Wednesday, December 24, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 22, 2014

UFO attempts to launch Malmstrom ICBM...1974

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

The Incident

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What's Possible for the Launch Sequence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This does bring up questions for Hastings' source:

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

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

The UFO Angle of the Story

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

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


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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

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

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

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

William Smith's AF-117

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smith had never seen a phenomena like this.

Smith had his security response team with him.

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

He completed his AF-117 on 26 Oct 1968.

End of AF-117.

Items of Interests

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Correlations with other observers

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

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

Monday, November 10, 2014

It came out of the sky...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Human Element

We live in a world of uncertainty.  Trouble brewing in the Middle East, yet again.  The Ebola virus making its presence known in this country...the United States...while ravaging parts of western Africa.  Other health concerns from the recent migration patterns across the US southern border...perceived in some cases...real in others. Economies on the brink of collapse, or painfully on a slow mend...choose your country.   Attempting to digest the above makes the arguments concerning UFOs woefully pitiful in this context. 

As a registered nurse, I silently hold my breath with the current situation concerning the Ebola infections of two nurses, the death of one patient, and the possible exposure of hundreds of others.  Though I'm not one to raise the flag of hysteria, I silently wonder based on the current strategy of my government, ie, the CDC and other government agencies.  It's not that I distrust the protocols set in place, but I worry about the human element in this equation.  Protocols and algorithms look good on paper, in fact, most are perfect in logic.  Its the human element that throws a wrench into the gears...we as humans are fallible.

One of my neighbors is a genius concerning the financial markets.  He and I talk weekly on the current financial health of the country and California.  He's a whiz concerning the stock market utilizing analytic data bases to guide his decisions...purely abstract approach to market analysis.  He doesn't flinch much when markets drop, as they are destine to do at any given point in time.

I tend to look at the stock market in a concrete point of view, or simply as a human function regarding our confidence in our government and economy...for most of the population, the stock market is a psychological indicator that effects our emotions more than that of our investments.  This is the human element of market influx and reactions to abstract concepts such as quantitative easing or the rise and fall of GDP.  We humans are fallible and yearn for reassurance.

I remember having to piece together production and delivery schedules as a program manager back in my Air Force Systems Command days.  These schedules were derived from PERT, MBO and other gold standard policies, all perfect until said schedules were enacted, yet devoid of the human element that dooms perfection, morphing it to fragmentation and uncertainty.  The government has a hard time with the simple concept that "shit happens" and that it can strike at any time because we as humans are fallible.

The same human element was encountered when I was the Director of Nursing at an orthopedic rehab and long term care facility.  Staffing schedules were painstakingly constructed, yet doomed to failure before the ink dried.   Once again, that all too familiar lightning bolt out of the blue...the human factor...intervened with the all too predictable results.

Since this is blog represents a skeptical view towards UFO, the human element is present in most, if not all, of the cases listed.  Most UFO cases are fascinating in their own right.  They tell a story.  Most have themes and plots, not to mention a thesis statement(s) which may appear plausible or may reach into the realms of insanity.  Despite the rational or illogical premises, all have a common thread and point of origination...a singularity.  There is a human factor involved and despite our best efforts there is confusion and uncertainty for we are fallible. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Done in by Blue Book data...Corrected data leads to new questions.

Tim Printy provided a comment questioning some of my astronomical data.  To be honest, Tom Tulien had expressed such concerns in recent comments.  Both are data was incorrect.

My first problem was that I took PBB's stated elevations of Sirius, Rigel, Procyon, et al, as fact for that is where I had gotten the stated elevations.  If Printy's program is correct, then PBB data is way off the mark.

My second problem occurred when I made approximate stellar locations (azimuths) via a star map showing locations of Sirius and Rigel at various times for 24 October.  I knew that the locations were approximations and had stated so in the blog post.  But in retrospect, it was not accurate for 1968, even for approximations.

Tim Printy provided via email the following chart for Minot, ND for 24 Oct 1968.  The times listed are for local, central daylight savings time.  Tim's elevation numbers are rounded, but his information would be much more reliable than what was listed in PBB.


