Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Tale of SSgt Louis D. Kenneweg

I've been meaning to get to this side story of the 1967 Malmstrom Echo Flight UFO encounter. Louis Kenneweg's discriptions of unusual maintenance activity at Malmstrom was first reported by Robert Hastings in NICAP back in 2006 and subsequently published on his web site, "UFOs and Nukes", June 2006, "UFO sightings at ICBM sites and Nuclear Weapons Storage Areas"

I'm not certain as to when Kenneweg had interviewed with Hastings, nor how Hastings had came into contact with him.  I first read of the story back in 2009, when Hastings had posted the story on a missile forum site which I was a member.

Basically, Kenneweg's story appears to be an attempt to correlate to that of Robert Jamison's telling of his Combat Targeting Team being dispatched to the field for the purpose of performing targeting and re-alignment tasks for multiple missile sites. (see blog article for Jamison)

Below, I've posted the Kenneweg segment as written by Robert Hastings, "UFO Sightings at ICBM Sites and Nuclear Weapons Storage Areas."

Staff Sgt. Louis D. Kenneweg
Former Minuteman ICBM maintenance clerk, 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron, Malmstrom AFB, Montana
At the time of the 1967 missile shutdown incidents, Staff Sgt. Louis D. Kenneweg was assigned to the 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron (MIMS) at Malmstrom AFB. His duties at the MIMS hangar included issuing Technical Order kits (T.O.s) to other members of his squadron. As Kenneweg explained, "Each of the repair teams would be required to take T.O.'s in the truck with them. The kit included books or manuals that would contain technical information that the technicians could look up rather than rely on memory. There was also a check list in plastic sleeves, kind of like a pre-flight checklist for a pilot, that they would use before removing the warhead from the missile. Of course there was an awful lot of supervision when that occurred."
Although the date is uncertain, one night, around 11:45 P.M. Kenneweg was driving to work when he noticed something unusual in the sky. "As I traveled down one of the roads parallel to the flightline," he said, "I saw something that I first thought was a private plane's lights, blinking. As I watched it get closer, I realized that it wasn't blinking at all, but zig-zagging. First here, then there, traveling too fast for a plane. Then looming over the flightline. I got up late, and I knew that I had little time, but I stopped anyway. I opened the car door, got out, and focused on the lights. I watched it as long as I could, without being late to work. I remember saying to myself that this pilot was going to be in a lot of trouble, coming across the runway, or at least across the Air Force Base property. I don't remember it traveling that close to me, but I do remember the image of it disappearing in a low southerly trajectory over the [MIMS] hangar. Of course, it was much farther away than it appeared. At that point, it wasn't 'blinking' anymore but had more of a glow. It appeared as a bright light the size of the moon, on a cloudy night, although I don't remember it being cloudy."
Upon arriving at the MIMS hangar, Kenneweg was confronted by a scene of high activity. "As I entered the hangar I noticed that there were numerous trucks being loaded," he said, "many more than I had ever seen all at the same time."
Still puzzled about the strange, zig-zagging light, Kenneweg walked toward the Air Police office, where APs were routinely assigned to accompany the maintenance teams into the missile fields, guarding their trucks and the silos once they opened the gates. When he arrived, he noticed an unusual level of activity there as well. Kenneweg asked the Air Police sergeant on duty whether the base had any helicopters up. The sergeant replied that the helicopters didn't have radar and didn't fly at night.
Kenneweg continued, "Back at the office, I issued almost all of the [T.O.] kits on the shelf. I remember saying to myself, 'I'm running out of kits, this is a busy night.' Now, I didn't check the sign-out sheet to see how many kits had been checked out before my shift, but while I was on duty, I did recall that they were almost all checked out. As I count them off in my head today, and try to see them on the shelf, we had a wall with 3 shelves that would hold 25 or so."
Clearly, a lot of missiles were either undergoing routine maintenance, and/or had gone off Strategic Alert for another reason, all at the same time.
When the maintenance teams returned to the MIMS hangar—Kenneweg first thought that it had been some three hours later, but upon reflection, now believes that it was more than 24 hours later, during his next shift—one of the technicians hinted that something out of the ordinary had taken place in the missile field. "One of the guys mentioned to me that some very weird things were going on that night," said Kenneweg, "It takes two guys to carry the T.O. kit, and there were other guys behind him, waiting in line to get checked in, and they were all nodding their heads in agreement. But this guy said that he couldn't talk about it right then. He said he would tell me all about it back at the barracks. Well, like I have said before, I was busy working [a second job] at the Red Lion Supper Club and didn't really have that serious sit-down conversation with that particular airman. But the barracks was buzzing. Stories about how when they got to the [missile silos] and found no damage, and how all the batteries were dead. I also heard a story that [UFOs] were seen on radar, then they were gone."
He continued, "Our missile sites each had a tertiary power system. The main power source was delivered by Montana Power. Telephone poles, transformers and wire. The second system was the diesel generators, and the third was the battery back-up within the silo itself. Numerous reports came back saying that they had found no damage to the fences, wires, transformers, microwave intrusion system, locks on the three-foot-thick concrete blast doors, or to the batteries. So, no evidence of damage from intruders or animals, lightning or fire. Just three sources of power vanished and the batteries were dead."
Kenneweg believes that the incident was not isolated. "As I recall," he said, "there were other nights where the guys would come back and look a little shaken, all within that same time-period."
What is to be made of Kenneweg's story?  It can be viewed in different ways thus drawing different conclusions.  The story has the structure of truth to it, but there are little things that are somewhat suspect as to it's presentation.  Assumptions can be readily made that Kenneweg more than likely was at Malmstrom and did perform the duties as stated based on the details provided by him, yet despite that, there are important items missing from the story.
What is the main focus of the Hastings' article?  He has Kenneweg observing a blinking/glowing light near the base's flight line.  He also has Kenneweg issuing T.O. kits for maintenance teams due to either major routine maintenance or numerous missile sites off alert.

