9. Due to the lack of these indications and data, the No-Go theory was eliminated. All ten sorties had reported VRSA channels 9 and 12 (effecting the guidance and control and the logic coupler respectively). Only the logic coupler is capable of generating both VRSA 9 and 12, if an external generated signal is present. (pg 37)  Finally weather was ruled out as a factor.

On page 38, an interesting notation is made that UFO proponents, such as Hastings, Salas, Klotz, and others, have deemed as a "smoking gun" and the possible beginnings of a cover-up. A2C Gamble writes, "Rumors of UFOs at the time of incident disproven." (I will show that UFO "sightings" were numerous leading up to 16 March and lasting until the Belt "sighting" on 24 March. These interesting reports set the stage for a "viral" rumor mill and possibly set up a potential practical joke that may have gotten out of hand.)Again, the unit history states that UFO rumors were disproven, yet, in keeping with then Air Force protocol (Project Blue Book was still in effect), a query was made into any unusual sightings out in the flight areas east of Malmstrom (10th SMS and 490th SMS). A Mobile Strike Team was in the November Flight area and reported that they saw no unusual activities or sightings. The 801st Radar Squadron, back at Malmstrom, saw nothing on radar for the Echo Flight area - no atmospheric interference problems. (pg 38)

Was It Rare For 3 or more Missiles to Drop Off Alert?

Referencing the 341st SMW Unit History, 1 Jan - 30 Mar 1967, (pg 38-39), a review of the wing's maintenance history showed that a similar incident occurred at the 10th SMS's Alpha Flight. On 19 December 1966, A-6, A-7, and A-10 experienced shutdowns. As in the Echo incident, there were similarities:

1. Carlson and Figel were the alert crew.
2. Weather was not a factor.
3. There were commercial power failures at the LCC after the LFs had shutdown.

This is probably why Carlson and Figel were questioned by the Wing Maintenance Evaluation Team. I find it interesting that Hastings, Salas, and Klotz, failed to mention this in their respective articles. In fact, Salas and Klotz only provided pages 32 -38 of the Unit History as references/links in their article, "The Malmstrom AFB UFO/Missile Incident", omitted 20-25 pages of the Unit History that showed that SAC and other agencies had indeed conducted extensive test and evaluations in response to the incident. These evaluations would continue for almost a full year. They appeared to pick only those pages that would boister a UFO/cover up hypothesis.

The on-going investigation started to center around the HICS lines to and from the LCC and ten LF. These are hardened cable lines that are internally pressurized (pneumatically) and allow commands and status interrogations to be elicited back and forth from the LCC and LF. If a drop in pressure occurred in the lines, then this would mean that a cable was accidentally cut, or in the extremes, "someone" was intentionally "tapping" into the system. This would trigger an alarm in the LCC and a security situation would be called requiring security personnel to search the flight for any "unusual" activity. (In Minuteman II, my system in the 1980s, the commands were encrypted. Any HICS line issues would result in a security situation and the entire flight, and if need be, the entire squadron to go into Anti-Jam Mode. The makings of a crappy alert.)

Referencing the 341st SMW Wing History, 1 Apr - 30 June 1967:

At Boeing, engineers established that a 30 micro second pulse (-10 to 0 volt square wave) Self Test Command at Coupler Logic Drawer Interface resulted in a shutdown with VRSA channel 9 and 12 No-Go 70 percent of the time. Autonetics' tests showed the a pulse generated long enough resulted in a Initiate Coupler Self Test. This caused a sequencing error between the Guidance and Control and Coupler modes. The sequencing error was deemed capable of initiating a Guidance and Control and Logic Coupler No-Go shutdown (VRSA 9 and 12). Boeing decided that they needed to determine the source and path of the noise pulse to the Logic Computer. (This was James Carlson's contention and his research alerted me to look at this issue closely.)

As Boeing was conducting their pulse pathway evaluations, they found that EMP issues via the Secure Intersite Network (SIN) lines were susceptible to noise-type pulses at Minuteman II wings. Since the SIN lines go only to and from the LCC and its ten LFs, this could explain a flight peculiar problem. Possible sources of the noise pulse at Echo Flight:

1. Transformer failure at the LCF.

2. Ground current flow via the HICS cables, easily providing a pathway inducing voltage pulses on SIN lines to all of the flight's LFs.

Subsequent field tests showed that there were no significant problems with Echo's SIN lines. This lead Boeing to believe that the cause was more than likely not a power issue but more in line with an EMP nature. SAC would eventually ask Air Force Systems Command - Ballistic System Division to test Malmstrom"s units for EMP vulnerability.

341st SMW History, 1 July - 30 Sept 1967:

As noted in the previously mentioned history, Boeing's testing of noise pulses via the SIN lines to the Logic Coupler was disproven as the cause of the problem. With that said, Boeing did prove that the Logic Coupler was capable of receiving noise pulse irregularities. Boeing's lab test showed the following:

1. When tested in a lab environment, 60 percent of the time, the same shutdown response occurred as did Echo Flight.

2. 85 percent of the time this resulted in a missile sortie downgraded to "non-EWO" status. Basically, the missile sortie would drop off of strategic alert status. (EWO = Emergency War Orders, the ability to accept and recognize a valid launch command from one or more LCCs in a given flight)

Subsequent testing of Minuteman II wings showed that the logic couplers were susceptible to "noise" impulses which resulted in a sortie dropping off of alert. These noise impulses were later to be identified as EMPs. As concerns for EMP vulnerability became the prime culprit, SAC via Boeing, Ogden, and AF Systems Command would institute a Minuteman force-wide implementation of EMP filters.