Based on the above, the diagrams for Sirius and Rigel, as seen from N-07, would be:

The revised diagrams provides a visual that tends to support Tom Tulien's claims that Sirius would have been too low above the horizon for Isley and O'Connor to have seen it.  Further, Sirius would have been a little more than ESE of their location.

What could Isley/O'Connor have seen due east of their location (5 miles north of N-07) if not of Sirius?  Procyon was visible close to due east (azimuth of 94), elevation 12 degrees at 0200 hrs.  I have to wonder if such a star as Procyon would have attracted much of their attention, but it does change locations from east to southeast over 4 hours and stays in view for the same length of time.

With that said, Sirius and Rigel do come into play while both Jablonski/Adams and Isley/O'Connor are physically on N-07, roughly between 0300 and 0500 hrs.  This still raises questions in my mind as to how accurate were the plotted locations that each individual had annotated on their AF-117s.

A review of William Smith's AF-117 in coming soon.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Minot's Visual Observations: A Question of Possibilities

My last post led to quite a few comments from my friend, Tom Tulien.  Tom raised good questions.  As I had stated in my reply to Tom, I'm merely looking at possibilities.  I was not present at or near Minot back in 1968.  I've had no contact with the principles involved with this case.  I, like others, am left with looking at, and deciphering reports in the form of AF-117s, memo for records and other various documents that are currently available.  And much gratitude to Tom and Jim Klotz for providing subsequent interviews that both had provided on Tom's excellent site,


When looking at the key principle's AF-117s, I have to take into account three possibilities:

1.  The ground observers, primarily O'Connor/Isley, Jablonski/Adams and Bond/Williams, saw lights and/or an object in their respective flight areas.  The possibility exists that this could have been a mis-identified star...possible, but not certain.

2.  At a given point in time, the B-52 visually supplants the initial object and the observers focus solely on the B-52.  I believe that this is possible, but not certain.

3.  The object is neither a star, nor the B-52, but of an unknown origin.  A UFO, if you will. This is possible, but not definitive nor is it certain.

Are the AF-117s accurate concerning the plotted directions and elevations of the object/light?  I tend to think not.  The observation reports were completed either the next day or a few days after the incident.  Werlich, per memo for record, had told the staff of PBB that he had to show most how to annotate the directions and elevations on the AF-117s.  If this is true, then the diagrams were best guesses based on memory recall.  Each observer perceived the event in a different way.

There is another AF-117, that of the B-52's pilot, Maj James Partin, that provides possible clues to his sighting that possibly discounts a UFO on or near the ground.  In my opinion, Partin's AF-117 does not corroborate the observations from the ground teams.  I'm not talking about the radar data, but of Partin's visual observations, what he saw with his own eyes. The radar data will be discussed in a separate post. 

Is a stellar observation possible?

This is what Blue Book proposed.  Unfortunately in today's UFO research climate, the mere mentioning of Blue Book tends to be toxic, but was a stellar component possible?  In order to answer this question we have to compare the ground observers' estimated plotted positions while on site at N-07 and the potential candidates for a proposed stellar observation.

As can be seen in the above diagram.  We have a combination of initial and final observed points based on the estimated elevations above the horizon as provided by the ground teams.  Information from Blue Book list four stars as the possible observed object/light:

Regulus  10 degrees above horizon at 0300 hr, and 20 degrees at 0400 hr.

Procyon  30 degrees above horizon at 0300 hr, and 37 degrees at 0400 hr.

Sirius  28 degrees above  horizon at 0300 hr, and 24 degrees at 0400.

Rigel  35 degrees above horizon at 0300 hr, and 35 degrees at 0400.

Based on the estimated positions plotted by Jablonski/Adams and O'Connor/Isley, it appears to me that Procyon, Sirius, and Rigel would be good candidates to have been observed by the ground teams.  

Tom Tulien provided a comment in my last post that Sirius would have been too low above the horizon to have any observational value.  To see if this was possible, I set up my telescope in my backyard and aligned it to 28 degrees and tracked this elevation via line of sight.  It was readily obvious that Sirius could have been easily seen even taking in to account tree lines in the distant area.  I further found that at 15 degrees above the horizon the same held true.  It was only at 10 degrees and below that I found that it would have been difficult to observe, based on probable tree lines and ground elevations, but in some respects not impossible.

