Friday, September 28, 2012

French Skeptic Gilles Fernandez's New Blog

I want to put a plug in for Gilles Fernandez's new blog, Skeptic Versus The Flying Saucer.  Gilles has been a supporter of my efforts concerning the Malmstrom UFO(s) incidents since the blogs beginnings back in 2010.  Thanks to his efforts, along with others such as Nablator (Nabs), my thoughts have been posted back in the "Old Country", particularly on the French Sceptic Ovni Forum.

Gilles brings an impressive academic resume to the UFO argument.  Gilles holds a PhD in Cognitive Psychology and has authored a book concerning the 1947 Roswell incident.  He is very active on the Sceptic Ovni forum.

I want to thank Rich Reynolds at UFO Iconoclasts for posting about Gilles' new and much needed outlet.

Merci my friend and best wishes on your new venture.  I anxiously await your postings.

Note:  Poster image from both UFO Iconoclasts and Gilles Fernandez's blog.  TH

Update:  Gilles blog is in french so use Google's translate application.  I'm currently using Google Chrome which will automatically ask if you want to translate. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

UFO ICBM/Nuke Connection: Does It Really Exist?

UFOs causing havoc over US ICBM sites?  This tends to be an off/on subject raised on various Internet sites.  The prevailing thought among a few noted Ufologist is that UFOs have been overflying nuclear weapon sites (ICBMs) for a number of decades.  Do the facts support this premise, or is it merely the case of relying solely on subjective vs. that of the available objective data?

Currently, the most vocal proponent of UFO/Nukes connection is Robert Hastings.  Hastings has devoted almost 40 years developing the theory that UFOs have been overflying our nuclear ICBM sites for years and in some cases deliberately causing operational disruptions.  He bases his "proof" on the statements given by some 130 former active duty personnel.  Hastings has conceded, on some occasions, to provide the qualifier that his work has been based solely on "anecdotal" information, i.e., the unverifiable words of witnesses providing statements.  In short, Hastings has constructed a correlation hypothesis bases on the words of his sources.  Below is  a brief outline of Hastings' work, much from his book, UFOs and Nukes:  Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites.

In UFO and Nukes, Robert Hastings asks the following questions (

During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union built thousands of the far more destructive hydrogen bombs, some of them a thousand times as destructive as the first atomic bombs dropped on Japan. If the nuclear standoff between the superpowers had erupted into World War III, human civilization—and perhaps the very survival of our species—would have been at risk.
Did this ominous state of affairs come to the attention of outside observers? Was there a connection between the atomic bomber squadron based at Roswell and the reported crash of a UFO nearby? Did those who pilot the UFOs monitor the superpowers' nuclear arms race during the dangerous Cold War era? Do they scrutinze American and Russian weapons sites even now?

The above questions are fair enough for consideration.  For the purpose of this blog post, I'll limit most of my thoughts to the United States' ICBM forces.  With that said, Hastings has posted numerous articles on the Internet with the attempt to prove his UFO/Nuke connection with most being segments from his book.  These articles can be accessed on Hastings' site and The UFO Chronicles web site, as well as, other on-line venues.

Did UFO activity disrupt the operations of our ICBMs at various times during the Cold War?  To attempt to find the answer to that question, one has to look at the various missile systems that were fielded during the time period of the Cold War.  As far as defining "the disruption of ICBM operations", the subject should be looked at from the view point that UFOs may have altered the strategic alert status of our ICBM forces.


The Atlas ICBM with its variations (D, E, F models) was placed in 11 base locations through out the continental United States totaling 123 missile/launch sites.  The missile used a combination of RP-1 (high grade kerosene) and liquid oxygen (oxidizer) as its fuel.  Prior to launch, the missile had to be raised from its protective enclosure and loaded with the LOX prior to actual launch.  This propellant loading procedure, per SAC protocol, would have taken 15 minutes.  The Atlas missile was operational as an ICBM from 1960 to 1965.  There are four documented major incidents involving the Atlas at operational sites.

