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...


  1. 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.

    FYI: N-7 is directly SOUTH of N-1 by about 10 miles:


  2. Sirius from N-7 @ 2:30-5:30 a.m. according to Stellarium:

  3. Hey Tom,

    Thanks for the comment. I had checked the longitude and latitude of both N-01 and N-07:

    N-01 - From FSC's office at end of LCF main building: Lat 48 45' 34.81" N and Long 101 35' 31.21" W

    N-07 - at center of site: Lat 48 47' 20.47" N and Long 101 36' 7.31" W

    May not seem much, but that's a difference of about 770 yards and demonstrates that N-07 is not due south of N-01 but in the area SSW by that 700 plus yards.

    Based on Bond's vantage point in the FSC's office, upper right hand corner of the main building, he could not see N-07 unless he left his post and observed at the southern end of the LCF perimeter fence...but according to his interview with you, he never left his post and the SAT was off site somewhere.

    Did he leave his post? As I stated in the post, it's possible if the SAT was still on site or he woke up the off duty FSC, but he never mentions that.

    When I post on Adams and Jablonski, I'll provide a probable scenario that puts Bond in the proper vantage point with out breaking policy of leaving his post...he had to take bathroom breaks, did he not? And there was a methodology for doing that...btw, no latrine in the FSC office:)

    BTW, the off base disaster control grid map is not accurate, the location of N-01 should be a ways to the right of the dashed line (road).

    Bottom line, N-07 is not directly due south of N-01.