Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Addendum #2: Too Much Focus on Nov. Flt and Ignoring Oscar Flt?

Last week, Tom Tulien and I had been exchanging emails and there appears to be this underlying idea that I'm deliberately holding off on posting about the observations of William Smith who was assigned to Oscar Flight and was the FSC on duty during the morning hours of 24 October.

Too much focus on the November security personnel and maintenance team near/on N-07 at the expense of Smith's observations at Oscar?  That appears to be the case, albeit quietly from Tom.

So I'll try this once again.  True, Tom Tulien is correct that Smith's AF-117 lists his observations as starting at 0230 in the morning while he was manning the FSC's office at Oscar which puts his sightings at 30 minutes before the reported times of the November security personnel, listed at 0308.  Oscar is 20-some miles NE of N-07.  I'm not ignoring Smith's observations, but following along with what was first reported to Blue Book.

The story begins with the maintenance team traveling to N-07...and the times listed for the observations of O'Connor and Isley are somewhat earlier than Smith's from a timeline prospective, 0230 and 0030 respectively.

From the Wing Security Control summary:

"At 0308 hours the initial report was received from a maintenance team enroute from Nov-8 to Nov-7..." [This would have been when the team arrived at N-07 and contacted Bond.]  Despite Smith's 0230 initial observation time as listed on his AF-117, the WSC summary lists his time as 0320.  Was this in error?  Or does this reflect the correct time for Smith?

From the Base Operations log:

"0800.  Object 8/E of N-7 moving toward site with brillant light like sun...[Supposed description of maintenance team and/or security team in the November area.]

There is no mentioning of Smith other than a section in the WSC summary stating that Smith saw the object split into two separate objects, which is incorrect because Smith never stated so in his AF-117.  That does not negate anything that Smith has to say in regards to his AF-117 as his observations may play an important role as to the involvement, if any, of the camper team that was posted on 0-6 or the topside intrusion on 0-7.  This will be covered in a separate blog post.

This is why I started off by looking at November flight, because the story starts there, not Oscar. The eventual arrival of the B-52 was precipitated by the maintenance team's observations and the subsequent November security team's observation, not what Smith at Oscar observed.

Smith may well represent a secondary story, but just as interesting as that of November flight. Tom Tulien believes that Smith's observations correlate to a separate UFO incursion over or near 0-6 and that the camper team [providing security for a combat targeting team on site] saw a UFO near their location.  Interesting theory, but there are problems associated with this scenario as there is no documentation/evidence that puts such a team on 0-6 other than the camper team providing site security due to a faulty security zone reset.  But, this will all be discussed in a separate posting....patience is a virtue.

Question to ponder:  Suppose Isley and O'Connor never saw anything to report, but Smith still reported his observations from Oscar.  Would the B-52 crew have been asked to look for a possible UFO in the Oscar flight area base upon Smith's observations?  Would Smith's observations been sent to PBB for analysis? 

Again, the story originates with November flight...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Addendum: Is N-07 directly south of N-01?

After posting the previous post concerning the observations of SSgt James Bone, the November Flight Security Controller (FSC), Tom Tulien provided comment on my #7 conclusion element.  I wrote, "7.  Though he wrote in his AF-117 that the distance of the light was 10-12 miles away from his location, I have a certain degree of difficulty as to how he could have made this based on a night time observation...why not 15, 20 or 25 miles away?  The 10-12 mile distance would have put the UFO near or directly over N-07, but Bond could not observe anything SW of his location and N-07 was SW of N-01."

Tom commented, "FYI: N-7 is directly SOUTH of N-1 by about 10 miles:

And for the longest time, I had assumed that this was so, based on the Off-Base Disaster Control Grid Map that Tom had provided for his site, minotb52ufo.com.  If you look at the map, it certainly gives the impression that N-07 is directly due south of N-01 and N-07 is right next, somewhat north of Grano, ND.

I, by accident, discovered that this was not quite so.  While using Google Earth, I had noticed that N-07 was some distance outside of Grano and not simply parked next the the small farming community.  I also noticed that following due north from N-07, I was not finding N-01.  I did eventually find the LCF after following HWY 5 going east.  Without really thinking about it, I assumed that N-07 was somewhat SW of N-01 and I had forgotten that the map on Tom's site had both sites on a simple north-south axis.  Honestly, I was confused by Tom's comment.

Going back to Google Earth, I obtained the longitude and latitudes of both sites:

N-01:  lat 48 45' 34.81" N   Long 101 35' 31.21" W

N-07:  lat 48 37' 20.47" N   Long 101 36' 7.31" W

When you look at both coordinates, it appears to be no big deal...pretty close match up, but when you do a distance calculation, you find that there is a difference of 770 yards...almost a half of a mile!  Then one comes to the conclusion that N-07 is actually SSW of N-01 by about a half mile.

The map shown on Tulien's site is not accurate.  The actual location of N-01 should have been moved a half mile to the east on hwy 5. This is not Tom's fault as he provided only what was supposed to be an official map for Minot AFB disaster control and preparedness coordination.