A review of comments from current and former missile crews on the web site reveals that as of this date, no crew member has ever experience an unknown abrupt loss of all ten ICBMs in a flight. I, author of this post, count myself among those former crew members and concur with the general consensus.

The "Infamous" SAC letter!

SAC Message to OOMA, Hill AFB, originally SECRET

Upon review of the letter, it appears to be similar to the type of messages sent back and forth between AF commands, wings, and support agencies. I can make a "strong" assumption that the SAC message to Hill AFB is authentic. Based upon the content of the message, I can clearly understand why the message was classified SECRET but not for the reasons that UFO/cover-up theorist may believe.

The 341st SMW had already started an "in-house" evaluation and reported their preliminary results to SAC prior to this letter being generated. As of now those initial messages appear to either remain classified or lost. But what makes this particular letter classified SECRET?

SAC uses the following language:

"The fact that no apparent reason for the loss of ten missiles can be readily identified is cause for great concern to this headquarters."

SAC should have and did have "great concerns", because ten of it's ICBMs had abruptly dropped off of alert. This meant that SAC had 10 targets that were not covered under the then version of the Single Integrated Operational Plan, known as the SIOP.  SAC planners would have been scrambling to look for other assets to cover those targets or would have had to do without coverage. So yes, SAC had GRAVE CONCERNS. This in itself justified that the information in the message be classified SECRET.

The letter in its basic meaning, set in motion for OOMA, Boeing, Autonetics and 15th AF to provide support to evaluate the situation and find a cause and correction as detailed in the 341st SMS Wing's history.

"We must have an in-depth analysis to determine cause and corrective action....."

The UFO theory backers have used the Malmstrom Incident to foster the notion that a portion of the U.S. nuclear arsenal was neutralized by a UFO. True, ten ICBMs were off alert for one to two days, but no damage was done to the ICBMs themselves. And most importantly, the RVs remained under positive control! There was no "Broken Arrow" called either by the 341st SMW or by SAC!
 So far, I've shown that of the 10 Echo Flight ICBMs in question:

1. Shutdowns occurred due to a then never seen electrical anomaly.

2. This anomaly was thoroughly evaluated by SAC, 15th Air Force, 341st SMW, Boeing, Autonetics, OOMA (Hill AFB), and AF Systems Command.

3. Due to the on-going investigation a serious weapon system vulnerability was discovered (EMP susceptibility)

4. A fix was implemented force-wide.

5. After 16 Mar 1967, this type of anomaly would never again occur in any Minuteman wing/system.

6. The early Minuteman I system was in a constant state of evolution through upgrades and modifications. What started out to be a "simple" system became extremely complicated effecting command and control functions. As newer Minuteman II and III missiles came on line, the command and control structure changed to adapt to newer capabilities.

7. Information and any documentation describing a nuclear weapon system vulnerability would have been classified because the U.S. was heavily involved in the Cold War, hence, SAC would not have wanted to publicize to the USSR that we discovered a "weakness" in our own ICBM system.

Rumor of UFOs at time of incident disproven."

So stated in the 341st SMW's Unit History, 1 Jan - 30 Mar 1967.

When one reads of the accounts of various UFO sightings as rendered by Robert Hastings, the facts are plain. There were a number of sightings of unexplained "objects" over Montana as recorded via,

Jan 9, 1967: Malta, MT at 9pm, on family farm. Family alerted by dog, family saw a large rectangular object with glowing red light along the bottom and large amber light on top moving at high speed. The object landed in a field for approximately one hour. Object suddenly disappeared as if it took off at at a high rate of speed. The next day, family went to the field were the object had landed. There were no tracks in the snow and no sign that anything had been there. (Billings Gazette, 1-20-67)

Jan 26, 1967: Havre, MT at 8:15pm. A man saw a yellow sphere with blinking yellow body lights which circled a mountain and flew off (

Feb 9, 1967: Chester, MT, 6:30am, Railroad foreman saw a saucer (disk) with bright body of light hovering over the railroad depot. The depot was engulfed in light, the object departed straight up. (Spokane Spokesman-Review, 2/12/67)

Feb 23, 1967 Glasgow AFB, MT, reported sighting by NICAP (no details listed)

Mar 22, 1967: Newspaper article (UPI), "UFOs Seen In Great Falls Vicinity", The Daily Inter Lake
Tuesday night, 7:45pm - 8:30pm, several persons reported seeing unidentified flying objects over the Great Falls, Vaughn, Fort Benton, and Manchester. White lights, big with a little one on top. The object was moving east to west then north to south.

Mar 23, 1967: Great Falls, MT, 9pm: Sheriffs deputies saw a yellow object with a red glow coming from top to bottom. Object hovered then flew away. Many sightings throughout the state. (Great Falls Leader, 3/24/67)

Mar 24, 1967: Belt, MT, 9pm, Truck driver outside of Belt, MT sees a dome shaped object showing bright lights and landing in a nearby ravine. ( Investigated by Project Blue Book)

Further reviewing of NICAP's reported sightings revealed that after the Mar 24th sighting near Belt, no other reports would come in for Montana for the rest of 1967. That's approximately 9 full months of "nothing" observed nor reported by anyone!