What was the actual conditions during the night? This depends on the perception of each observer.  O'Connor listed the conditions as partly cloudy with nimbus clouds, a few stars, no moon. Isley wrote that the night was clear, few stars, no moon light.  Jablonski wrote that it was a clear night, few stars, no moon light.  The same for Adams.  Bond, at N-01, stated the night was clear with a few stars.  William Smith, O-01, wrote that it was completely overcast, clouds, no stars, and no moon.  James Partin, the B-52 pilot, wrote that there were many stars and no moon light, but Partin was at altitude in his aircraft.

Based on the above descriptions, it appears that the ground teams in the November Flight area, particular to N-07, had a fairly non-obscured sky during the observations.  Oscar Flight, NE of November Flight, was the only exception as it appeared to had been overcast, per William Smith, yet he saw a light/object SSW, 15 degrees above the horizon.

The above diagram shows the plotted "compass" points of the teams initial (A) and last (B) observations.  I've listed the approximately locations of Sirius and Rigel at important times during the early morning hours of 24 October 1968.

What is of interest is that at the time listed on O'Connor's AF-117, Sirius is almost directly due east.  Sirius' position changes through the next few hours, East, ESE, SE, SSE, and finally at 0500 hr, approximately due south. Rigel's position changes from SE,SSE and finally SSW at 0500 hr. Sirius tracks well with the descriptions given by Isley and O'Connor and the initial observation plotted by Jablonski/Adams.  Jablonski's last observed point B shows WSW, but Rigel's location of SSW is in the general vicinity.  Is it possible that Rigel was the object last seen by Jablonski?

James Partin's View from the B-52

James Partin was the pilot of the B-52 that over-flew the November flight area.  His aircraft was 10 miles northeast of Minot AFB at an altitude of 3200 ft MSL per his AF-117.  He saw a bright orange ball of light at his one o'clock.  It appeared to be 15 miles away either on the ground or slightly above the ground.  The light remained stationary as he flew towards it. During his 5 minute visual observation, the object never moved, even when he was directly above it. To Partin, "It looked like a miniature sun placed on the ground below the aircraft.

Nowhere in Partin's AF-117 does he describe a light/object moving about the flight area, as compared to the descriptions provided by the ground observers. Partin only saw a bright object or source of light on or near the ground...and it was stationary...not moving.

What was the bright light that Partin observed?  Project Blue Book offered the possibility of ball lightning or the star Vega.  Both of these options are very poor choices as Vega was barely above the horizon in the north, if at all, and ball lightning being a very rare event and hardly a stationary phenomena.

If we rule out Vega and ball lightning, then what is the source?  The answer may well be annotated by the ground observers AF-117s and the flight path of the B-52.

The PBB staff and LtCol Werlich either missed or glossed over a key passage in Jablonski's AF-117, in particular, section 11 e, Major Source of Illumination."  Jablonski had wrote in section 11 e, "Head lights and site lights".  While on N-07, the site's top-side lights were on and the team's vehicle head lights were on.

I asked two former missile maintenance officers about the arrangement of the site lights on a launch facility.  Both stated that there were 2 light posts with 3 lights mounted on each pole.  When asked how bright these lights were, one stated that all were very bright, lighting up the entire area of the launch facility.  I assume that all six lights were positioned in different angles on their respective poles to provide the illumination coverage.

If we look at the flight path of the B-52,  N-07 would have been in the direction of Partin's one o'clock.  The flight path takes the aircraft near N-07. I believe that what Partin had described as a stationary source of bright light was actually N-07 with it's site lights activated.  In his AF-117, Partin draws what he believes to have seen either on the ground or hovering above the ground.

Tom Tulien site, shows several map overlays of the aircraft's flight path viewed here.

Taken from Tom Tulien's

The above is the diagram drawn by Maj. Partin in his AF-117.

The above is an overlay of what Maj. Partin saw and transposed over N-07.  The site lights would have brightly lit the entire topside of the LF and a portion of the outside perimeter. The graveled topside and concrete components could have been seen as a bright reflection being observed by Partin.  In an interview with Tulien/Klotz, Jablonski gave the impression that he and Adams had parked their vehicle on the access road.