In around about way, this is why I felt that Bond would have had a difficult, if not impossible, means of observing directly over the N-07 area based on his physical location manning the FSC's post at the LCF.  This would also have made it impossible for him to look towards the SW direction of Mike flight as he stated he did in his interview with Tulien.

Despite the above, I believe that Bond did leave his post at some time to either go outside and gaze either along the southern perimeter fence or along the western perimeter fence.  This would have given him the visual vantage points for his observations as stated in his AF-117 and interview with Tulien.

Or, Bond merely had to walk down a hall way in the LCF and looked out a door way located at end of building, thus having a clear view showing S, SE and SW.  But, this is speculation on my part as Bond has never given any indication that he actually did the above.

Clear cut UFO case?  I've only scratched the surface and already confusion and uncertainty abounds.  Hopefully, Adams and Jablonski will help clear some of this up in my next post.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Minot AFB 1968 UFO Incident: The November Flight Security Controller, Part 3

The previous blog post covered the visual observations of the missile maintenance team during the early morning hours of 24 October 1968. Whether O'Connor and Isley had contacted other base agencies first may be accurate or not, but eventually they would have been in contact with the November Flight Security Controller (FSC), SSgt James Bond.  SSgt Bond would complete an AF-117 describing his observations.  This blog post will look at both his AF-117 and subsequent interview conducted by UFO researcher Thomas Tulien.

Tom Tulien, provided a comment in the previous post questioning if I thought William Smith's observation was not relevant to this case.  Smith was the FSC on duty at Oscar flight and provided an AF-117 based on his personal observations and has inputs into the camper team at O-06 and the intrusion on O-7.  Smith is relevant to the case in various ways and deserves a separate blog posting which will follow later in this series.  I touched on Smith briefly in the first post noting that his observation, per AF-117 occurred earlier than the others, yet I personally decided to start off with the official time lines.  Smith shall not be left out of the mix.

SSgt James Bond AF-117, completed 26 October 1968.  Here

SSgt Bond's AF-117 listed his initial observation as 0308 with his last being at 0500.  As stated in the previous blog posting,  the Wing Security Control summary lists the 0308 time and it can be assume that this was the time that the maintenance team had arrived at N-07 making radio contact with Bond announcing their arrival at the site and the relaying of their observation of the light/object in question.

Sect. 6, Bond annotates that the light was first observed to be SSE 15 degrees above the horizon.  The last observed position was less than 10 degrees above the horizon SW of his location at N-01.  He states that he did not notice any aircraft in the vicinity.

Sect. 9, the observation lasted 2 hours and 26 minutes as he was certain based on the use of an 8 day clock.  What drew his attention to the light was the movement of the phenomena.

Sect 10, Bond drew a diagram showing the possibility of two objects sighted.  The second object in question was only visible for approximately 3 minutes.

Sect 11, the night was clear with a few stars visible and the only major source of light was the town of Mohall, ND which was approximately 4 miles east of his location.

Sect 12,  the object appeared to be a light, but shape could not be determined.  It appeared to be self luminous and solid.  It's edges were "fuzzy" and only appeared as a point of light.

Sect 14, Bond writes that his initial attention to the phenomena came about by his being notified by maintenance team at a launch facility [N-07].  The object disappeared  by appearing to land slowly changing color to a dim green.  After about 15 minutes it gradually disappeared from his sight.

Sect 15, no actual shape could be seen, or made out but it moved in a direction similar to what was described by the diagram drawn in O'Connor's AF-117.

Sect 18,19, The distance of the object was 10-12 miles from his location on N-01.

Sect 20, the object appeared about the same as landing lights on an aircraft.  A B-52 was diverted to the area and the aircraft could be identified by it's flashing red lights.  The object acted like a helicopter in flight.

Sect 21, the object made no noise.

Sect 22,23, Bond writes that he had seen something similar off the coast of Alaska (1956) and when he was on Okinawa (1965).   AICs Adams and Jablonski were with Bond at the time of his observation.

Sect 25, Bond reported his sighting to Ssgt(s) Underhill and Neal at Wing Security Control on 24 October. 

James Bond interview with Thomas Tulien 26 Feb 2005 here

Note to Reader:  Like I did for Isley and O'Connor, I provide the majority of the interview content in the order that is read in the actual interview.  This accounts for redundant answers and somewhat out of order content.  Some parts I've omitted because my focus is mainly on the actual observations that is relevant to the observers geographical location.  I highly encourage all to access Tom Tulien's site and read the interviews in detail.

Bond tells Tulien that when he was making his reports that he was talking to the capsule crew [launch crew] who were relaying information to him.