Back in 1967, there were no laptop computers, Internet, cell phones, or 24 hour news coverage on television. The military rank and file then as in the extended past was a virtual "factory" manufacturing rumors absent factual information. This was the obligatory rumor mill. It would be the same for my experience 14 years later as a young SAC missile launch officer! Based upon the numerous sightings being reported in the local newspapers, it is certainly possible, if not probable, that the idea of UFOs roaming uncontested over the Montana skies and the remote parts of the ICBM flights areas (100 to 150 miles away from Great Falls/Malmstrom AFB) could have been construed as real. This psychological environment could have also induced practical joking. Remember, the maintenance team member, in the missile silo, stating, "It must be a UFO hovering over the site." Lt Figel took this in a jokingly manner because it was presented as so!

But rumors must have persisted as well as the unsupported sightings of UFOs through out that region of Montana. Everyone heard of the rumors of UFOs, yet, no one has testified that they actually saw a UFO, just rumors. Thus the beginnings of a non-descript electrical/EMP anomaly morphing into this great Orson Wells-like UFO "invasion."


As I conclude, I have attempted to show that there is overwhelming evidence that UFOs did not cause the shutdown of 10 Minuteman I ICBMs. The information that I have provided hinges on two points:

1. No one has ever provided any accounting that they had physically seen a UFO.

2. An extensive investigation provided plausible evidence that a noise pulse EMP-like phenomena had likely caused the shut downs.

It's not my intention to either prove or disprove whether UFOs exist. That subject is beyond my capacity to tackle. All that I've attempted to do was to show that there are rational explanations that must be taken into account before going the route of UFO involvement.

Most people may feel that the Malmstrom AFB UFO Incident is not worth the effort to bother with. To a degree, I concur. But if you read the articles published by Hastings, Salas and others, they leave the impression that we that served in SAC were used as pawns or worse yet as stooges. This could not have been farther from the truth. We had a job to do and in my opinion did that job in an outstanding manner...and we continue to do so. 

So now I ask you, "Did it really happen?"

Update:  5/23/2013

This particular post has been the most popular.  I recently did a re-read of the article to see if it still passes muster.  The basic premise in the article still holds true to what I believe happened at Echo Flight on 16 Mar 1967.

What's not part of this article is my re-evaluation of the case based on re-looking at the 341st Unit History and other information.  This has been discussed in a few of my blogs posts.

Here are my 11 points of contention that, in my opinion, that rules out UFO involvement during Echo's ten ICBM shutdown back on 16 March 1967:

1. High probability that no maintenance teams were out on any of Echo's sites during shutdowns.
2. No maintenance or security teams mentioned in the Unit History.
3. After 44 years, none of the supposed eye witnesses have ever been identified, nor have these people ever came forward, concluding that they may never have existed in the first place.
4. Walter Figel's inconsistency from both Hastings and Salas' interviews.
5. Walter Figel's perceived reluctance to publicly support Hastings' UFO theory, as evidence by, his absence from the D.C press conference, lack of an affidavit affirming his statements.
6. Eric Carlson's strong denial of receiving any UFO reports from security personnel.
7. No intercept missions flown by the Montana National Guard against any unknown radar contacts.
8. Minuteman LF design of connectivity isolation precludes any one event (UFO included) from affecting the remaining ICBMs in a given flight.
9. Echo was a flight specific event with no other adjoining flight effected
10. The only plausible UFO scenario would have been a UFO over/near Echo's LCF/LCC. This never occurred and no reports or rumors ever comes close to supporting this scenario.
11. The Boeing ECP and final installation of EMP suppression fixes resulting in no Echo-like situation from ever happening again for all SAC missile wings (Minuteman and Titan).

To understand how I derived at the above, please read "Echo Flight:  The Makings of a UFO Myth."

Best Regards,

Tim Hebert


  1. HI
    Do you believe in Black Holes?...careful, this is a trick question!
    I have never seen a 'UFO' neither though I may have done. But I very much do use both intuition and critical thinking skills and you know what, I trust people and value you their witness. I trust their eyes, ears, etc--I dont try and patronize them and TELL THEM THEY have seen---Venus, Balloons, Flares, Planes---or that they are 'mentally ill'. I dont look at a pilot, or police officer (although they are trained to describe things specifically) over a farmer, or an 'ordinary' person.
    I have had very strange experiences that cannot be 'reasonable' explained so I can empathize with people who have what are called 'highly strange' encounters with UFOs and 'ETs'

    Have you ever dug just how INSANE the so-called 'normal' world is? It is a world seemingly intent on contaminating the whole planet, and of making war s and more wars for profit and the need to maim and kill. THIS is considered normal isn't it? If you are distressed in this world via the many manifestations of how this can manifest they deem YOU 'mentally ill' dont they. They never see the insanity of what THEY are doing. is THAT reasonable?

    In order to understand UFOs you cant be specialized, you have to come at it from a broad spectrum. An example----the fact that these beings are very concerned with the nukeing psychopaths, and warnings to people who have encounters and abductions with them---that will show them the damage we are doing to planet earth.