There are no definitive dates and times listed other than Kenneweg observing lights at or about 1145 pm.  We are given the possibility that its 1967, yet that is not fully established.  We might be able to draw a loose conclusion that based on the description of heavy maintenance activity that it could be 16/17 March 1967 and the response is to Echo Flight.

Kenneweg provides no details that he had reported his observations to a supervisor.  He did ask a few questions to a security police NCO, but he does not give the impression that he told the NCO what he had seen.  In short, Kenneweg goes about his business.

Let's look at the following statement, "...But the barracks was buzzing. Stories about how when they got to the [missile silos] and found no damage, and how all the batteries were dead. I also heard a story that [UFOs] were seen on radar, then they were gone."  This appears to be similar to the Echo Flight story, but obvious told either second or third hand to Kenneweg as the details are over inflated. There were no issues with the power being supplied to Echo's missiles.  The UFO component to story is simply "I heard..."  Again, consistent with the rumors that were circulating back in 1967.

Finally, we have Robert Hastings' conclusion:

Based on Kenneweg's description of his own UFO sighting, during which the object appeared to be near or over Malmstrom's flightline at one point, I have speculated that the UFO may have briefly maneuvered near the base's nuclear Weapons Storage Area (WSA), which is located just east of the main runway. The WSA contains Minuteman missile nuclear warheads, known as Re-entry Vehicles (RVs). A review of aerial photographs of Malmstrom, which show the WSA, coupled with an analysis of Kenneweg's probable position near the MIMS hangar, lead to this conjecture. Regardless, another UFO sighting at the WSA, some years later, has been confirmed by two other sources. See Malmstrom AFB, Montana (1975).

We have speculations, yet there are the absence of facts.  Kenneweg even states of his initial observation, "Of course, it was much farther away than it appeared."  Which could be interpreted that maybe the object(s) were not actually hovering over the weapon storage area or the flight line.  The weapons storage area is generally kept locked and secured and security checks done on a routine basis.  One would think that such an incident would have drawn attention to the numerous base security forces, yet according to Kenneweg's story this does not appear to be the case.  The activity is centered around the maintenance hangar...not the weapon storage area.

