Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Robert Hastings' Swiss Cheese Factor...Henry Barlow

It was brought to my attention a few days ago from a fellow Reality Uncovered forum member that Robert Hastings had attached what appeared to be an addendum to his post, "James Carlson Just Can't Get It."  A link was provided first to UFO Digest and the following day to UFO Magazine Blog.  This secondary post was the obligatory damning of James Carlson which was to be expected in a typical Robert Hastings piece.  Its the verbiage, half way into the post, that caught my eye.

As for Tim Herbert’s, ahem, “authoritative” summary of the missile shutdown incidents, Carlson is dreaming if he thinks that Hebert—who was not present when the events occurred—can explain them away. I will provide Hebert with former missile maintenance tech Hank Barlow’s email address—if he will write to me and ask for it—so that he can learn the facts from someone who was actually involved in the Echo shutdown aftermath. Again, Barlow says he was explicitly told that UFOs had caused the malfunctions. (Just as former targeting team officer Bob Jamison was told that the Oscar missiles had met the same fate. I will forward Jamison’s email address to Hebert as well.)
As Hebert told me in an email last year, he first became aware of the events at Malmstrom while writing a post-graduate psychology paper on “delusional thinking.” (Rather ironic that he should now be supporting James Carlson’s rants, eh?) Hebert’s remarks made quite clear his own anti-UFO biases. Is it any wonder he and James Carlson are such pals?

For starters, I agree with Hastings that I was not present when the event occurred, but neither was he.  Hastings was emptying trash cans some where in a building on Malmstrom AFB proper, but he was not at Echo.  I'm really not sure if he even knew where Echo-01 was situated or how to get there being that the LCF was some 120 miles east of Malmstrom. I'm sure that Robert will provide clarification about his where abouts at the given time.

As for Hastings providing Hank Barlow's contact information, it's not needed since Mr. Barlow's statements (attached at end of article) have been provided to me by Tim Printy based on what Hastings had posted on the Bad Astronomy Forum site some time back.  I did a web search and came across the same statements that Hastings had posted on other numerous sites and verified that what Printy had provided was exactly the same with no variations.

Assuming that Barlow was indeed assigned to Malmstrom in 1967, and Hastings had properly vetted Barlow, his statements are noteworthy in two ways:  what is said and what is not said.  Per Barlow, he was a member of an EMT unit situated at Mike 01 on 16 March 1967 that responded to the Echo Flight shutdowns.  Barlow states that there were no active VRSA channels reporting at any of the ten LFs.  This contradicts Walter Figel's statements to Hastings and Robert Salas that all ten of the LFs had active reporting VRSA channel 9 LF-No Go.  Per checklist procedures, Figel would have, via the LCC VRSA panel, checked any and all sorties that had fault indications and Figel made no mention that there were no active reporting channels.  Did Barlow initiate the LF VRSA interrogations himself, or did another team member accomplished this?  Barlow states that his team only restarted 3 or 4 missiles, so how would he have known of the VRSA status of the remaining 6 or 7 sites?  What of the other EMT teams that restarted those remaining sites?  So now Hastings has a problem, who is right?...Barlow or Figel?  The 341st Unit History states that all ten sites had active VRSA 9s.  Subsequent data dumps would also discover active VRSA 12s implicating the Logic Coupler. 

Let's also remember that Barlow's team was not the first to actually respond to the shut downs.  Prior to the shutdowns, there were maintenance teams at two of Echo's LFs.  After the No-Go indications were received at the LCC, one team immediately verified the VRSA channel  9, the other team eventually did the same after penetrating the site.  Again, this totally contradicts Barlow's assertions, unless...Figel's statements to Hastings and Salas were false.  Walter Figel's statements have always been the "definitive" answer concerning Echo's shutdowns, at least that is what we are constantly lead to believe.

Barlow states that he heard from an unknown secondary source that a UFO was spotted over E-02 by a security camper team.  One of the security team members supposedly photographed the object, but the film and/or camera was confiscated by Air Force officials.  Again, Barlow states that he was told this by someone, who couldn't be named, back at the Echo LCF.  A recognizable pattern?  What about the maintenance team that had to remain on site awaiting the arrival of the camper team.  It would have taken approximately two hours if not more to generate the camper team back at Malmstrom then dispatching them to E-02.  Again this conflicts with Figel's statements and the time lines don't match up, plus depending on what version of Figel is used (Hastings vs. Salas), a maintenance team reported the UFO or one of Echo's SATs saw the UFO over an anonymous LF from a distance...a camper team was never mentioned.

Further, Barlow states that upon returning back to Echo-01, "...there was brass all over the place.  They were from Offutt AFB - SAC Headquarters..."  Walter Figel never made this claim, though by that time he and Eric Carlson would have already departed back to base, but the relief crew, Don Crawford, never made this claim either.  Walter Figel told Salas that he made a TDY to Offutt to brief SAC officials, though admittedly I have seen no proof that verifies that particular claim.  Eric Carlson states that, while still at Echo, he received a call from the SAC Command Post, a general officer, inquiring on the launch status of Echo's sorties.  Perhaps Barlow misinterpreted a large contingency of wing personnel that had showed up on site due to the nature of the event, thus believing them to be SAC HQ officials.  The Unit History makes no reference either way other than to state that Boeing and OOMA (Hill AFB, Ogden) had dispatched personnel to investigate the shutdowns and by the time that this team had arrived, all of Echo's sorties had been brought back up to alert status.  Barlow appears to have more of an accurate recollection by eventually stating:

I was so tired when we got back to Echo 1—we had worked long hours, we had been out almost a week by that time and we were just pooped. All I remember is that there were lots of people there and there was no place to lie down.
What can we really learn from Barlow's statement?  He was out in the field and responded to the shutdowns.  Though it appears that he was involved with restarting all ten missiles, he did not.  He was only involved with three or four start ups.  He was told by various unnamed individuals that UFOs had cause the shutdowns.  Barlow, himself, did not state that he personally saw UFO activity while responding to the shutdowns.  In the end Barlow joins a growing list of Hastings witnesses who saw nothing, but heard second/third hand that UFOs had been in the flight area.

I noticed that when Hastings and Salas held their press conference, 27 Sept 2010, Barlow was not in attendance.  Perhaps Hastings could provide information as to whether Barlow was invited or not.  All of the participants had signed affidavits.  Based upon Barlow's story, would he have willingly signed an affidavit?  I also noted that Barlow was on station for approximately one year.  There may be good reasons, but one year is unusually short.  Perhaps Hastings/Barlow would be willing to shed some light on that subject.  One wonders why Barlow has never been prominently featured as a strong supporting witness, but I suspect that I now know why.

In conclusion, though interesting and entertaining, Barlow's accounting is filled with numerous holes and contradictions...a marginally weak supporting witness is the best that can be said.  Hastings appears to have adopted the "Swiss Cheese" factor, "sure there are a lot of holes, but its still edible."  If Barlow is right, then Walter Figel is wrong leading to another corner that Hastings has painted himself into.

As for Robert Jamison, I'll soon be looking again at his statements, both pre-affidavit and what is now listed on his affidavit as provided by Robert Salas.  I briefly touched on his original statements in my first blog article, "Did UFOs Disable Minuteman Missiles at Malmstrom..."  In light of Jamison's affidavit, he certainly deserves thorough consideration.

Below is Robert Hastings' interview with Henry "Hank" Barlow:

I (RH) have interviewed one of the missile maintenance technicians who responded to the Echo shutdowns on March 16, 1967. N. Henry “Hank” Barlow, then a buck sergeant, told me,

“I arrived at Malmstrom in October 1966 and left in November 1967. I was on Electro-Mechanical Team 24 at the time [the Echo Flight shutdown] happened. We had to go out to Mike-1 for about four or five days. We had to stay out there and cover the sites. The day we were supposed to return [to base, one of us] called Job Control to see if we could come in because it was really starting to snow. It was really miserable out, windy and all. Job Control said, ‘Yeah, come on in, there’s nothing going on, everything seems okay.’ So we packed up and started back to the base.

Then Job Control called us on the radio and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got a problem here, part of Echo Flight has shut down, so we want you to go to the nearest site.’ I think that was Echo-6, but I’m not sure. Anyway, somewhere around that area. We checked VRSA and there was nothing on it. [That] was a unit in each launch facility, with something like 19 or 20 channels on it. [Actually, VRSA or Voice Reporting Signal Assembly had 23 channels, one for each problem area.] If the missile went down for any reason, or if there was some other problem, Job Control back at Malmstrom would know about it, know what is was, from the kind of signal it sent. But when we got to the site, there was nothing on [VRSA] to indicate the reason for the missile shutting down. That in itself was unusual. I had never seen that before.”

The declassified 341 Strategic Missile Wing history states that the missiles went down due to VRSA signals 9 and 12. When I asked Jim Klotz about this apparent discrepancy, he commented, “------‘s team ran a ‘special (diagnostic) tape’ (mentioned in the wing history) and DID get VRSA data.” For the moment, Klotz is protecting the name of this targeting team member, whom he interviewed a few months ago. That individual also responded to the Echo shutdowns and also reports hearing of UFO involvement in them from one of his superiors. Klotz says that the information provided by the source, as well as his identity, will be published in revised edition of his and Bob Salas’ coauthored book, Faded Giant.

Barlow continued, “So Job Control said, do a start-up, which takes about four hours. After you initiate the startup, you can back out of there and leave because its automatic after a certain point. Usually, if there was nothing else going on, we would stay at the site to make sure everything was working fine. But that night, Job Control said go to the next site, whatever that was. So we did that, and [restarted] three or four missiles before going back to [Echo-1]. Of all ten missiles that went down, only one wouldn’t come back up, but that was due to something that was going to [fail] anyway, like a Logic Coupler Drawer, or something like that. But none of the missiles had anything on VRSA.

[When we got back to Echo-1] we heard what happened. At Echo-2, there was a team in there earlier that afternoon that could not get the security [telemetry] to set-up, through the parabolic antenna or the soft support building or something like that. So, they put an Air Police team out there, in a camper, two guys. Anyway, one of the guys went out to take a leak, and he noticed that it wasn’t snowing over top of his head. The perimeter lights were on and he could see the snow coming down all around him so he looked up and saw a ring of lights right over top of him. He was scared stiff, so he went back to the camper and woke up his team partner.

When this other guy came out, he had a camera with him, which they weren’t suppose to have, but guys would do stuff like that. By then this thing had moved off the perimeter fence and he took pictures of it. [When the security team was debriefed back at the base,] the Air Force confiscated the camera and film. I was told all of this back at Echo-1. We had passed our ‘timelines’ because we had worked 16 hours, or something like that, and could not go back to the base so we had to go back to Echo. When we got back there, there was brass all over the place. They were from Offutt AFB—SAC Headquarters—they had brought them in. There were just a lot of high-ranking officers there.”

I asked Barlow who had told him about the incident involving the Camper Alert Team. He responded, “I don’t remember. I don’t know if it was one of the security guys or someone else. I was so tired when we got back to Echo 1—we had worked long hours, we had been out almost a week by that time and we were just pooped. All I remember is that there were lots of people there and there was no place to lie down. But we were told that it was a UFO shutdown—that UFOs had been responsible—and that’s why all those guys were there.”

I asked Barlow if he had been surprised or shocked or skeptical when he was informed that UFOs had shutdown the missiles. He replied,

“Oh no! On many other occasions, we were out at the sites when Job Control called and told us that, you know, there are reports of UFOs in the area, so keep your eyes open. That happened many, many times. And I saw them! I would see a light in the sky and it would make a right-angle turn. Or it would make two different right-angle turns, one after the other. I saw that more than once. They were much faster than a helicopter and we certainly knew that aircraft [couldn’t] do that.

I once saw a light come straight down, hover at maybe 1000-feet, and then shoot straight off [horizontally] and out of sight. It was crazy! Job Control always called us first, before we saw anything. They would call and say, you know, heads-up. Then, most of the time, we would see something a little while later. So, they were getting reports from somewhere, and maybe they had [the UFOs] on radar, but I don’t know for sure. Sometimes, when the call came in, we were down in the missile [silo] and we would talk to the guard topside about what he was seeing. I remember one time, the guard was just a nervous wreck. Job Control had called and said UFOs were sighted in the area. Then, I’m not sure, but I think he saw some lights himself. But anyway, he was just scared out of his wits. He wanted to come down in the silo with us. But the guards weren’t allowed to do that.

One time, [probably during the summer of 1967,] we were at one of the Bravo sites when we got a call from Job Control saying that there were UFO sightings in our area. Then, a short time later, we saw a green light come straight down out of the sky and land on this hill. Then two lights separated from it, straight out to each side. We were sitting in the pick up truck, eating our box lunches, when we saw this, along with another team we were training, plus the guard. We reported it to Job Control. They told us to close up the site and go check that out. We told them that we didn’t think we were qualified to do that! This was around 4 a.m. When it got light, we were amazed how far away the hill was, where this thing had landed. It was far, far away. We thought it was much closer, so the light was really bright.

I asked Barlow if he had later been debriefed about the incident at Echo Flight. He said, “No, never! It was almost kind of a joke, we would all laugh about it. Now, it wasn’t a joke [with all the missiles down] but it was a joke because nobody would believe it if you told them about it.”

I asked Barlow if he had heard about the Oscar Flight missiles shutting down around the same time as the Echo Flight shutdowns. He said “No, I never knew about that...I wasn’t qualified to work there.”


  1. ola amigo estou seguindo seu blog,pois achei interessante ,o assunto,os casos ufologicos é muito polemico,algumas coisas tem explicaçao outras tentam explicar,deixo aqui um convite ao http://novaeradaufologia.blogspot.com abraaços.zek

  2. Another brilliant and excellent read Tim, thanks for your efforts. This case has been closed since your article of the same name, with the wiring configurations being what they were, Hastings version of events simply cannot be correct, as it is physically impossible. In any case as Psyche101 I would like to say thanks for all the information, this period of history is so much clearer to me after the great work you have done to clear up the debate. Well done good sir.