    YES of course they are real. Your attitude reminds me of this old Chinese saying 'you cannot wake a man up who is pretending to be alsleep'

  2. I disagree with this last commentator (rather alarming actually). It doesn't appear he actually read your article. Such is the way many times in the UFO world.

    I appreciate that you took ther time to write this, and I thank you.

    I didn't think Mr. Carlson's work was worth my taking time to comment on, as he was SO anti UFO, that it stained his material.

    All we need are the facts, and you presented many, clearly.

    It seems the mystery is still where the EMP type signals came from, and that is how it should be presented.

    Thank you again.

  3. Bob, thanks for the kind words. Even with this post, the debate will continue. I presented my analysis and offer it up for due consideration. The article was much longer than I had anticipated, but the Malmstrom story is complicated and a paragraph or two wouldn't do justice.

    muzuzuzus: In deed the Black Hole analogy is a trick, since no where in my article do I discuss the existence of said subject. As far as the existence of UFOs, may I suggest that you re-read the preamble and closing statements of my article. The remainder of your comment suggests a more profound concern towards the existence of nuclear weapons. Respectfully, I do not hold your view that UFOs have been affecting nuclear sites with the purpose of saving the earth from our selves. That is a philosophical point of view. The fact is that during my 8 years in the Strategic Air Command, assigned to bases in Montana and North Dakota, there were no UFO reports. I have an email from Robert Hastings that states that for reasons unkown UFO activity was practically non-existent during the decade of the 1980s. So UFOs were around nuclear sites in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 90s, but took a break in the 1980s. Go figure.

  4. This is a very interesting, thorough and erudite perspective on a complex situation that would be beyond the capability of most people, not experienced in the first-hand operation of systems of this type, to understand in totality. It's much appreciated.

    While it seems a malfunction of the type detailed, based on what you've said, might be statistically unusual it would certainly be even more statistically unusual for an alien species to have caused it so a mundane explanation seems - while least sexy - most reasonable.

    A question, however.

    Suspending disbelief for a moment, is there any possibility - technical, logistical or philosophical - that the noise pulse in question was testing of a launch-interruption or launch-arrest mechanism by a U.S. military or military-contract agency for use against U.S. weapons? That is, at the time was there a simple method for an independent actor of sufficient authority within the then-SAC to assure that subordinate units ignored an otherwise lawful NCA launch order or - if a group or individual within SAC anticipated some future desire they might have to interfere a wartime launch - would they have had to surreptitiously develop and deploy a mechanism that could artificially interfere with a launch?

  5. Anonymous,
    Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my article. Hopefully this answers your question, if I am understanding it correctly. SAC, DoD, and higher command authority would not have experimented with such a concept (as your supposition) out in the field dealing operational nuclear components. As far as dealing with unauthorized launches, read Nalty's extensive declassified history of the US ICBM program, links are in the article. The evidence shows that most of the major upgrades the command and control systems geared towards preventing an unathorized launch. As for as command authorities stopping a wartime launch, there were protocols inplace that dealt with that issue. Thanks again for your comment.


  6. Tim - thanks again for your thorough and responsive reply. Is this statement - "As for as command authorities stopping a wartime launch, there were protocols inplace that dealt with that issue." - something on which you can elaborate? Namely, what situations were envisioned in which command might stop an already-ordered wartime launch and what was the process for doing so? Naturally it's understood if you can't reply.

  7. Anonymous,
    I can only say that there were protocols in place for that situation. Hope you don't mind if I leave it at that.

  8. Dear Tim,

    Excellent work; your time and effort is much appreciated. I too am involved in nuclear/radiological defense as a first responder. I have a suggestion that would be a help to those of us who lack your work experience in this field.

    When you have time, if you could add a glossary that explains some of the terms you use would be a big help in keeping track of what you are talking about. For example, what is a 'logic coupler'; what does that thing do? And other such things through out the report.

    Once again, thanks for such an erudite and important article which illustrates our county's role in the cold war and current defense strategy; thank you for your service and valuable time.


    Randel Smith
    Friendswood, Texas
    WMD Radiological/Nuclear Emergency Response/Instructor

    and Filmmaker/historian

  9. Tim,

    I see from your profile that you have an interest in the Civil War. I have portrayed a field surgeon at events for many years and even on the Battleship Texas. If you send me an email I will send you photos. If you are non facebook become a friend and you can see many interesting photos I have posted there. facebook/randelsmith. I have many friends who are involved in many different time periods of living history and who hand make wonderful artifacts etc...



  10. Since it is important to evaluate this case on several levels, it should also be pointed out:

    1) That in the AF History, it plainly reveals them asking the wrong flight unit for confirmation of the visual UFO sighting account. Therefore, their conclusions in this regard (that no UFO was involved) are not entirely clear and as straight forward as we might want to believe.

    2) That it is important to note that NO electronic failures occurred - it was merely the logic circuits inability to consistently respond to the short duration pulses determined to have caused the fail. The circuits and electronics behaved exactly as they were designed but they had not anticipated transients of such a high voltage potential and short-uration nature in their designs – that we are to believe that somehow transients of this nature were somehow unknown in the 1960’s and could not have been anticipated during both the design and test phases(?)

    3) That the 30 microsecond pulse width and the negative 10 volt pulse height indicated (as recreating the fail in tests) did NOT indicated a normal, run-of-the mill, transient spike given the high voltage and inadequate “short-duration” rise times involved that would have allowed such a high voltage potential to elevate over the tiny 30 microsecond window (see below for more).