I cannot say the above is exactly what Partin saw, but I believe that it is possible...plausible. It is "possible" that the ground observers saw a star, or a series of stars that appeared to move slowly over time.  It is "possible" that at a given point in time, the overflying B-52 takes over and is now the focus of the ground observers as the UFO.  Add in the light pollution by the bright site lights from N-07, it is "possible" that the ground observers lost frequent eye contact with the initial object (star?).  It is "possible" that Maj. Partin was actually observing a "stationary" brightly lit N-07.

If the above is true....where is the UFO?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Minot AFB 1968 UFO Incident: The November Flight Security Response Team, Part 4

The last Minot posting looked at the observation given by the November Flight Security Controller, SSgt James Bond.  At some given time of the observations by the missile maintenance team enroute to N-07, Bond would have dispatched his security response team, A1C Joseph Jablonski and Gregory Adams.

When reviewing SSgt Bond's AF-117 and later 2005 interview by Tom Tulien, there is a matter of confusion regarding the actual physical location of the Adams and Jablonski. Bond's AF-117 gives the impression that both men were physically located on N-01, the Launch Control Facility.  Bond's interview with Tulien states that both men were off site.

If we are to go by A1C Jablonski's AF-117, he makes it clear that he and Adams are on N-01 which confoms to Bond's AF-117.  In a 2005 interview, Jablonski states that he and others (Adams, and off duty SAT) where outside looking at the lights.  Based on this information, it can be assumed that both Adams and Jablonski were physically on N-01 prior to being dispatched to N-07.

Adam's AF-117

I've chosen not to delve into Adams AF-117 content due to it being almost identical to that of Joseph Jablonski's observation.  My initial comparison of the two led me to believe that Adams merely copied Jablonski's AF-117.  Tom Tulien and I have discussed this in the past and I believe there is agreement that this was more than likely probable.  Adams' AF-117 can be viewed here

Jablonski's AF-117

His AF-117 annotates that he first saw the object at 0308 and his visual observation ended at 0518.  Per a diagram which he drew the object/light was first observed some 9 miles S/E of N-01 [N-07 would have been seen somewhat in the S/E, 10 miles away from N-01].  A second diagram shows the object/light 2-3 miles S/E when he and Adams either arrived at, or where on site at N-07.

Per Jablonski, the first observation showed the object/light to be 30 degrees above the horizon in a SSE direction.  His last observation showed the object/light to have descended 15 degrees above the horizon in a WSW direction [assuming this vantage point from N-07?].

Jablonski, dispatched to N-07, is the passenger in the vehicle moving at 30 mph.  He and Adams apparently stopped along the way and object/light not affected by the actually movement of the vehicle. [This assumes that Adams is driving and both agree to make a quick stop for visual observations]

Annotated is the fact that he is aware that a B-52 has been diverted to the general area. The aircraft is first seen and heard approximately 35 minutes after the first sighting of the object. [approximately 0343?].  The object stayed basically to the SE, while the B-52 was in the direction of S/W.

Duration of the sighting lasted approximately 2 hours off and on.  Jablonski based this time line on the length of time while out on dispatch.  The object appeared as orange-red, seemingly switching to almost completely white with some green also seen.  This pattern was not always the same.

The object first appeared to hover then move slowly.  It would speed up alternating in color. The light would vanish but return some 5 minutes later.

When first dispatched to N-07, another object exactly the same appeared out of the east and had picked up speed in a path moving towards the other.  Jablonski never saw the tow objects join or meet as the second object disappeared and no longer could be seen. [the B-52?]

The night was clear with a few stars visible.  There was no moon light.  Major sources of illumination was the vehicle head lights and the site lights on N-07.  The object was self luminous with glowing orange-red, white and green which alternated at times.  The object appeared solid although not very wide and slender is shape.  The edges were fuzzy.  The lights were much too bright to determine an exact shape.  This object appeared much too bright to be a star.

What drew Jablonski's attention to the object/light was other people had brought it to his attention.  Although he had not seen it immediately, others gave a good estimate of location. It reappeared 3 or 4 minutes later and was quite bright and gradually weakened.

Prior to returning to N-01, it caught our attention again.  This time WSW in location.  It appeared as before starting bright orange-red to white and finally to green.  The object was stationary at times appearing 1000 feet above ground.  Green light started to diminish slowly till no longer seen.