The 579th Strategic Missile Squadron located at Walker AFB, NM (Roswell) had three of it's site effectively destroyed during propellant loading exercises on three separate occasions.  Launch complex 579-1 was destroyed on 1 June 1963, site 579-5 suffered an explosion on 13 February 1964, and site 579-2 was destroyed on 9 March 1964.  Again, all three incidents occurred during a propellant loading exercise and no nuclear warheads were mated to the launch vehicle at the time of the explosions. (1)(2)  Of interest, the 579th SMS fielded the Atlas F that was housed in an underground silo, but had to be raised out of the silo for launch.

The 577th Strategic Missile Squadron located at Altus AFB, OK had one of its sites destroyed (577-6, Atlas F' silo housed) on14 May 1964.  As similar to the incidents at Walker AFB,  Altus' accident was a result of a propellant loading exercise. (3)

Based on the four major incidents and the Atlas' vulnerability to Soviet attack, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, in 1964, ordered the phase out of the Atlas ICBM system.  By the end of 1965 all Atlas missile sites were deactivated.  The Atlas ICBM would go on to further glory as an outstanding launch vehicle for NASA.

Titan I

The Titan I ICBM was deployed to 5 bases totaling 54 sites.  Like the Atlas, Titan I relied on RP-1 and LOX as its fuel source.  The missile was housed in an underground silo, but had to be raised to the surface, loaded with LOX prior to launch.  The Titan I system was on alert from 1960 to 1965 the, as Atlas, deactivated as the Titan IIs and Minuteman systems deployed. (4) 

During the operational life of the Titan I, there was two incidents at Beale AFB that occurred prior to the 851st SMS reaching alert status.  On 24 May 1962, during contractor checkout at complex 4C near Chico, CA, two explosions destroyed a missile and heavily damaged the silo.  The two explosions resulted from a blocked vent and blocked valve.  At another site, 6 June 1962, a flash fire damaged the silo killing one worker. (5)  The Beale sites had yet to be certified as operational and had no nuclear RVs mated to the boosters.

Titan II

On August 9, 1965, Titan II launch complex 373-4 (373rd Strategic Missile Squadron) which was located near Searcy, Arkansas, suffered a devastating fire in its silo resulting in the deaths of 53 civilian contractors who were modifying the site under Project YARD FENCE.  This program was designed to increase the hardness of Titan II sites against nuclear blasts.  The fire started from arc welding equipment.  373-4's missile (minus the RV) being fully loaded with propellant was allowed to remain in the silo during the modification program.  There was no major damage to the missile itself.  Had the propellant ignited, one could only wonder how many more would have been killed.(6)

On September 19, 1980, the Titan II launch complex located near Damascus, Arkansas suffered a catastrophic explosion killing at least one AF member and destroying the missile and it's silo.  The site was undergoing routine maintenance and a heavy socket from a wrench was accidently dropped into the bottom of the silo.  The socket bounced off of the silo walls striking and piercing the missile's thin skin causing the leakage of propellant.  After 8 hours of attempts to contain the propellant leak, an explosion rocked the site causing the silo's blast doors to totally dislodge and propelling the missile's RV some 600 feet away from the site.  This single incident forced the Air Force to hasten the deactivation of the entire Titan II system which was fielded at three locations:  Arizona, Arkansas and Kansas.  By the end of 1986, all 54 Titan II ICBM sites would be deactivated.(7)

On a personal note, I had arrived at Vandenberg AFB for my Initial Qualification Training (missile crew training), October 1980, approximately one month after the incident at Damascus, AR.  I recall that I had attended a safety briefing in which the Damascus incident was discussed in detail. What is not told in any of the on-line write-ups is that supposedly the AF had a difficult time finding and recovering the RV.  For an extended period of time, it was effectively "lost."  Whether this was factual or not, it does underscore the intensity of the explosion and the total destruction of the silo.    

Minuteman (I, II, and III)

The only documented incident in the Minuteman I system occurred at Malmstrom's Echo Flight on March 16, 1967.  I'll refrain from going into detail since most of this blog has been devoted to Echo Flight and the reader can "search" this blog for the pertinent articles.  I'm reluctant to list Malmstrom's Oscar Flight due to the lack of any credible evidence supporting an event affecting that flight's operational status.  The reader can draw his/her own conclusions.