    4) That tests pointed to the nature of the fail as happening as a result of a short duration spike in the order of 30 microseconds at a -10 Volt potential, but that the source of such a pulse was “Never Identified.” They could only conclude, after eliminating many possibilities through tests and hypotheses, that it was potentially Electrostatic or EMP in nature. By the way, the mention of the EMP in the report does not automatically indicate that it was a Nuclear related EMP but simply refers to ANY extremely high EM Field gradient (enter the UFO solution under the guise of EMP).

    5) That when the circuits were subjected to the test spike indicated above, that fails only occurred 60-65% of the time - which in my experience indicates that more than one series of transient spikes was involved given that ALL the systems failed in the real scenario. This may indicate that enough characteristic timing and strength differences existed in each series of wave pulses to effect the eventual 100% fail in the individual logic circuit involved - that each logic coupler had slightly different requirements which is totally consistent with this type of “extreme end” fail mode. Each pulse eventually affected more of the individual missiles, eventually reaching the 100% fail over the sequential period of time, just as it was reported (the missiles went down over a period of time and not simultaneously from what one might wrongly conclude was a single transient spike). Again, this would seem to indicate a sinusoidal transient since it may have required a rapidly repeating pulse (occurrence) to get all the systems down - yet we are to believe that it still went unidentified and unexplained in their testing, analysis, and study. Or, did it?

    6) That the shielded SIN cable/LCR circuits were only sufficient to filter out low frequency nuclear EMPs but not high frequency EMPs which were indicated in this fail study. Again, this seems to showcase an unusual transient defying direct and easy explanation, eventually requiring them to install additional filters to prevent such a reoccurrence.

    By the way, all the studies and repairs were necessary and could have been conducted under the guise of it being strictly electronic in nature without having to introduce the UFO into the solution matrix. However, one could infer that their mention of the EMP, as impetus behind the fail, was simply a convenient way to describe the UFO’s involvement without there being any need to be strictly overt about it.

    I just wanted to introduce an alternative viewpoint before shutting the doors entirely. Please write to me if you wish.

    VGolubic (

  11. The points that you raise are valid. The nature of how EMP may have played a role in the shut downs was never totally conclusive. The issue of the SIN lines as a conduit for a noise pulse was only raised due to SIN line issues reported at another wing...MM II. SIN line issues were ruled out at Malmstrom. Then the HICS cable system was evaluated for the same general reasons as that of the SIN lines. The point that I was trying to make in the article is that there are valid arguments that can be made to disprove the UFO causation, but also one can make the case that a UFO itself caused the EMP. Occam's razor?

  12. Randel, thanks for the comments. I agree with the need for a gossary. Not to burst your bubble, but my daughter told me the same a oouple of days ago. So now I have two votes for a glossary.

    Anonymous: I failed to thank you for taking the time to write a great comment on this subject. There are so many ways to look at this event and after awhile one comes away knowing that its not so simple as it would seem. Again, thanks for commenting. T.H.

  13. >The points that you raise are valid. The >nature of how EMP may have played a role in >the shut downs was never totally conclusive. >The issue of the SIN lines as a conduit for a >noise pulse was only raised due to SIN line >issues reported at another wing...MM II. SIN >line issues were ruled out at Malmstrom.

    VG: They were only ruled out when they tried to induce a ground voltage from an intentional grounding of one of the transformers lines, but could not achieve the necessary 10 Volt level (only 1 volt). However, this does not rule out the SIN as a conduit for inductive EM field pulses as they concluded. The SIN cable and accompanying circuits were more readily coupled at higher frequencies than the 60 cycles per second phase in the AC lines. They estimated, I believe between 3,000 and 100,000 cycles per second - So, again, if you want to claim a normal transinet did this, it gets less and less likely given the higher frequency required to get a signal through. A Nuclear EMP does not generate such high frequencies - that high frequencies were present may also hint at my multiple pulse scenario as more likely. However, since they didn't have a source for such a high frequency field, other than let's say a UFO, it would not have been considered. Remember, they ruled out the UFO report by interviewing the wrong flight. . .. this is an important oversight by many of the critics.

    Your points are well taken but remember it was they who concluded it was some type of EMP after careful hands-on study. My assumption is that they were not stupid and had everything in front of them unlike us. If not a nuclear EMP then what type?

    My main point was simply: that a very unique EMP or transient would have to be invoked, whose characteristics, I was attempting to explain, had apparently not been taken into consideration.

    Best, Vgolubic (

  14. VG: I need to check on some data, it will take me some time due to my current needs, ie, work.


  15. VG,

    Please clarify "the wrong flight was interviewed"

  16. VG,

    Where you referring to the Mobile Fire Team located in and around November-01? If that is so, please be aware that MFTs were not assigned to specific flight areas. They may well have been in the November flight area and subsequently asked to check out the Echo flight area. True speculation on my part, but one would also assume that Echo's SAT (both primary and secondary teams may have been dispatched into the flight area as well.