He claims that there were no stars visible. (pg 8)

When asked how he was notified, Bond states that the capsule crew had called him and asked if he seen anything out of the ordinary.  The crew directed Bond to look towards Mike Flight [SW of N-01].  At that time he did not see anything.  After turning off  the lights [facility lights or lights in his office?] he saw something and contacted the launch crew. (pg 15)

Bond gives the impression that the launch crew may have been in contact with either the maintenance team or other base agencies.  Per his recollection, he thought that the(a) team was attempting to do a "reprogramming", yet this he is uncertain whether it was in his flight as this could have been associated with another flight such as Mike or Lima. (pg 15) 

The launch crew notified Bond that a B-52 would overfly the area and that the crew was in direct contact with the aircrew and knew of the radio outage. (pg 15)

Bond saw the object while in the FSC's office and that he never left his post.  The primary security response team was off of the LCF for some unknown reason, but he had raised them by radio with the purpose to send them towards N-07. (pg 16)  Bonds was in contact with Wing Security Control (WSC) not base operations. (pg 17)  He never saw the B-52, but was only aware that it would be in the flight area due to the launch crew telling him so.  Bond believes that the maintenance team was the source of the information given to the launch crew who then relayed this information to him.

As far as his visual observation, he saw the object low over the horizon.  It was pretty much in view for most of the time. (pg 17)  Though Bond was made aware that a B-52 was being diverted to his flight area, he never saw the aircraft.  He was unable to make out N-07 even with it's site lights on, a distance of approximately 10 miles south of his location. (pg 18)

As far as the Wing Security Control logs mentioning that the object flew around the hardened antenna at N-01, Bond denies this as he states that at no time did the object overfly N-01. Tulien follows-up that Bond never wrote this in his AF-117 either. [Hardened HF antenna was a series of multiple antennas that could be erected during a post-nuclear attack, if memory serves me correct, there were 6 antenna mast underground, with one erect for day to day operations. With the exception of the squadron command posts, all other LCCs had HF receive capability only.  The squadron command posts had a soft HF antenna that allowed for HF transmission...Tim Hebert] (pg 19, 20)

Bond reiterates that he sent the security response team to N-07 to meet with the maintenance team and did not have them out in the field chasing the UFO.  He had the secondary security response team still on the LCF, but would not have sent them out. [This team would have been in rest status and only used if the primary team was engaged for a prolong period of time] (pg 20)  He again states that the capsule crew contacted him about the maintenance team which apparently was frightened and that Bond should send out the security response team to provide security. (pg 21)

Bond compares W. Smith's AF-117 or WSC log versus his AF-117 and states that he never saw the object split into two separate objects.  When shown his AF-117 comments which gives the impression that it did split into two objects, Bond believes that he was probably seeing the B-52 in the area as both were two different types of lights. (pg 21)

As far as filling out a report and/or completing his AF-117, he may have done this either the next day or a day later.  He stated that he did not remember if the facility manager or cook was there when he completed his report. [Bond completed the form 26 Oct 68]

Finally Bond believes that with the radar scope photos captured by the B-52 demonstrates that this could not be a star.  As far as plasma being observed in the area from he and others, Bond felt that this would have been readily noticeable with his combat crew going "bananas." (pg 22)

Personal impressions of Bond's AF-117 and interview

First of all Bond's AF-117 is important for establishing a high probability that O'Connor and/or Isley had contacted him when both men reached the gates of N-07 radioing permission to access the site.  I can assume that this is where Bond hears of the reported sightings.  

Another scenario, could be that the team radioed their arrival and then made access to the Soft Support Building, authenticated with the launch crew and then proceeded to tell the crew of their observations.  This possibility would support Bond's description given to Tulien in his interview that the launch crew informed him of the UFO sightings. Then the question should be asked why did the team not tell Bond when conversing with him on the radio as this would seem more logical. If the team had contacted the launch crew via VHF radio then surely Bond would have over heard the conversation.

In his interview, Bond states that there were no stars, yet in his AF-117, he stated that the sky was clear.  Remember, the official weather reports listed that there were hazy skies.  This is the same discrepancies seen with Isley and O'Connor.

In his AF-117, he writes, "The object appeared about the same as landing lights on an aircraft. A B-52 was diverted to the area...except for flashing red lights on the B-52.  Object acted like a helicopter."  This conforms to his later interview where he saw two lights at one time and believed that one was the B-52.

What is interesting is that Bond stated in his interview that the security response team, Adams and Jablonski were off of the LCF for some unknown reason and that he had radioed them to meet with the maintenance team at N-07.  This is not supported in his AF-117 as he indicates that both men were with him at N-01, and as I'll later show you, Jablonski states that he was actually on N-01 when the reports first started coming in from the maintenance team.

Regardless of the initial where abouts of Adams and Jablonski, it would have been the launch crew's discretion for having Bond dispatch the security team to N-07 due to the crew having command for the security for their flight area.  Though its not mentioned in Bond's interview, it may well be that the launch crew felt it necessary for a low grade security situation to be called that resulted in sending the security response team to N-07.