Interesting UFO story, but as usual the story itself begins to fall apart under closer scrutiny.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Last Cardiac Chest Compression on the Oscar Flight UFO Corpse

Robert Scheaffer's "Bad UFO" site
Sorry for disinterring the Oscar Flight story...yet again...I guess that I like creeping about the grave yards of old UFO cases, but I had to post a response to Robert Scheaffer's post on "Bad UFOs" where he dissected the Discovery-Canada's "Close Encounters" segment on Robert Salas and Oscar Flight, "....Mars Mangles Missiles?"

The first part of Robert Scheaffer's article postulates the possibility that the security personnel may have mistaken the observed phenomena as the planet Mars.  Admittedly, I've never thought of a stellar component for the story, but this hypothesis, though certainly plausible under the right circumstances, has a fundamental problem(s) as I outlined in a comment to Robert's article.


Appreciate that you've posted my thoughts on the Oscar Flight affair, as well as providing links to my blog site.

I found the opening of your post interesting that Mars could have played a roll in the security teams visual observations. That's all very well from a theoretical point of view, if it could be proven that the security personnel did in fact see and report something to Salas and Meiwald. There is nothing to support that such a thing happened other than what both officers stated some decades later. And, of course, both officers perceived different things on the night in question. Both were ignorant of each others story until years later when Salas had interviewed Meiwald for his book "Faded Giant". Thus one of the many morphing of the story.

Added to all of the above that after 45 years none of the security team members have ventured forth to confirm the story. With a minimum of 8 individuals topside, you would think that at least one of them would have come forward to verify the story. As of now, no one has come forward.

Recently, Salas had disclosed (Paul Kimball via Billy Cox?) that he had undergone hypnosis in the mid 1980s to help recall certain aspects of the incident, as well as claiming that he was abducted by aliens. I believe this further puts a stake in the heart of credibility in my opinion. Canadian viewers were not privy to that tid bit of info, were they?

From my stand point, Salas' claims stretches coherence to the nth degree and more and more moves into the realm of total confabulation or...an elaborate hoax was perpetrated on him while out in the field that day.

Again, thanks for the post, its much appreciated.

From my point of view, Mars is irrelevant to the story.  For this story to have a shred of traction, you need to have someone corroborate the story who was physically there topside at the time. No AF-117s were ever filled out for this incident where the security personnel provided a detailed descriptions of any supposed observations.  Contrast this to that of Minot's case over one year later.  In the Minot incident(s), missile personnel and aircraft pilot had filled out AF-117s which provided details of what was seen.

As I start shoveling dirt back on to the Oscar corpse, again I ask you:  "Did this really happen?"...Seriously?

Note:  I plan to construct a separate blog site to park all of my Oscar posts, similar to what I did for Echo Flight.  I provide a post and link when this is accomplished.  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Road to Echo...

With all of the discussions centering around Discovery Canada's "Close Encounters," my memory was tweaked thus remembering this humorous entry into Echo Flight's "Captain's Log." back in the early 1980s titled "The Road to Echo."

Everybody should recognize the poster for "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."  The movie poster was apparently cut out of a magazine and pasted into the Captain's Log.  Entry date alludes me at this time, but it would have been entered between 1977 and 1981 (my first Echo alert would have been in 1981 and that being the probable year that I saw it).

Some would say that "Hebert has stumbled across proof that Echo's launch crews knew of the past UFO incident of 1967", but that's not quite it.  The movie poster has to be seen in the context of pulling an alert at one of the 341st Strategic Missile Wing's farthest launch centers...approximately 120 miles away from the base (Oscar was the farthest of the two being 140 to 150 miles away).

Each Launch Control Center had a version of the "Captain's Log" that was unique for each site. The log was an informal means of jotting down the thoughts, both good and bad, centering around the theme of pulling SAC alerts.  Some entries were hilarious, while others were down right poetic.

So the photo in the Log was used as visual symbolism for distance traveled.  The visual of the poster portrays just that...the road to Echo was a long and weary trail that took about 2 hours to get from the base to the site.  Longer if you were unfortunate to be caught having to travel in the winter months.  The visual of the poster captured that thought beautifully. 