    As far as the nature of the EMP and what could have generated such a phenomenon I can only go with what is known. What I failed to mention in my article is that SAMSO did conduct EMP testing in the 564th and in the 10th to evaluate lightning generated pulses and its effect on the LFs. So that is another possibility for EMP. That there may be more documentation on the engineering aspects that remain classified or lost, I would not be surprised. Regardless of both yours and my speculation, after the ECPs where acted upon no full flight shut down would ever occur again. I never saw it during my 4 years as a launch officer, and I never saw it happen during my 3 years as a code controller at Grand Forks AFB, ND. We can rule out EMP from a nuclear source since that phenomenon would have effected other flights as well as Echo's not to mentioned possible communication outages within the central region of Montana. This follows as well for any possible solar flux or flare. The uniqueness of the incident is that it affected one flight only even though some of Echo's LFs were located not that far from Oscar's LFs. The same can also be said of Delta's LFs.

    If we remove ourselves from the technical aspects, there still remains the human side of the incident. As of now no one has come forward and said that they saw a UFO. Carlson and Figel have maintained that the event was an electro-mechanical anomaly.

  17. Tim,

    Lightning was not the cause, easily ruled out
    from weather reports. In addition, the common power lines running to each Echo Flight missile were not originating from the same power grid. Therefore these lines could not have carried the transient from lightening because only some of the missiles would have went down not all of them. However, they still investigated this aspect, including the transformer ground short test because voltage seep within the ground could travel through the common SIN shielding through inductive coupling. However, the inductive coupling frequency required would far exceeded the 60 Cycles/sec AC line.

    Nuclear EMP was not the cause. They ruled it out yet still claimed EMP. Besides, the cables were already sufficiently shielded from Nuclear EMP anyways. So, this is merely a shot in the dark anyways . . . something to check off your list.

    Solar flux is an issue to consider but many more systems would have been affected regionally. Therefore this is very unlikely. Weak EM fields from solar flux require long wires to bring up the net inductive effects . . therefore, an entire grid is essential.

    I also agree that the weakest part of the case is the lack of direct witness testimony . . . unitentional confabulation is another, which is quite commom yet no one gives it the weight it deserves.

    It is the Engineers who studied the incident that matter. Sorry, Figel's and Carlson's opinions have little bearing on this. Besides, electromechanical issues were also ruled out after very careful investigation.

    VG (

  18. VG,

    I agree that lightning was not the cause, I only mentioned it since the reports looked at it as an EMP source that could have caused future issues affecting equipment.

    What about the "wrong flight being interviewed?"

  19. Anonymous posts: They were only ruled out when they tried to induce a ground voltage from an intentional grounding of one of the transformers lines, but could not achieve the necessary 10 Volt level (only 1 volt). However, this does not rule out the SIN as a conduit for inductive EM field pulses as they concluded.

    rore here... It’s interesting to note that the TEAM LEADER heading the Echo Flight Investigation was a ‘geologist’.
    From this standpoint I ask myself the following questions:
    Why not an Electrical Engineer? The engineering was understood.

    Can Lightening Strikes produce EMP? Yes

    Can a Lightening Strike travel through certain ‘soil strata’ for long distances? Yes

    Can electricity from various sources ‘leak’ into the earth? Yes

    Can this electricity find ‘places’ in the earth (soil, rock, quartz etc) in which to accumulate prior to a burst discharge? Yes.

    When Lightening strikes the Earth, how will its affects be influenced by the composition of the soil in the surrounding area? Only someone with a background in ‘geology’ will be able to address these questions thoroughly.

    How does one prevent these ‘negative ground effects’ from affecting a flawed logic coupler design? Research the most likely cause of the failure; an anomalous ‘electrical spike’ capable of taking the Flight off-line.

    Did the findings of the Investigation into Echo Flight’s shutdown, headed by a Geologist, ‘fix’ the problem? Yes

    Why won’t a Top Secret report include, at the time, a critical detail concerning a Weapons Operational Reliability or ‘vulnerability’? Need to Know. There may be another Report somewhere too.

    Probably a lot more to it than we will be told in the near future. Those were Scary Times (and still are), for the Entire World. ~rore

  20. ooops The Investigation's Team Leader was a Glaciologist... ~rore

  21. "Why won’t a Top Secret report include, at the time, a critical detail concerning a Weapons Operational Reliability or ‘vulnerability’? Need to Know. There may be another Report somewhere too." No, there isn't -- military classified materials protocol then and now would require the entire investigation to be classifed TOP SECRET if the recognized vulnerability under investigation was classifed TOP SECRET. Need-to-know is not used as to justify separate reports or reporting conditions, not if the subject of the report, i.e. the vulnerability of the system in use, is the whole point of the report. The fact that all reports, messages, final conclusions, and investigation updates were classifed SECRET tells us that there were no TOP SECRET aspects to the investigation or the vulnerability under investigation. The military does not today and did not in 1967 classify information in the manner suggested here, so there was no TOP SECRET vulnerability noted as result of this investigation, and no report of a higher classification that directly resulted from this investigation.

    In addition, one result of the investigation was the incorporation of a cable pulse suppression fix, and the only reason this would even be considered would be to correct a problem caused by an internal signal traveling along the interior cable, not an external signal somehow affecting already shielded equipment. EMP is an interference that can be generated internally by micro-circuitry -- even up to 10 volts. This is very plainly what we're looking at and what the investigation suspected once it left the consideration of the field team -- and the field team was only interested in determining whether or not the downed transformer could have caused the problem. When they proved it could not, the investigation focus changed, and the field team was no longer involved. As Tim has already stated, the investigation went on for many months, much of it at the contractor facilities. For most of that time, the field team was not involved.