In October, 2010, FE Warren AFB's 319th SMS experienced a total squadron communication outage affecting all of the squadron's 50 Minuteman III ICBMs.  Subsequent Air Force investigations revealed that a faulty or improper seated circuit card in the Weapon System Processor at one of the Launch Control Centers resulted in all five LCCs to be "knocked" out of system synchronicity and disrupting time slot round-robin monitoring.  None of the 50 ICBMs were affected operationally and remained on alert.  There is ample evidence that similar events had occurred at both Malmstrom and Minot in the 1990s.(8)

With the exception of the Malmstrom and FE Warren events, none of the Atlas and Titan events had a UFO component to the story.  The only true Broken Arrow event would have been the Damascus, Arkansas incident since it involved a real nuclear RV and again, no one has ever come forward to claim a UFO as it's causation or spotted one in the vicinity of the site.  The UFO story component for the 2010 FE Warren incident only came into being after Robert Hastings had visited the area some two to three months after the incident.  I touched on FE Warren's emergent UFO lore in a couple of previous blog post.

A Hypothetical Look

Going back to Hastings' thoughts that UFOs have attempted to disrupt US ICBM forces, let's hypothetically agree with his premise.  What has been the impact of the various UFO incursions?   If a message was being sent by "outside" observers to discourage the use of nuclear delivery systems, then the US government would have abandoned it's ICBM program since the fielding of those weapon systems would have been deemed as futile.  Yet, despite the supposedly ET interference we see a different response from the government/military.

The early Atlas and Titan I weapon systems were phased out for the more reliable and safer Minuteman and Titan II missiles.  Titan II was eventually phased out due to its complexity and unpredictability with housing a fully propellant loaded missile in it's silo.  Equally important to it's phase out was the enormous costs required to keep the Titan II on constant alert status.  Can we draw the conclusion that UFOs sent a "message" that the Atlas and Titan systems were overly too complicated, unpredictable and economically draining to the treasury?

Since it's deployment in 1962, the Minuteman system has evolved from its initial conception as a potential mobile based weapon to that of a complex command and control weapon system supporting a remotely silo based missile.  This missile system has undergone modifications from that of the Minuteman I, II, III missiles to that of the command and control systems (Modernized, SAS, ILCS, CDB, and the current REACT).  This evolutionary process had progressed unhindered and with out interference regardless of the UFO story component.  IF UFOs and ETs were attempting to send messages of concern, then its obvious that we either were not paying close attention or we were consciously ignoring the threat.


Is there credible evidence that UFO's disrupted the operations of US ICBMs?  The facts appear not to support this hypothesis.   All documented mishaps and problems have been attributed mostly to human error in dealing with complex systems.  The major ICBM weapon systems have evolved solely based on the concepts of system reliability and economic cost factors.  Missiles/rockets that relied on liquid propellants and oxidizers gave way to safer solid propellants thus reducing mishaps.  Individuals such as Robert Hastings have presented anecdotal evidence that "strange" lights of an undetermined nature have been sighted over and near US ICBM sites, but he has failed to demonstrate that this phenomena resulted in the operational disruption of our nuclear missile forces.  We, as humans, have been quite adapt at disrupting our ICBMs with out needing help from ET.    

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Cinematic Good vs. Evil Morality Play

When you're barely 7 years old, this type of movie was the epitome of cinematography.  No UFOs or government cover-ups here.  Just clear cut good vs. evil...morality play(?) with the US Navy playing the role as the cavalry coming to the rescue.  

Psychologically speaking, the Navy was perceived as being above board as compared to the other military services.  The Vietnam War was ramping up by the time that the film was released so this movie had no social "stain" attached to the Navy.

The Navy vs. the Night Monsters was released in 1966.  I remember seeing this film at the base theater at Dyess AFB, Tx either in 1966 or 1967.  It was shown as a Saturday matinee and the theater was filled to the brim with was a raucous group high on Hersey bars and diet sodas back then...pure sugar. 