As far as the issue of a UFO overflying N-01 near the hardened HF antenna, Bond's AF-117 never mentioned this nor does he agree with this episode in his interview.  How and why this was mentioned in the WSC log remain a mystery to me and calls into question the accuracy of the WSC summary.  As I had already mentioned, the hardened HF antenna was a series of multiple antennas that could be erected during a post-nuclear attack environment should any one antenna be damaged, if memory serves me correct, there were 6 antenna mast underground, with one erect for day to day operations. With the exception of the squadron command posts, all other LCCs had HF radio receive capability only.  The squadron command posts had a soft HF antenna that allowed for HF radio transmission. 

What were SSgt Bond's viewing vantage points?

November-01 Launch Control Center, Minot AFB, ND in a north-south axis.  Long building on left is LCF with FSC's office located top right side (bay design).  Vehicle warm storage garage and equipment support buildings across from LCF.  Note:  circular concrete pad lower right near perimeter fence is the HF hardened antenna.  Above the hardened antenna is the UHF radio antenna (cone shape).

I've provided a photo of N-01 from Google Earth.  The LCF is correctly shown in it's true north-south axis where the top of the photo is north and the bottom is south.  Of special note is the location of the FSC's office area which is located at the top right side of the long building.  The FSC had standard windows design mainly to watch for approaching vehicles coming down the access road to the sites entry gates.  He also had a window which allowed him to see some what to the east, but the vehicle warm storage garage limited his view.  He would have only had a limited view to the south of the facility.  Basically he had a view due north panning to the south. He would not have had any view SW to NW of his location.

                                    B                                                                              A

I've somewhat crudely annotated the first and last observed points of the object as per Bond's AF-117.  "A" is the first point of observation being SSE of the launch control facility.  "B" is the last point of Bond's observation being SW of the facility.

If the above is even remotely accurate, then Bond has a problem.  True he could see something to the SSE, but there is no possible way that he could see anything in the SW direction. According to Bond, he never left his post in the FSC's office and to make matters interesting he had no direct line of sight to the area of N-07 or the Mike flight area which both were SW of N-01.  If he never left his post and per his interview statements he could have never complied with the launch crew's request to look towards Mike flight [SW] for anything strange and unusual. This could mean that a portion of his AF-117 may have been in error as he was in no physical position to see anything beyond a south to north axis.

It is possible that Bond had either Jablonski or Adams take his place in the FSC's office and then left his post to go outside and look to the SW? [this would have been permissible]  Though Bond tells Tulien that he never left his post and Jablonski and Adams were off of the LCF, I'll show in the next blog post that based  on Jablonski's and Adams' AF-117 that this scenario was possible. 

One can make the argument that Bond last saw the object at 0500 in the SW if he had been relieved by the second FSC and then went outside to the south perimeter fence, but he never stated this, but it's a possibility.  Yet despite that, according to both members of the maintenance team, the object in question disappeared when the B-52 arrived on the seen at around 0330.  What was Bond seeing at 0500, if anything?

Since "A" was listed as approximately 15 degrees above the horizon and "B" 10 degrees above the horizon is it plausible that "A" is Sirius some 28 degrees above the horizon?  This could be possible if the maintenance team had provided Bond the direction to look towards as he would have then seen what O'Connor and Isley was observing...Sirius.  To Bond, the object only looked like a "point of light." some 10 to 12 miles in a southerly direction.  How could he judge distance in the dead of night?   At 0500, Rigel would have been SSW, 35 degrees above the horizon.  Could Rigel had been the object, a point of light, viewed by Bond?


Based on the inherent nature of poor recall of a 40 year old experience,  I have to go by Bond's AF-117 since it was completed 2 days after the incident and the particulars were still fresh in his mind at the time of completion of the form.  With that in mind I offer the following as possibilities concerning SSgt Bond.

1.  He was probably contacted by the maintenance team around 0300 while processing them on to N-07.  Sect 14 of his AF-117, he wrote that what drew his attention to the object was that he was first called by a maintenance team at a launch facility.  It is from here that conversations would have passed between Bond and the launch crew.

2.  Bond only describes a light whose shape could not be determined...appeared as a point of light.  Bond provided no details that would have described the light as being unusually large in size.

3.  He further described the light as appearing as landing lights of an aircraft.  He was aware that the B-52 would be in his flight area and would later state that he thought when the object split into two objects one was the B-52.

4.  The security response team was with Bond during his initial observation, not off site, and this is so stated in his AF-117.  Based on protocol, it is probable that after talking with the maintenance team via SIN line that the launch crew directed Bond to dispatch the security team to N-07.

5.  Based on the LCF's north-south orientation, Bond's observational vantage point was limited as he only had a view starting from north panning east and finally only portions of due south. His initial observation of the object in the SSE is credible, but his final observation of the object SW of his location is highly questionable [depending only if Bond had left his post].

6.  Sirius was located in the SE of the sky.  This makes the stellar component a viable possibility.  O'Connor and/or Isley more than likely directed Bond where to look in the SE. Bond would have then observed the same source of light as that of the maintenance team.