Just prior to his sighting, the diverted B-52 in the WSW, the object had descended gradually and for 1 to 2 minutes had appeared to be obstructed by trees.  [The B-52 is seen WSW. Jablonski is the first witness to describe that something on the ground blocked the view of the object:  trees.]

The object appeared to be solid matter.  The illumination rendered no logical shape to be determined.  It appeared quiet slim and not very wide. [Description of B-52?]  Object appeared to move more the westerly direction until the last and final illuminations at 0510. Lasting until approximately 0518 when it could no longer be seen.  Estimated speed of the object was 70 knots with a distance of 3-5 miles.  The object made no noise and left no physical trace.

As to the alternating illumination, particularly the white, it appeared as two or three automobile headlights.  When the B-52 had flown its search, it had been using its landing lights which were quite similar in nature.  As to avoid confusion between the plane and the object, Base Ops had pointed out where and when we saw the B-52.  Must add that the B-52's engines could be easily heard while the UFO made  no sounds to be heard at the same distance.

The object had various maneuvers which occurred basically in one general area.  It stayed pretty well SSE of the launch facility, but had several times started northwards and westwards always returning to its previous SSE position.  For some reason it appeared to be traveling (trying to), but never did see it take the direct path. 

When the B-52 flew in the vicinity (SSE) it was no longer seen in that location. [Assuming he meant the object]  When he started leaving back to N-01, B-52 already left the area.  Object approximately west.  Object remained until it finally disappeared about 15 minutes later. 

Jablonski lists on AF-117 that A1C Adams, SSgt Bond, A1C O'Connor where with him. [Bond while at the LCF]

Report made to SSgt Bond on 24 Oct 1968.  AF-117 completed 25 Oct 1968 

End of AF-117 content.

Notes of interest

1.  Sighting duration lasted about 2 hours, 0308-0518.

2.  Object seen from the LCF and LF in a S/E direction.

3.  May have been seen SSE, then last seen WSW.  Isley's AF-117 states that object seen due East then S/E.  Isley states that object last seen from N-07 SE of site.  Why the difference, as both Jablonski and Isley were on N-07 together and would have been observing the same object(s)?  Different object versus that of confusing the B-52 as the object?  The object stayed in the S/E while the B-52 was primarily in the S/W.

4.  Object changed colors, orange-red, white then green.  Jablonski could not discern any shape.

5.  Object appeared to stop/hover.

6.  Jablonski says the night is clear.  What happened to the hazy conditions as previously reported?

7.  N-07 had its site lights on with head lights from vehicle.  Did these sources of light pollution hamper the observation of the object in question?

8.  Object disappeared in WSW location.  Noted to be the same general area as that of the B-52.

9.  When comparing AF-117s of those who where on or near N-07, there is apparent confusion of the object versus that of the B-52.  Jablonski's AF-117 does not match up with the maintenance team's observation, yet all were eventually on N-07 observing something in the sky.

10.  Jablonski's entry in section 15 appears to describe the profile of the B-52 with its landing lights illuminated.  The B-52 made noise, as well it would, but no noise came from the object/light.  Is it reasonable to infer a stellar source or something else?

Jablonski's AF-117 provides good details of what he saw that night.  Granted, its different from O'Connor and Isley's observation in many ways.  It's unfortunate that A1C Adams did not render an independent description of his own observation as this could have provided other details that either corroborated or differed based on his perception of the event.

Its interesting that there is some disagreements with the direction of the observations.  I'm not overly concerned whether someone observed something S/E of their location while another saw the same phenomena SSE.  Both directions tend to be basically the same to the casual observer, plus I'm sure that Jablonski/Adams and O'Connor/Isley did not have a compass on hand obtaining precise coordinates.  

The same could be said of the elevations listed above the horizon.  These figures were more than likely established through best estimation and/or using a possible landmark as a frame of reference.  Not to mention that these figures were derived some days after the incident relying then on memory recall.  In a memo for record, LtCol Werlich provides some details as explaining to the ground observers how to estimate elevation and direction.