  22. Hi James, It’s good to know you’re still on the case.
    From the tirade of a member of AU named Shadow, one of our members traced him to be an Exopolitic Rep from Germany named Robert Fleischer. It’s no wonder he used every deplorable tactic he could muster against you when he was confronted with Solid Evidence indicating Robert Salas was obfuscating the facts. Fleischer was a shill promoting that Sept. 2010 NPC (National Press Club) fiasco Hastings and Robert Salas financed.

    James, when I read your comment : ”…military classified materials protocol then and now would require the entire investigation to be classifed TOP SECRET if the recognized vulnerability under investigation was classifed TOP SECRET.”, I had to reread this Document: USAF Ballistic Missile Program 1967 – 1968 here: Document 5: "USAF Ballistic Missile Programs, 1967-1968," by Bernard C. Nalty, Office of Air Force History, September 1969, Top Secret, Excised copy and this section in particular;

    From what I understand, a ‘declassified’ Secret and/or Top Secret Report investigating an incident involving serious issues of National Security concern, such as nuclear weapons reliability and/or ‘vulnerability’, will be ‘sterilized’ of any ‘liabilities’ found in that investigation which could still be exploited today to our detriment. The ‘fixable’ liabilities, like a -10v surge etc, or the obvious, ‘pin down’ type scenarios are not a security threat.
    This ‘sterilized’ portion will be written up in another report and passed on, usually with a reference ‘inside’ this report to the ‘sanitized’ report.
    The ‘sanitized’ Secret (or even Top Secret) report would not necessarily reference this other report.
    This is also known as ‘compartmentalization’ aka ‘need to know'.

    Maybe Bob Hastings will ‘dig’ for this ‘hypothetical’ report and get the Governmental ‘Smack-down’ he deserves.

    Imo, today, the USA is not lame enough to leave a trail that would negatively affect our National Security for fame and fortune seekers like Robert Hastings, Robert Salas and all the others to follow; others who will drag the Reputations of Good Men through the dirt for a dollar.
    Men like your father, Capt. Eric Carlson USAF RET and Col. Walt Figel USAF RET.
    These two men are due an apology from one of their own ASAP Capt. Salas.

    Do the Honorable thing Capt. Robert Salas USAF RET. It’s Your Legacy & Honor at stake here. ~rore

  23. James and rore,

    I need to apologized for the delay in posting both of your comments. It seems that the comments were, for no reason, listed in the spam file. I had a spam site attempt to gain access the other day, so unfortunately your comments were temporary casualties. But hopefully this has been corrected.


  24. Hi, rore -- thanks for the info. Verrrry interesting, as they used to say on "Laugh In". And thank much for the sentiment -- we appreciate it. As for your question RE: SCI, "Compartmented Information" refers to handling of the materials. It can limit need-to-know to those individuals who meet the requirements specified by the SCI, but it isn't used to create parallel documentation. Materials are compartmented when it's necessary to give them more than the required protection, like a handling caveat. You can make a SECRET document NOFORN, for instance, but all that means is the document is still SECRET, but it can't be released to foreign nationals, even if a foreign national can otherwise establish need-to-know. Compartmented information is similar, because you're limiting access to those who meet the SCI qualifications. Need-to-know, like all access, is always limited when special handling is in use. But you don't use special handling instructions to create a document, so there is no parallel documentation for those who don't meet the necessary requirements. If you don't have the need-to-know, you don't see it; if you don't have the appropriate security clearance, you don't see it. With SCI, if you do meet those qualifications, but you don't meet the necessities required by the SCI, you still don't see. It will always limit access above that already asserted by clearance and need-to-know. Sanitizing a document really doesn't have anything to do with document creation at all. There are numerous ways to sanitize a document, the best known being blacking out parts of the document that you don't want to reveal. But you would never create a new document in response to sanitization procedures -- you just restrict access to the original. And if someone insists they have a right to know what's been classified, they're just out of luck. Now if a TOP SECRET document has 20 pages, but only one sentence of that is considered classified, the original drafter might very well issue an UNCLASSIFIED version of the same document, particularly if there's a civilian demand for the information, such as the CIA brief on UFOs. That was TOP SECRET originally, but only like one sentence of it was classified, so they released an UNCLASSIFIED version as well to meet civilian demand. But I've never seen that done with a document that maintains the classification, such as the originator releasing a SECRET version and a TOP SECRET version of the same document. I can't even think of a good reason to do that, although that doesn't necessarily mean such a reason doesn't exist. In any case, SCI doesn't change the requirements of the classification, it just limits access to less people than the classification alone would require. If the Department of Defense or the USAF or whomever wants to limit access to something, they don't do it by creating a SECRET document to tell a cover-up story, and a TOP SECRET/SCI document to tell the truth to the few individuals who meet the SCI requirements. They don't need to. They just create a TOP SECRET/SCI document, and don't tell anybody else. If someone needs the information, they'll be given access. By creating parallel classified documents, you're letting in the possibility of a whole lot of associated problems, so everybody absolutely HATES creating classified materials. If they don't have to, they don't. And they never HAVE to create parallel documents, so they don't. The more classified documents they create, the bigger the headache, the more paperwork and the more they have to worry about. The creation of classified materials is really a pain, and nobody wants to do it; and in any case, they're required by regulations to limit the creation of classified materials as much as possible. It ishn't something you just toss off -- there's a lot of associated paperwork and justification that needs to be established first.