7.  Though he wrote in his AF-117 that the distance of the light was 10-12 miles away from his location, I have a certain degree of difficulty as to how he could have made this based on a night time observation...why not 15, 20 or 25 miles away?  The 10-12 mile distance would have put the UFO near or directly over N-07, but Bond could not observe anything SW of his location and N-07 was SW of N-01.

I personally believe that SSgt James Bond observed something and that his AF-117 and subsequent interview with Thomas Tulien reflect that he was truthful to the best of his knowledge/memory, but understanding what he actually saw is a difficult matter.  The disconnects between his AF-117 and his 40 year recall present no problems to me, but merely underscore the challenges when one tries to reconcile the differences between the two.

Back when I was pulling alerts, I would have had no problem with James Bond as my FSC...   

Up next, A1Cs Adams and Jablonski...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Minot AFB UFO Incident 1968: Ground Observations by Missile Maintenance Team Part 2

This interesting UFO case, which I present for consideration, occurred some 30 miles northwest of Minot AFB approximately 45 years ago.  The area of observation would have been in the November and Oscar flight areas of the 742nd Strategic Missile Squadron, one of the three operational squadrons that made up the 91st Strategic Missile Wing.  The 91st SMW had at that time the Minuteman IB ICBM.  Also playing an important part of this UFO incident was a B-52 aircraft of the 5th Bomb Wing.  So with that said, on to the story...

The Origins of a UFO Sighting

During the early morning hours on 24 October 1968, a missile maintenance team was traveling south of November-01 (launch control facility) heading to the launch facility N-07, near Grano, ND, to perform work on the site when both individuals had initially sighted a bright object in the sky east of their location.  The team consisted of A1C Robert O'Connor, team chief, and A1C Lloyd Isley. Based on both member's AF-117s, the initial observation occurred approximately half-way between N-01 (LCF) and N-07 some 5 miles in distance.

There is a bit of confusion and disagreement, based on later interviews, as to whether O'Connor/Isley were the first individuals to see and report the observed object.  Years later, Oscar Flight's FSC, William Smith would tell UFO researchers Tom Tulien and Jim Klotz that a Camper Alert Team located on O-06 reported lights in the sky south of their location approximately at 0230.  Despite Smith's claim, there is no documentation that LtCol Werlich had interviewed the CAT members and/or had them complete an AF-117. [Smith's claim appears to have some credibility due to the Wing Security Control summary of events list O-06 as having a CAT on site of 24 Oct...Tim Hebert]

With the above being said, most documents show O'Connor and Isley as being the first ground observers and it seems logical to review their completed AF-117s first.  Below is a segment from an apparent summary from Wing Security Control log, undated, which sets the time for the first reported observation:

At 0308 hours the initial report was received from a maintenance team enroute from Nov-8 to Nov-7.  An A1C O'Connor was the maintenance Team Chief and he stated that all members of the team observed the lighted object.  They further stated that it was reddish orange in color, a very large object, with flashing green and white lights.  After they entered N-7 LF the object came directly over head with the sound of jet engines...

And from the Base Operation's log [undated]:

0800.  [0300 local time] Object 8/E of N-7 moving toward site with brillant light like the sun...

Taking the WSC and Base Operations information together, the time period that O'Connor/Isley radioed their initial report would have been between 0300 an 0308.  There appears to be some degree of confusion as to whether the team had stopped first at the LCF for gas and provisions and/or had stopped and performed work on N-08 prior to their arrival at N-07. Though this may not seem relevant to the actual observations, it may help to explain some of the various discrepancies associated with the time of first observations listed on the AF-117s.

N-07 near Grano, ND in a North-South orientation

Robert O'Connor's AF-117 completed 28 October 1968

O'Connor AF-117 writes that his first observation of the object in question was at 0230 and lasted until 0345.  The date of the actual observation is entered as 23 October vs. that of 24 October and further the time is "check" as pm vs that of am.

The object was first sited at 0230 when O'Connor was approximately 5 miles north of N-07.  He had stopped his vehicle to observe the phenomena, but it's not certain how long that he and Isley had stayed at a standstill while initially making their observation.  Per O'Connor's AF-117, he had contacted the N-01 FSC [SSgt James Bond] and according to other documentation this would have been around 0308.  The question remains if the initial call made to the FSC occurred when enroute to N-07, or when O'Connor was at the launch facility's gate. [per protocol/procedures any team arriving at a launch facility was required to contact the FSC to announce their arrival and provide a valid call sign and trip-number.  The FSC would contact the launch crew with this information and the team would be processed onto the site culminating with the team properly authenticating their identification with the launch crew.]

Sect. 6 shows only "B" plotted [last observed] showing the object to have been last observed approximately 15 degrees above the horizon.  O'Connor provided no "A" plot [first observed]. The same is noticed for Sect. 6a where only "B" is plotted at ESE with no corresponding "A" plotted, and Sect 7 plotting "B" only location of the object setting at O'Connor's 11 o'clock position in the sky relative to his facing a southerly direction.  Again, no "A" is plotted for a beginning observation.  Based on the above, it would appear that O'Connor was observing a stationary object, yet the rest of his AF-117 content shows that the object(s) in question was not stationary at all based on his perception.

Sect. 8  shows that O'Connor was moving south in his vehicle at 35 mph and had stopped to observe the object, "The object seemed to be observing us.  When we stopped the object seemed to hover or stop..."   The object made numerous movements, but it's not clear that this was being observed at the initial observation point or from the vantage point while on N-07.

Sect 10 details that more than one object was observed while O'Connor was on N-07.  One object was SE of N-07 and the other was SW.  O'Connor is aware that a B-52 was in the area and was generally west of the object in question.  He listed the observation conditions as partly cloudy, nimbus clouds, a few stars visible and no moon.

Sect 12 describes the appearance of the object, "The object appeared self-luminous like a big ball of white light that seemed to change to a dim green light then later to a dim amber color. The object seemed to take on the appearance of a sting ray fish."  Yet further on in Sect 15, O'Connor could not make out the shape of the object, "I was unable to make out any definite shape because the object put out such a bright light."  O'Connor described the object as making the noise of that like a jet engine, but lower in pitch.

Sect 14, O'Connor writes that what drew his attention to it, "The fact that it was bigger than the two farm yard light which appeared at a distance.  Further in sect 20, he writes, "When the object was first sighted it appeared to be in between two farmers yard lights which were a little smaller than the object..."

Tom Tulien's interview with Robert O'Connor, 23 Feb 2005, here 

O'Connor provides reflections and perceptions to Tom Tulien.  O'Connor states that he and Isley did not stop at N-01 to see the FSC, but went straight to the missile site [N-07].  he saw a light rise up and it started paralleling his truck as they were traveling down the road [heading in a southerly direction].  He had assumed it was a yard light. (pg 6)

When asked if the light was down near, right at the horizon, O'Connor gives the impression that it was almost on the ground, 30 to 40 feet, a normal height that illinunated the ground.  The light picked up and started following them down the road.  The light was seen off to their left and it appears to be following them.  Either O'Connor or Isley calls the LCF on their radio. (pg 7)

O'Connor thought the sighting duration lasted over an hour.  He watched the light/object move around and change colors.  The light/object did not come up close to them...it appeared to just hover.  He could not see a shape other than the light that appeared to be glowing.  The light appeared white, like an yard light, then changed to green. to amber, and then to red. (pg 7,8) 

Again, the light appeared to just hover above the ground and made no noise.  O'Connor estimated that the object was 300 to 400 yards away.  It's size appeared as big as that of a B-52, yet he could not make out the whole object.  There were no marker lights [as that of an aircraft] and he could make out the lights, strobes and noise of the B-52 when it had flew over the area. (pg 8)

O'Connor and Isley were out at the site [N-07] for about 30 minutes before the security team had arrived from N-01.  While waiting for the security team, O'Connor had observed that the object was not really in the sky, but in the tree line.  It appeared low, 50-60 feet in the air, about eye level, making circular movements, hovering, changing colors and brightness.  The light never completely went out.  The object disappeared when the B-52 over flew the area.  Once the security team had arrived all of them stayed outside the perimeter of the launch facility watching the object.  Both teams left their vehicles outside of the launch facility. (pg 9,11)

Concerning the arrival of the B-52, O'Connor states that he was not notified that the B-52 would be overflying the area; he just happen to see it coming into the area.  He was able to identify the aircraft by maker lights, engine noise and body of the aircraft. (pg 12)

O'Connor had the opportunity to talk with the B-52's pilot the next day.  During this meeting at the Base Commander's office, he learned that the aircraft's crew had lost radio contact and that their engines had shut down for a few seconds.  He further learned that the UFO had paced the aircraft. (pg 12)

The next morning back at the base, O'Connor states that he received a call to meet at the Base Commander's office.  There, he was asked to write down the events of the night.  He recalls that there were 5 to 7 other people believing that LtCol Werlich, the B-52 pilot, and possibly another crew member.  He was put in a room and told to "read form, fill it out." (pg 15,16)

O'Connor appears to dispute the date of his AF-117.  He believes that he had actually filled it out on the 24th of October, not the 28 October as written on his AF-117.  Further, he does not recognize the writing on the the AF-117 as his. (pg 16)   

Towards the end of the interview, Tom Tulien brings up the fact that O'Connor's recall of the event, is different from that of his actual AF-117.  O'Connor believes that the listed time of his contact with the N-01 FSC [SSgt Bond] is correct as to that would have been the time that he and Isley would have arrived at N-07.  He does not recall that he had described the object as the shape of a "stingray."  He claims that he never did stop the truck to observe the object/light on his way to N-07.  O'Connor is certain that two F-106 interceptors were scrambled prior to the arrival of the B-52.  (pg 19-21)

Lloyd Isley's AF-117 completed 28 Oct 1968

Based on his AF-117, Isley wrote that the duration of the sighting lasted from 0030 to 0430, approximately 4 hours.  He was traveling south from N-01 to N-07 on a gravel road about 5 miles north of N-07 when he first observed the light/object.