What did strike me was that four individuals differed as to the final location of the sighted object.  Jablonski/Adams state the object is last seen WSW of N-07, while O'Connor/Isley saw the object last S/E.  The two directions are significantly different and to add to the mix that the B-52 was either S/W or WSW of N-07 leads to the possibility that the aircraft may have visually supplanted the initial observed object.

After another review of Jablonski's and Isley's AF-117s and plotting the initial and last observations on a map the observations may actually be fairly similar respective to both observers.  It becomes readily apparent that both are describing an initial observed object (East or S/E of N-07) and then go on to describe an object flying south of N-07 in a westerly direction.  The only difference is the final observation point listed by both individuals.

Comparing Lloyd Isley's and Joeseph Jablonski's Sightings.

Above is the estimated point of initial observation of the object/light that O'Connor and Isley observed approximately midway between N-01 and N-07 (5 miles).  The object/light was seen due east of their location apparently moving south at slow speed.

Above is the initial observation by Jablonski and others while on the LCF, N-01.  Object/light observed to be SE of the LCF.

The above is the initial observation (A) SE, and last observation (B) WSW of Jablonski and Adams while both on N-07.

The above is a overlay of both initial and last observations by O'Connor/Isley and Jablonski/Adams.  Note that I've included the due east initial observation that O'Connor/Isley stated in their AF-117, but the reader should know that this initial observation point was actually 5 miles north of N-07.

Yellow:  Joseph Jablonski's observational area.  A= first sighting, B= last sighting.
Red:  Lloyd Isley's observational area.  A= first sighting, B= last sighting.
Red Oval:  Isley's description of object in a circular orbit south of N-07.  Actual area size is questionable (could be larger) based on Isley's diagram on his AF-117.

Lloyd Isley states in his AF-117 that object first sighted due east while he and O'Connor where enroute to N-07.  While on N-07, he describes the object south of the launch facility in a circular pattern which I dubbed a "racetrack" or orbit.  Isley is very much aware that a B-52 is in the area.  It is possible that Isley is describing the flight of the B-52 which may have visually supplanted the object which he first observed.  Notice that the potential flight path of the object closely corresponds to the flight path of the aircraft which accomplished two passes near the launch facility, moving  SE towards the West then returning to the SE. Could this possibly have been the aircraft returning back to base?

From lloyd Isley's AF-117:

"We first saw the object to the east of us while we were traveling toward the site.  It started moving south.  We arrived at the site and then started observing the object from outside the truck.  It was moving in a large circular area to the south."

"The object had lights on the front like head lights or landing lights.  It had green flashing light toward the middle or rear.  I could not tell any shape or size."

"It came within hearing distance twice.  The sound was that of jet engines.  It was in this same area for two or three hours."

"When we last saw it, the object was in the SE and went low and out of sight."

Jablonski initially saw the object 2-3 miles SE or SSE of N-07.  He last observed the object WSW of N-07.

"The object had various maneuvers which occurred basically in one general area.  It stayed pretty well SSE of the launch facility, but had several times started northwards and westwards, always returning to its previous SSE position.  For some reason it appeared to be traveling but never did see it take the direct path."

"When the B-52 flew in the vacinity (SSE) it was no longer seen in that location."

What was being observed?

When taking into account the above information, we are left with three options:

1.  Stellar component which was proposed by Project Blue Book, yet later to be discarded by  Jablonski, Isley and O'Connor.  Sirius was prominent in the East and Rigel in the SE at 1 AM.  By 0300, Sirius would have been seen in the S/E and Rigel approximately due South. By 0500, Sirius would have been seen in the SSE and Rigel in the SSW. Both teams differ as to the elevation above the horizon for their respective reports. 

2.  The possibility that the first observed object eventually is visually merged with the presence of the B-52 which would account for the SE to W movement of the object. This could easily explain the observations that the initial object split into two separate objects seen south of N-07. 

3.  The object/light was neither a misidentified star nor the B-52.  This would correspond to what was perceived by all of the ground observers.  All readily acknowledged the presence of the B-52.  All stated that they would be able to discern a bright light to that of a star.

Another question arises from the combined observations.  All described the speed of the object/light as being slow or moving at 70 knots.  Later on in this blog series the B-52's radar would show that the UFO was maneuvering at a speed exceeding 3000 mph.  How does this conform to the ground personnel that did not describe an object moving at such high speeds?