Basically, you can forget about UFOs and ETs as inspiration for the Log entry, but if ET had visited Echo and/or Oscar back in 1967, I would envision crew members asking the UFO commander, "Are we there yet?"    

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Discovery Channel's "Close Encounters" Salas/Oscar Flight Part 2

In my previous post regarding Discovery Channel's "Close Encounters," my main critique was that of the production of the episode's segment covering Robert Salas' experience at Oscar Flight on 24 March 1967.  I had briefly mentioned the difficulties with Salas' story, but chose not to go into depth and detail as to why his tale was incredulous on the face of it.  

Below is a reprint of a blog post of mine [2 years ago] that highlights my thoughts on the case.  If you've read it before, then forgive my repetitiveness, but I believe it important for new readers to understand my thoughts on the matter and the below article captures it in totality.  At the end of the article, I provide 7 points that cast total doubt on Salas' claims.

The Oscar Flight Mystery:  A Tree falling in the Forest

If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound?  Let's apply a variation to this old adage, if ten ICBMs fall off alert, does anyone take notice?  If we use Echo Flight's incident occurring on 16 March 1967, the answer is a resounding yes.  What of Robert Salas' claim concerning Oscar Flight back on 24 March 1967?

Let's separate Salas' claim of UFO involvement for the moment and concentrate on the claims that all ten of his ICBMs inexplicably dropped off alert (similar to Echo).   Where is the official (or, if you prefer, the unofficial) paper trail?  Echo Flight generated message traffic that was up-channeled to SAC Headquarters at Offutt AFB as well as producing an extensive engineering analysis and investigation that lasted well over a year.  Where is Oscars' analysis and message traffic?  Odd that during the initial stages of Echo's investigation, there was no mentioning of a possible event at Oscar occurring one week later.  Surely such an incident coinciding with Echo would have been mentioned in the classified unit history and the engineering report due to the enormity of the situation.  Not only would SAC and the Air Force had been dealing with a full flight shut down at Echo, but a subsequent full flight shut down involving Oscar would have been mentioned in the on-going investigation being conducted by Boeing and others.

Official National Security Agency (NSA) Archive...Minuteman ICBM History

When writing the history of the U.S.'s ICBM program, Bernard Nalty made mention of the ten ICBMs dropping off alert in Echo Flight, but made no reference to anything happening at Oscar. An oversight by Nalty?  Remember, Nalty's work was initially classified "SECRET" and according to Salas, Oscar's alleged incident was classified as well.  There seems to be some sort of disconnect here as Nalty goes into classified details surrounding the issues affecting all of SAC's Minuteman wings back in the 1967 time frame.  Why would an equally important situation affecting Oscar flight not be mentioned?

When reading Nalty's works, it became apparent to me that Malmstrom was different from an operational standpoint when compared to the other five Minuteman wings.  Malmstrom's wing was the first fielded Minuteman system.  It became the prototype for the new system, as any operational or design flaws that were readily discovered and improvements/enhancements were made at the other five missile wings.  Malmstrom's "prototype" oddity was the main reason that Echo's incident was investigated both in the field and at Boeing's facilities rather than exclusively at OOMA, Hill AFB.  Hill AFB had no Wing I (Malmstrom) test bed facility to conduct the investigation.  That's not to mean that the other Minuteman wing's didn't have their own issues, but those issues tended to be centered around the then Minuteman II missile versus that of structural and avionic support system issues.  This is an often overlooked part of the Echo and Oscar stories. 

The above touches on the official documented issues, or as in Oscar Flight's case, the lack of official documentation.  Per authors such as Robert Hastings and Robert Salas, the lack of official documentation and follow-up investigations for Oscar Flight could only mean that SAC, the Air Force, and DoD perpetrated a cover-up.  This alleged cover-up resulted in AFOSI agents debriefing Salas and Fred Meiwald and forcing both to sign a non-disclosure letter, thus securing their silence.   Yet I have to ask, securing their silence for what?  Both launch officers saw nothing other than "indications" on the launch control console ranging from a simple security zone violation at one launch facility to 2,3, or all 10 of Oscar Flight's ICBMs dropping off alert. (I've touched on this discrepancy in both Salas' and Meiwald's version of events in a previous blog post).