Sect 6 shows that "A" was plotted approximately 47 degrees above the horizon due east for the initial observation.  "B" was plotted slightly below 15 degrees above the horizon southeast for the last observation.

Sect 8 describes that he and O'Connor were in vehicle traveling south at 30 mph.  They stopped the vehicle.  Both individuals also observed the object from the missile site [N-07].

"We also observed the object from out side of the vehicle...drove pickup on gravel road, flat terrain...no traffic on road...a B-52 was in the same area as the object, just before the object left our view."

Sect 9 describes the duration of the sighting as lasting 3 and half to 4 hours.  Isley was fairly certain of the time which he had determined based on the amount of time his team spent on N-07.  Isley wrote that the object was not seen continuously but went out of sight a few times and then would reappear.

Sect 10, Isley writes that at one time there were two objects in the area (see diagram on AF-117).

Sect 11, the night was clear with few stars.

Sect 12, 13-20, The object had lights on the front like head lights or landing lights.  It had green flashing light toward middle or rear.  Isley could not ascertain any shape or size.  The light did not change colors.  He estimated the angular size as that of a KC-135, but could only tell by the lights on the object.  He estimated the speed of the object as "slow" and at a distance of 2 miles.  Isley provided no description as to any noise coming from the object.

Sect 25, Isley writes that he and/or O'Connor reported to the N-01 FSC and Base Operations.

Sect 27, Isley writes the following:

"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 the outside of the truck.  It was moving in a large circular area to the south.  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 wen low and out of sight. [Isley drew a diagram that shows the object moving in a counter clockwise oval shaped orbit south of N-07.]

Jim Klotz and Tom Tulien interview with Lloyd Isley, 23 Aug 2001, here.

Per Lloyd Isley, "It was a unique event, but I've probably had a different impression of it at the time and now as to what it was.  It probably differs from what O'Connor thinks happened, for sure...He saw it different than I did at the time. (pg 5)

Isley could not recall what launch facility they were heading to [Tulien showed him documents listing N-07] and did not recall if they had stopped at N-01.  Both men were driving south, the light seen to their left, to the east, about a height of a farm house light.  They had called the Transportation Control Center (TCC) and/or Job Control to ask if a helicopter was in the area. (pg 7)

The light was pacing the vehicle, observed to be a little above the horizon.  It was hard to determine how far away, though it seemed to be staying with them.  Isley did not recall stopping the vehicle, but admits that it was possible.  TCC patched the team into Base Operations.  Both men stayed outside the launch facility for awhile watching the light.  Isley was asked if the size of the object/light was big, "No, it wasn't any bigger...made noise as if moving through the air. The light didn't seem as bright when they were on the site.  The launch facility site lights were on. (pg 8)

Isley saw the light for a couple of hours.  He disagreed with O'Connor's time of first observation at 0230, yet cannot say for sure that his listed time of 0030 was correct as he agrees that his stated timeline in his AF-117 does not make sense.  He was aware of the B-52 in the area and that the light disappeared about the time that the B-52 had arrived in the area.  Unlike O'Connor, Isley did not recall that interceptors were flying over the area. (pg 10-14)

Isley recalls filling out an AF-117, possibly the next day but could remember the actual date. He stated that he was not coached when filling out his form, but was only helped with ascertaining angles and distance.  He did not recall being with O'Connor when filling out the AF-117, yet this may have occurred.  He did not recall meeting the B-52 pilot, but he states that he was told that the B-52 had picked up a radar return.  Unlike O'Connor who believed that he saw an object that had changed colors, Isley only saw a white light that did not change colors. (pg 15-17)

Personal notes and observations

Project Blue Book's final analysis and conclusion stated that the ground observations appeared to be influenced by both the star Sirius and the presence of the B-52.  Is this a plausible conclusion based on the written observations of O'Connor and Isley?  I'll ask the same question regarding the other observers in later posts, but will focus for now on O'Connor/Isley.

There are obvious discrepancies concerning the initial time of sightings.  O'Connor's wrote 0230 versus that of Isley's 0030.  I'm more apt at agreeing that O'Connor may be more accurate.  The 0230 initial sighting would take into account that the maintenance team would have stopped their vehicle mid-way to N-07 to observe the light/object and still account for any contact with Transportation Control Center and/or Job Control to query if any helicopters were flying that night.

The Wing Security Control log/summary may be correct as far as the N-01 FSC (SSgt Bond) noted time of observation occurring at 0308.  This could be explained based on procedural methodology for any team attempting to gain access to any launch facility.  O'Connor/Isley would have arrived at N-07 and contacted the FSC via VHF radio providing the team's trip number, call sign (if any), and the names of the individuals on the team.  The FSC would verify this information via his dispatch records and then notified the launch crew.  The launch crew would have verified the dispatch with their records.  In other words, O'Connor/Isley scheduled arrival was already anticipated well in advanced...prior to them leaving the base.