  25. Very Good factual article, Tim. Thanks.

    I noted the descriptions of the two "UFOs" according to Salas, "Security personnel top-side reported that they saw two star-like objects zig-zagging around in the night sky. Moments later, Oscar's Flight Security Controller (FSC) reported a UFO hovering outside of the facility's gate. The object was glowing red."

    These sound like classic astronomical objects and autokinetic motion of the eye muscles causing the "zig-zagging". Assuming that the time given was "ZULU", or Greenwich Mean Time and not local Mountain Time, I used an astronomical star chart program, "Cartes du Ciel".

    Orange ("red"?) Mars, at bright visual magnitude -.8 was at an altitude of 38 degrees and azimuth of 162 degrees.

    Jupiter, near maximum brilliance of -2.4 magnitude, 21 degrees high, at an azimuth of 282 degrees, was low in the West.

    Bob Young

  26. Bob,

    Sorry about the extreme lenght of time in replying, I acutally had issues with my old computer allowing me access and publishing on my own blog! Thanks for taking the time and reading the article. Your point about an astronomical event is well taken, though as of yet, I see nothing that correlates that to Echo since the alledged event happened in broad daylight. However, the Oscar event, if it really did occurr, as of yet, no documentation exist, could fit your hypothesis and combined with the Belt, Mt sighting on the same day in question does allow us to look at that very possibility.

  27. Thanks for a most interesting report. I served with (then Capt.) Bob Jamison at Chanute AFB where we were both instructors in the Minutemnan Missile Maintenance Officer's Course. And I do recall occasional office discussion about a number of missiles suddenly going off Strategic Alert at Malmstrom. Electrical and electronic glitches in the Minuteman System were not all that unique- it was an extremely complex weapons system. The UFO part was, to my recollection, never taken seriously- either a practical joke, misunderstood comment or strictly secondhand hearsay. No one in our instructor group seriously thought extraterrestrials were behind this event. But the Air Force DID take EMP seriously. I was sent TDY to Boeing in 1969 for training on a new EMP detection system to be installed in each LCF. The training message was that ALL EMPs, not just those of a nuclear nature, were cause for concern.

    Grant Taylor
    Cabot, VT

  28. Thanks Grant for your very informative comment. I've taken the liberty to highlight your comment in a separate blog posting. Question for you: Did Jamison believe the Malmstrom UFO stories?

  29. Let me just add that I just now stumbled onto this web site.
    Just returned from a 30 day road trip vacation including stop at Wall SD missile site.
    This renewed my 2 experiences at Whiteman AFB 1964-65 period.
    My 'security systems; team on a repair dispatch to a LF, team chief(me) and assistance team chief plus the two top side security police saw in the night sky what appeared to be a 'star' off the far horizon approx 160-140 degrees.. tracing a 'saw tooth' pattern. It was slow moving . The group of us discussed what it might be, this odd 'undefinable object to us which defied any law of suspended craft we knew of. As the ranking and responsible airman I opted to report what we were witness to .. Using RF radio I made my report to the dispatch control center.
    Appox 2-4 weeks later while dropping off my assistance at the barracks before I went to my trip debriefing the two of while parked at the barrack again saw the same display off on the horizon. I made no report of this.. I never received any response about the report.

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  32. The National Guard never ran intercept missions : BECAUSE- the 29th Fighter.Interceptor.Squadron. AIR DEFENSE COMMAND was tenants at the base with 21- F101 B-VooDoo's we were full time airman not week-end warriors----we launched 2 air craft that night, I was a crew chief working alert--I was there when the pilots were debriefed in a nut shell, yes, my friend-this was not the first sighting but it was the the first for MMS as part of the flight crew this was not our first rodeo and you are not are first rodeo clown we would launch at least once a week on UFO that crossed are radar---remember we are above ground and work the sky you are in a hole in the ground,-----now go back and get your facts straight-A.F.PROUD (30 YRS CMSGT)

  33. There was never a final public conclusion to what actually caused the no-go events. However the EMP suppression fixes did seem to stop these events from happening again or so they say. That being said, it really gives no clue as to what actually happened. What ever the cause it had to be localized. That in itself leaves the UFO option on the table considering the chatter in the control room by persons you do not seem to give much credit to. If the cause was known it should have been repeatable using a test set up by engineers etc. You say, that analysis would have been classified and so cannot be known to persons such as yourself. Your main point now seems to be that no witnesses (security guards) who actually say they saw the UFO(s) have come forward with their testimony. That is a good point but does not necessarily refute the testimony of some in the underground control area. In fact your whole analysis still leaves open the possibility of a UFO type event. The only person that does not seem to understand this is yourself.

  34. "nsurround"

    First, thanks for taking the time to comment.

    Second, if you don't mind, I'd like to post your comment and reply in a separate blog post. The rationale is that though I disagree with your comment, it may be thought provoking for others and such a well thought out comment does not deserve to be buried in the comment section of a 5 year old blog post.

    I'm assuming that you read my other blog "Echo Flight: The Making of a UFO Myth." This refines my thoughts on the incident.

  35. What are your thoughts on the documents found here: