Monday, July 22, 2013

Minot's 1968 UFO Sighting: Methodology Approach

Hopefully this is not construed as overkill for previewing the Minot AFB case of 1968, but I thought this important to post as an overall approach to studying the case.  I'm basically setting the table with an overview of a proposed methodology.

I've chosen to break up the case in sections or parts which is very similar to my approach to the Malmstrom Oscar Flight write up on this blog.  I believe that most readers will stay with my presentations if I provide several meaningful posts that describes a given situation in a moderately length article rather than a long drawn out single post which boarders on the perception of a manifesto or novella.  Simply, I'm trying to avoid reader fatigue.

The reader needs to keep in mind that this is a simple blog and not the place to park a research paper, nor am I intending to write a research paper.  For example, I've not attempted to contact and interview the key players in the Minot sighting because that has already been done by Tom Tulien and others.  Those interviews are conveniently available on numerous websites and the appropriate links and excerpts will be cited.  

The Minot 1968 case can be broken up into several parts.

1.  The missile maintenance team in route to  N-07.
2.  The missile security teams (FSCs and site security teams). 
3.  The diverted B-52 component (crew visuals, radar returns, UHF radio issues)
4.  The O-07 intrusion.
5.  Minot's UFO officer's (LtCol Werlich) investigation.
6.  Blue Book's responses and final conclusion.

Each of the above areas may have subsets.  These subsets may include data from Minot's base operations, wing security control, input from other launch control facilities and relevant information from the Memo for Records.

Most know that my view of the Malmstrom (Echo and Oscar) interviews conducted by Hastings and Salas was/is highly critical based on the nature of the cases and the major participants and the lack of others who remained in the shadows.   The main participants (Figel, Meiwald and Salas) had no credible visual observations and we're left with the reminiscences of phone calls and poor recall of said phone calls some 45 years later.  One has official documentation of the event, but the other exists purely in the mind of another individual leaving us to debate it's actual occurrence. 

The Minot story is a different animal as there are written accounts based on the AF-117s plus interviews that were conducted years later of the actual eye witnesses.  The AF-117s reveal what each participant experienced or perceived to have happened during the early morning hours of 24 October 1968.  The witnesses saw something and there is no doubt in that regard, but what did they actually see?  The interview statements given some 30-35 years later contain what is to be expected, that is difficult recall in certain areas, yet interesting information in other areas.  

So I'll present the case in a multi-part format.  How many parts is yet to be determined.  I'll have to see how the case progresses.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Preview of the Minot UFO Event: Oct 24, 1968

I've quietly been looking at the Minot AFB UFO(s) sightings occurring back on 24 October 1968.  Honestly, its been an on/off effort as other personal events and work schedule have intervened and side tracked this project.  That's not to mean that nothing has been done on my part, but simply it's been a much slower process than I originally anticipated based on my daily schedule performing the roles of husband, father, and Psychiatric Registered Nurse.  Throw in my daughter's pending marriage into the mix...the reader should be able to get my point.

With the above excuses/justifications said, the reader should review the case as presented in various reports.  Thomas Tulien has produced an impressive body of work for the Sign Oral History Project.  Tulien's in depth work can be accessed here.

UFO Casebook Files has a rudimentary description of the B-52 radio transmissions, but falls short of providing any meaningful context to the incident.  Further, missing is the missile maintenance personnel's written accounts per their AF-117s.  Yet, somewhere in the Casebook Files, I thought that more had been written about this case. 

The 90-plus pages of the official Blue Book investigation can be accessed at Fold3.  The numerous completed AF-117s provided by the eye witnesses are available.  Also included are the official message traffic generated by SAC, ADC, and FTD (Wright-Patterson AFB, OH).  Of equal, if not compelling value, are the Memo for Records generated from the numerous  phone calls between Minot, SAC HQ, and FTD.

I suggest that to save yourself the time and aggravation just go to Tulien's site as he has incorporated all of the Blue Book documents (and more) in a more friendlier format for easier reading.  I've verified that Tulien has all of the documents and pertinent maps as listed on 

The focus of my work will center around the final Blue Book conclusions.  That is, does the final conclusions make logical sense.  My initial read of BBs 13 Nov 1968 conclusions leaves me with the sense that it's somewhat wanting for the most part.  When I read the entire report, I couldn't help but see the lack of follow-up by both FTD and Minot's UFO Officer, LtCol Werlich.

The reader also needs to understand that I was not a pilot or navigator.  My knowledge of radar operations is relatively poor.  I did have the opportunity to sit in the pilot's seat of a B-52D at March AFB back in the late 1970s, but that does not qualify for any meaningful knowledge base of practical experience other than to provide knowledge of the cramp confines of the flight deck.  I do have experience in using UHF radio equipment since the missile launch control centers were equipped with numerous radio systems, including UHF.

Below is the key points of BB's conclusion:

1.  Ground visuals appear to be the star Sirius and the over flying B-52.   The missile maintenance teams AF-117s show that this may indeed be possible as stellar objects tend to be misidentified and the characteristics of the phenomena observed was that of the B-52.  Yet the question remains, did they misinterpret stars and the aircraft for a UFO(s)?

2.  The B-52 radar contact and temporary loss of UHF transmission could be attributed to plasma/ball lightning.  This one bothers me due to the rarity of such a phenomena.  I get the impression (right/wrong) that this contributory theory was just thrown into the mix.

3.  The B-52 visual observation was the star Vega, ground light, or plasma.  This is an odd set of conclusions, but I believe that I have a good candidate for what was actually seen from the cockpit of the B-52.  The clues are embedded in the case files and appeared to have been glossed over during the investigation.  Plus there is a psychological component that was innocently introduced.

4.  The break in of Oscar-07 was not related to the event.  I tentatively agree with this conclusion.

So, there you have it!  A brief preview of the case and hint of methodology.  Hopefully, I'll be able to present my final product in the coming weeks barring any distractions.