Once the dispatch information was verified by the launch crew, the maintenance team would have been allowed to enter the site and break the Outer Zone perimeter security system.  The team would then enter the Soft Support Building and contact the crew via SIN line and go through the authentication process via encrypted coding.  It would have been the first radio contact with the FSC, approximately 0300, that the team would have reported their observation to the N-01 FSC, thus securing some degree of credibility to the "official" reporting time of 0308 for both the maintenance team and the N-01 on-duty security team.  [SSgt Bond and the N-01 security response teams AF-117s will be looked at in a separate blog post.]

When comparing both O'Connor's and Isley's AF-117 I'm left with the following impressions:

1.  Isley appears to be more attentive to details concerning the observation.  Both he and O'Connor are together either in the vehicle or on N-07, yet both describe a somewhat different observational point of view.  One swears that F-106 interceptors over flew the area prior to the arrival of the b-52, the other denies this.

2.  The light/object was initially sighted due East and last seen roughly in the SE.  So basically, the phenomena would have moved East to SE over a 3 to 4 hour period of time.  I compared this information with a star chart and found that at 0030 for 24 October, Sirius would have been exactly due East of the maintenance teams location at 28 degrees above the horizon, as well as, Rigel being approximately ESE of their location 35 degrees above the horizon.  By 0430, Sirius would be located SE of the maintenance teams observational vantage point 24 degrees above the horizon and Rigel still 35 degrees above the horizon.  Per both men's AF-117s, the night was either clear or partly cloudy with a few stars in view.  What may be of some interest is that Procyon was located in the SE 30 degrees above the horizon, but would have appeared noticeably above Sirius.  Rigel would have been SSW. Based on this data it would appear that from a stellar standpoint, Project Blue Book's conclusion may be plausible.

3.  Isley believed that there were two objects in the area while on N-07.  The first object appeared to be SE of the site and the second appeared SW of the site.  O'Connor never clearly stated the above for his own observation.  Again, from a stellar possibility, Sirius and Rigel would seem to conform to Isley's observation.

4.  Both individuals were aware that a B-52 was sent to their area.  Both described the light/object in similar terms and traits to that of the B-52 flying near or over head of their location.  They describe the object as having landing lights, strobe-like lights and making the noise like that of a jet engine.  Curiously, O'Connor describes the appearance of a "stingray" form, but then wrote that he could not make out a definite shape.  Isley has contended that he could not see a structured object, but only a light.  Both men cannot provide a definitive shape, but agree that it's size is that of a KC-135.  This gives me the impression that both men may well be confusing the B-52 with the initial object first observed.

5.  Going back to the interviews conducted by Tom Tulien and Jim Klotz, both O'Connor and Isley leaves me with the impression that the initial observation was not as dramatic in the size of the object/light as listed on the AF-117s.  Both men describe a light similar to that of one seen around the various farm yards in the area.  O'Connor initially assumed it to be a yard light, almost on the ground at normal height.  Isley told Tulien and Klotz that the light seen was the height of a farm house light.

6.  Isley describes a race track-like movement pattern south of N-07.  What is interesting to note is that the B-52 flew a similar route south of N-07 with one of it's passes.  Isley and O'Connor's impressions have marked difference from an observational point of view.  Both were together for 2-4 hours yet saw things very differently.  

When taking the above 6 points into account, it leads me to believe that the initial observation may well have been a stellar component (Sirius, Rigel, and maybe Procyon).  With the arrival of the B-52, O'Connor/Isley could have been visually distracted away from the first object, thus cognitively the B-52 replaces the first observed object accounting for some of the noted movements as observed from the N-07.  Remember, according to both men, once the B-52 arrived, the other object disappeared.  

Further, the B-52 was reportedly flying west from Grand Forks AFB back to Minot AFB. Assuming that the aircraft was making a low approach to Minot AFB, the maintenance team may well have seen the aircraft's landing lights either due east or somewhat in the ESE direction.

Questions concerning the dates of completion for the AF-117s

The issue of the date of both men completing their respective AF-117 has been in question for some, as O'Connor believes that he completed his form on the 24th of October and Isley believes that he may also have completed his on the 24th as well, but could not clearly recall. Based on the initial notification and information that was sent to PBB on the afternoon of the 24th, it is reasonable to assume that most of the observers were interviewed by LtCol Werlich on the 24th and asked to write down their respective observations.  This would account for the initial information sent to Lt Marano at Wright-Patterson AFB. 

Having the witnesses providing written details of their observations does not specifically equate to completing an AF-117.  It is plausible that LtCol Werlich had requested the observers to return a few days later to complete the form.  All of the AF-117s associated with this case show a wide range of completion dates, so Isley's and O'Connor's completion date is not out of the ordinary when compared to others.  As of 30 October, PBB had yet to receive any information from Minot AFB concerning the case, including all of the completed AF-117s.

O'Connor and Isley were not the only individuals to observe the phenomena.  Later on, both men would be joined at N-07 by the November flight security response team.  Next blog post will look at the AF-117s from the November flight security team.