Here is the plot summary from Wikipedia:

A group of scientists discover biologic specimens dating back to the first Ice Age. A plane carrying the prehistoric trees and plants is scheduled to touch down for refuelling at a naval weather station base on "Gow Island" before continuing on to mainland for further research. Along the way seven of the eight passengers on board mysteriously disappear, and the pilot crash lands the plane on Gow. As the only apparent survivor, the pilot is found in a state of shock, leaving the members of the Naval base to determine what happened.Unloading the trees from the plane, the local scientist Dr. Beecham recommends planting them in local soil to ensure they survive. It is later discovered that the trees are actually acid-secreting monsters that kill, and it is up to the locals to figure out how to stop them.

The cost for the movie ticket, a dime.  Candy bars were a nickle, the Coke was a dime.  To some movie goers today, this would truly be a paranormal phenomena.  CIA conspiracy?...hardly...perhaps a subliminal message that environmentalist wanted to portray... a stretch at most. 

Note:  Movie poster image from Wikipedia. TH 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Better Than Nothing...Wikipedia and Oscar Flight's UFO Saga

Wikipedia has now added a separate category for Oscar Flight's UFO allegation.  At first I was somewhat dismayed, but after looking at the entire entry, I've come to accept it as better than nothing.  Sure, Wiki lists the Oscar incident as an alleged UFO incident, but this may give Hastings, Jamison, Salas, et al, some modicum of legitimacy, but they also allowed a counter-argument so that readers may be able to make up their minds regarding the factual nature of the story. 

I've attached the entire Wikipedia write up.  The way things have been occurring with the editing process of this story (a constant changing story) I wanted to have a written record just in case...

On March 24, 1967, it is alleged that ten of the base's Minuteman ICBMs known as Oscar Flight became inoperative, supposedly after UFOs were seen hovering over them.[18] Personnel who have reported the UFOs include Captain (then First Lieutenant) Robert Salas,[19][20] Colonel Frederick Meiwald, First Lieutenant Robert C. Jamison,[21] and Staff Sergeant Louis D. Kenneweg.[22 
For the record, it should be noted, however, that none of these men actually saw anything themselves, so all of the information in regard to the alleged UFOs is second-hand. In most cases, the information originated with unnamed individuals who have never come forward to speak on their own behalf, making the claims of these so-called "witnesses" impossible to verify. It's true as well that noneof the men listed reported the alleged UFOs within the first quarter-century after the fact. There is also no evidence whatsoever to support the claim that any of the Oscar Flight missiles actually failed in 1967 (or on any other date, for that matter) 

First Lieutenant Robert C. Jamison claims to have overheard mention by a conveniently unnamed individual that a UFO had been sighted by Air Force Security Police at one of the missile silos. He never voiced this claim prior to 1992, and it wasn't until 2006 that he decided the incident took place at Oscar Flight, having been persuaded to reach that conclusion by UFO researcher Robert Hastings. He asserts as well that he overheard mention on a nearby two-way radio that a second UFO had been "sighted on the ground in a canyon near the town of Belt".[23]
 Regarding the failure of all ten missiles at the flight, Jamison apparently has no direct knowledge of that alleged "fact", having participated in the restarting of only 3-4 missiles. He claims to have heard from an unnamed NCO that the entire flight had been disabled, but this testimony was never mentioned prior to July 2010, just before Robert Hastings and Robert Salas started openly taking donations for a September 2010 press conference in Washington, DC that Jamison also participated in.[24] Although Jamison claimed before this that an entire flight of missiles -- which he confidently assigned not merely to Oscar Flight, but to one of fourpossible locations -- had failed, the introduction of the originating source of this information -- the unnamed NCO -- had never been discussed prior to July 2010.
In addition to Jamison, Robert Salas has also claimed that the entire flight of ten missiles failed, but it is a matter of record that his story has changed significantly since he first went public with his claims in 1996. It is no exaggeration to assert that Salas' documented inconsistency is the only consistent aspect of his claims. He has changed the date of the incident, the location of the incident, the number of missiles involved, the time of the incident, the order of events, the details of telephone calls made both during and after the incident, the number as well as the names of the individuals who either initiated or participated in the communication of those details (both during and after the incident), both the personal and official responses to the incident, as well as the complete record of USAF personnel who have allegedly confirmed the claims he has made.[25] It's also very hard to ignore the fact that Robert Salas' commander at Oscar Flight, Colonel Frederick Meiwald, has stated that he remembers no more than four missiles ever failing while he was on duty.[26]
 Staff Sergeant Louis D. Kenneweg, who is admittedly uncertain in regard to the date, has not associated the incident he recalls withany specific flight. His entire testimony, in fact, is somewhat ambiguous. He states only that "[o]ne of the guys" mentioned that "some very weird things were going on". It wasn't until later, at the barracks well after completing his assigned tasks, that he "heard a story that [UFOs] were seen on radar, then they were gone.”[27] His testimony, for the most past, is useless.
Even the Oscar Flight location of the incident is in doubt. Robert Salas originally claimed to have been on duty at Echo Flight, and later at November Flight, when the incident he has affirmed took place.[28] It should be noted that during the three years he claimed to have been on duty at November Flight, he was notably aware that his commander, Colonel Frederick Meiwald, had -- since October 1996 -- strongly insisted that he, at least, had only served duty at Oscar Flight.[29] During this entire 3-year period, Salas nonetheless insisted that Meiwald, as his commander, had confirmed his story of a UFO coincident to the failure of missiles at November Flight,where Frederick Meiwald never served.
 As for Jamison, for at least fourteen years he claimed that he could not recall the exact location of the first UFO -- this being the one that was apparently never sighted, reported, or investigated by the USAF. He could only state that he was "certain" the incident occurred at one of the flights near Lewistown, Montana, which could indicate Echo Flight, November Flight, Mike Flight, or Oscar Flight.
All of the above changes to the details of this alleged event does, however, prove without even the slightest doubt one salient fact: Colonel Frederick Meiwald is the only witness testifying to this incident who has insisted from the very beginning that the location was Oscar Flight. None of the other witnesses can make this claim.[30] Unfortunately, Meiwald also insists that he remembers nothing in regard to a UFO sighted during a missile failures incident, which apparently occurred on a date he also does not recall.[31]
 It should be noted as well that it was only upon the instigation of UFO researcher Robert Hastings that Jamison and Salas finally agreed that the event they recalled took place at Oscar Flight on March 24, 1967.[32] This suggests that any analysis of testimony that concludes with an apparent confirmation by Jamison of the story originally presented by Salas reveals a group effort to establish these claims. This in turn suggests that the resultant changes these men eventually adopted could very easily have been applied in order to invent confirmatory testimony that never actually existed prior to 2006.
The fact that there is nothing to indicate or otherwise suggest that the slightest iota of reason supports the claims addressed above does not reflect the same dearth of evidence in regard to contrary arguments. It is very easy, for instance, to establish the falsity of the March 24, 1967 date so clumsily recommended by researcher Robert Hastings. All that's required is the most cursory examination of USAF Project Blue Book records available since July 1967. These records state very clearly that there were no equipment failures throughout Malmstrom AFB on March 24, 1967. These records have been unclassified since their inception.[33]Add to this the remarkably conflicting details reported by these alleged "witnesses", even between those isolated together within the small, underground capsule of the Oscar Flight launch control center, and the resulting obstacle of utter disbelief becomes excessively difficult for even the most brazenly credulous analyst to overcome. 

If you take the time to review the references for the counter-argument, you'll find that James Carlson has made an admirable attempt to set the record straight.  James is the foremost expert on both Echo and Oscar Flight's and his work carries heavy weight on my blog site.

Food for do you think Robert Hastings feels knowing that Echo Flight (his tar baby) has been shot down by Wikipedia, but Salas' folklore has been chosen to be told?

James Carlson's listed references:

Carlson, James (13 November 2010)."Echo Flights of Fantasy - Anatomy of a UFO Hoax"

Carlson, James (10 February 2010)."Americans, Credulous"