Some would argue that perhaps Salas and Meiwald were initially silenced for what they had heard via telephone reports from the top side flight security controller.   What did they actually hear?  As mentioned in my previous blog postings, up until 1996,  Salas was totally unaware of a UFO sighting over one of Oscar's launch facilities and Meiwald was totally unaware of Salas' received report that a UFO was observed hovering over Oscar's front gate.  Ironically, both were only separated by a mere 8 to 10 feet while all of this was occurring.

What of Oscar's flight security controller and the numerous security guards?  There is no evidence that they had signed any non-disclosure document.  The same could be said of the facility manager and cook.  The fact is that up until now, these individuals remain unnamed merely shadow figures in the story.  Surely if there was any credence to the story they would have come forward by now supporting Salas.

Eric Carlson's and Walter Figel's Opinion

Some two years ago, Eric Carlson gave an interview to Realityuncovered's Ryan Dube.  Per Eric Carlson there was no hiding the fact that an entire missile squadron had dropped off alert.

"The event at Echo became what could be referred to as the talk of the town.  Everyone knew about it and many crew members kidded me about it..."

Simply, even if SAC had wanted to hide the shutdown event, it would have been impossible to do so.  Too many people were already in the know. The old adage holds true:  "If one person knows something then it's a secret, once two people know then its no longer a secret."

Could the same be held as being true for Salas' claims for Oscar Flight?  Again, we need to go no further than the words of Eric Carlson.

"...There was never any talk, at any time, about a similar event at Oscar.  I can only conclude from that that it never happened."

...and the statements from Walter Figel to James Carlson.

"Bob Salas was never associated with any shutdown of any missiles at any time in any flight and you can take that to the bank. Just think about this for a split second. He is a person wrapped up in UFOs to the Nth degree. Yet he could not remember he was not at Echo. Then he thought he was at November – wrong again. Then he thought he was at Oscar – wrong again."

"There is no record about anything happening at November or Oscar except in people’s minds that are flawed beyond imagination. Salas has created events out of the thin air and can’t get the facts straight even then. My best friend to this day was the flight commander of the 10th SMS at the time. He and I have discussed this silly assertion in the past couple of years – he thinks it is all madeup nonsense for sure. I put both Salas and Hastings in touch with him and he has told them both that an incident at November or Oscar never happened. In addition he was subsequently stationed at Norton AFB where the engineers tested the possible problems. No little green men were responsible."

"There is no Air Force “cover-up” it just did not happen the way Salas and has portrayed the course of events..."

The statements from both Eric Carlson and Walter Figel are both telling and damaging to Robert Salas' claims.  Both men were in a position to know what would have transpired in the field.  And I suspect that there are others who were assigned to Malmstrom back in 1967 that would equally attest the same.  Robert Hastings has touted that he has interviewed over 130 former Air Force members supporting his UFO/Nukes connection, but if you take into consideration the total population of Air Force members (present/past) that supported nuclear missions then Hastings' 130-plus is reduced to an extreme fraction of a percent.  What does this say about the remaining 99.9 percent?  Are they lying or further propagating a cover-up due to their silence?

Let me provide a personal example while pulling missile alert duty back in the early 1980s.  If I were the crew commander out at Kilo Flight (squadron command post and alternate wing command post) and if November had four ICBMs drop off alert, I would have, by protocol, been notified by November's crew that they had four sorties off alert.  I would have to annotate this on a squadron status board and logged an entry into my crew log even though November's status did not directly affect Kilo.  BTW, the same holds true if an ICBM(s) had dropped off alert in the 12th SMS (clearly in the southwest region of the 341st SMW), the same holds true because I was obligated to keep track of all of the wing's missile status and concurrent launch status/capability.  Then we have personnel who were manning the wing command post and job control back at the base.  These base agencies would have been contacted and various reports up-channeled to 15th Air Force's and SACs' command posts.  Within a span of approximately 15 minuets, quite a few people were already in the know.  

Now supplement this with Salas' claim that an entire flight had dropped off alert.  Hopefully the reader sees my point.  The vast number of people involved in the up-channeling of reports makes a cover-up extremely unlikely.  That would have resulted in alot of people signing non-disclosure letters.  In Salas' case, where are these people to support an Oscar shutdown?

Possibility of a Prank? 

A while back on various on-line forums, the possibility of missile crews playing a prank on each other was discussed at length.  Most thought that the idea that serious minded missile launch crews would never stoop to this level, yet on occasion we did.  Most of the pranks were low grade intended to break up the monotony of being out on alert.  Ninety nine percent of my alert duties were sheer boredom with nothing exciting occurring other than routine missile maintenance on my sites or the occasional outer zone security violations set off by thunder storms or animals wandering onto a launch site.  The average crew demographics was that of the crew commander being 25-27 years of age and the deputy commander being 23-24 years of age.  If you combine the age group and boredom, its only natural that pranks will occur.  Go on-line to missileforums.com and type in "crew pranks" in the site's search window.  You'll find numerous examples of crew pranks.  Pranks were not limited to the launch crews as flight security controllers and top side security teams exhibited their own brand humor.

Could Salas' have been the victim of a "UFO" prank?  It's possible and below is an example of such a prank that was perpetrated back in the 1960s...at Malmstrom, of all places.

 It was likely late 1970 at a 490th SMS Dinning Out that I heard the story, A specific crew commander believed in UFOs. And when he went on alert, other crew members in the same squadron on alert at the same time called the the Flight Security Controller at the LCF and pretending to be a local farmer saying there was a glowing object of some significant size hovering over a specific Launch Facility. the FSC notifiers the LCC crew where the UFO believer is and he relates the phone call or patches him in to the caller, not sure of the details. as it is a multi-handed story embellished to make it sound better and the people telling it have had a few drinks any way. The information is relayed to wing command post and eventually SAC CP. I don't know if the flight security was dispatched our not to check the site out, they likely would have been and would have found nothing. So the story was likely spun the the object had left before the call was made to the FSC by the other crew member. Any way it was enough after the fact that the story was written up in one of the UFO magazines and the perpetrators had a big laugh over it.

A little Background about the the prior 490th Squadron Commander. He was a Full Col. who had been offered the Wing Commander Position and turned it down and he had date of rank on all wing staff. So he could get away with a lot and one one on base could touch him. Hi crews knew it and he did not let any one else mess with his crew member either. So the 490th SMS had a reputation as being a very undisciplined squadron where a lot of pranks were pulled. After the 490th Commander retired all of the operations branch officers were replaced and the new squadron commander was supposed to rain in the missile crews which happened to some extent after Gerald G. Falls became Wing Commander if the 341st Strategic Missile Wing.

So this is about as much as I can relay to you, the story was told by by inebriated personal at a squadron dining out and embellished to make it a better story so you can't put a great deal of credence in any of it. but knowing the reputation of the 490th under the form squadron commander it sounds highly likely that such a stunt would have been pulled as there were a number of tricks pulled on crew members even after that in the 490th while I was on crew between June 1970 and April 1974.

490 SMS June 1970 - June 1974
HQ SAC Command Control War Plans Computer Division - System Supervisors [We were the analyst of the SACCS]
DOD Contractor DRC Database Designer F-15 & F-16 Consolidated Data System and designed the F-117 initial database.  

The above story was provided by a former missile crew commander that goes by the moniker "Notlaw99".  If you look at the details of the prank, there are similarities to Salas' story.  So in Salas' case, the possibility of a prank cannot be totally ruled out.  Notlaw99 does provide a valid point when looking at any story told years after the fact in that the reader has to take into account that the story may have been embellished to make it sound better.


 I wanted the reader to have the opportunity to see the opinions of others as far as Robert Salas' claim of UFOs and missile dropping off alert at Oscar Flight back on 24 March 1967.   Robert Salas has viewed his position as being easily defended in a "court of law" based on the evidence at hand.  Do these claims constitute a good "case"?

1.  No mentioning of an incident at Oscar Flight in the 341st Unit History.
2.  No mentioning of an incident at Oscar Flight in the engineering and analysis report investigating Echo Flight.
3.  Bernard Nalty makes no reference to an incident at Oscar Flight.
4.  No statements supporting an incident at Oscar Flight from those individuals that were either topside at Oscar or in the field responding to a security violation.
5.  Eric Carlson and Walter Figel discount an incident at Oscar Flight.
6.  No one in the chain of command up-channeling reports to 15th AF and SAC HQ has come forward supporting an incident at Oscar Flight.
7.  Remote, but possible practical joke played on Meiwald and Salas can not be totally ruled out.

The above 7 points may be enough to rule out even a circumstantial case and cast reasonable doubt on any incident occurring at Oscar.  But in the end its up to the reader to decide one way or another and ask the all important question..."Did it really happen?"

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Discovery Channel UFO Program's Segment on Robert Salas and Oscar Flight

This past Friday, January 10th, Discovery Channel [Discovery Canada] aired its new UFO series in Canada, "Close Encounters."  The first episode had a 15 minute segment on the alleged Malmstrom AFB Oscar Flight UFO incident which highlighted Robert Salas' experience.  Leslie Kean and Kevin Randle provide commentary.  Actors were employed to re-enact the event.

I was asked by an associate to provide a critique, that is, separating fact from fiction.  The only good thing that I can say is that the quality of the program's sound was exceptional (HD). Other than that it was unsettling in so many ways.  I personally think that it would have or should have been an embarrassment even for Salas to watch.

Kean and Randle follow the well worn script.  I assumed that both were used with the attempt to provide legitimacy to the story.  I've not read any of Keene's work, but I'm aware of her views on UFOs...her reputation precedes her.  

Kevin Randle provides his thoughts for a potential  fear of a Soviet incursion into the area based on the incident happening during the height of the Cold War.  Randle's comments were curious as I recall watching a Robert Salas interview on Frank Warren's UFO Chronicles site. Salas appeared to have supported this view point as well.

The bottom line is that the Malmstrom/Oscar segment is presented as fact and well documented and investigated.  There are no opposing view points made as a counter argument, but truly that's not the purpose of the program.  

As far as the actual production, the props were horrid, reminding me of Ed Woods "Plan 9 from Outer Space".  The actual physical set up is all wrong, Launch Control Center, Topside security set up, Launch Facility, uniforms, signs,  etc.  All of those were poorly depicted as visual components supporting the story line. 

The poor visual inaccuracies can all be somewhat forgiven because its a Canadian production attempting to show a U.S military installation, but I'm a purist at heart and frankly demand a realistic set up based on the actual time period even if one is trying to spoon feed a mass population of unadulterated fantasy.

The program gives the impression that the sighting occurred on Malmstrom AFB itself, but that is not true as Oscar Flight was located well over 120 miles to the east of the base.

Of course the production staff has only 15 minutes to portray the so called event, so a lot of what Salas had written/talked about is omitted.  The end of the segment gives the impression that the AF had conducted an extensive investigation, but there is no documentation/reports that supports the conclusion.

Robert Salas and Fred Meiwald are portrayed by their names.  The security team members remain anonymous.  I wonder if Canadian viewers saw this particular fallacy and collectively asked the question: "who were these unnamed individuals, and have they ever come forward to support Salas' claim?"

There are extensive reports for Echo Flight which actually did occur a week prior to Salas' contention.  There is/was no evidence of UFO activity for Echo...rumors/pranks run amok...James Carlson's father, Eric, confirmed that the story was bogus in an interview with Ryan Dube, Realityuncovered.net.

Lastly, there is a reference made that FAA radar had captured the Oscar Flight UFO on screen. This information supposedly obtained by way of FOIA.  I've yet to come across this information as being mentioned by Salas and others.  Could the program producers have mistaken  this from a different incident?

"Close Encounters" will probably air here in the states at a later date.  All that I can say is that viewers beware.  And ask your self....Did it really happen? 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Gilles Fernandez: Adapting the Psycho/Social Model to Past AirShip Sightings

Rich Reynolds, UFO Iconoclast(s), has posted a link to Gilles Fernandez's work on adapting the psycho/social model as an explanation for the multiple of airship sightings back in the late 19th Century.  Gilles post, "Cracking the 1896/97 Airship Mystery? Toward a Psycho-Sociocultural Explanation", provides an indepth analysis of the "airship" hysteria particularly in California back in 1896 as well as other incidents."

Gilles has accomplished a marvelous piece of research.  What strikes me is that Gilles has, through the numerous actual airship designs of the period in question, clearly shown an "evolutionary" process where the human mind has been able to construct a mental visual perception of "cigar" shaped UFOs to the modern day saucer shaped phenomena.

Though this mental evolution is not the thrust of his post, it's clearly apparent.  I've long supported a psychological component to most, if not all, UFO encounters and Gilles has accomplished a great deal in further developing this model.

Gilles' site, Sceptic vs. the Flying Saucers, can be accessed here

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Tim Printy's Latest Edition of SUNlite: Venus or UFO

Tim Printy has published his latest edition of SUNlite which can be accessed here.

As we have all come to expect, Tim has provided his readers with another fine edition.  Again, Tim covers the latest in the world of UFOs and provides sorely needed context and rationale...poorly lacking in other venues in my opinion.

With no intentions of taking away from the rest of his articles in the current edition, Tim's article on Venus is a must read regardless if one is an opponent/proponent of UFOs.

Venus:  The Debunker's Myth?

This topic comes at an appropriate time as I continue looking at the Minot 1968 incident.  As most should know, Blue Book assigned a possible stellar component to their conclusions.  I had mentioned before that this past October I had attempted to observe the night sky for BB's proposed stellar culprits.  I came away with mixed results based on my geographical location and the local landscape.  I'll elaborate in a future post.   

With the above said, yes, I'm aware that Venus was not listed in BB's final conclusion, but Tim Printy's article does underscore that many observers do misidentify planets and stars as potential UFOs.  To totally discount these forms of visual perceptions as a possibility of any night time observation seriously renders any investigation as flawed on its very foundation.

BTW, for the Roswell addicts, Tim has a good read in his "Roswell Corner" discussing Tony Bragalia's alien slides fiasco.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Blog Review for 2013: A Good Year for the Site

I probably should have done this in mid to late December, but I figure early January of the new year will have to do.

There are a few of my blog post that appear to have captured a good audience and I wanted to share my thoughts concerning 2013 and "Did It Really Happen?"

The May 22, 2013, post "Where Are the Titan II UFO Stories?" generated quite a bit of interests, yet surprisingly no push back from the UFO/Nuke proponents.  The intent of the article was to call into question a subset of the UFO crowd that believe in the benevolence of UFOs/ET.  In other words, UFO activity around our nuclear sites (primarily US) indicate that there is a growing concern from our "visitors" due to the presence of nuclear weapons.

All of the past UFO stories seem to indicate a primary galactic irritant surrounding the Minuteman ICBM bases, yet there was never any documented/fabricated stories surrounding the Titan II ICBM sites.  Why was that?

It appears to me to be the example of poor logic since the Titan II system packed an enormous amount of mega-tonnage per yield and thus would have been the prime system to disrupt or interfere with...for humanities sake. 

The September 11, 2013 post "The Usefulness (or not) of UFO Witness Interviews" was another article that generated interests.  Here, I attempted to contrast past and present perceptions of memory.  Basically, it tends to be a double-edged sword.  But I don't discount what one has to say some 40 years after the fact, but one must tread cautiously when attempting the discerning of facts...subjective vs. that of the objective.  I use this concept on an every day bases in my current profession.

And lastly, the July 9, 2013 post, "A Preview of the Minot UFO Event: Oct 24, 1968."  This and a couple of companion post attempts to set the table concerning the study methodology and future presentation of the event.  This subject is still on-going and I hope to present it in stages very soon.

Over all, 2013 was a good year for the blog and viewership.  Hits on the site pretty much doubled with an appreciable return viewership.  True some did access the site accidentally, but hopefully they would have found the site interesting, if not bizarre enough to garner a future peek.   UFO sites, skeptical and believer, tend to be seen as a traveling road show.