Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Where's the Titan II UFO Stories?

A thought struck me a couple of days ago.  Where are the Titan II UFO stories?  Most, if not all of the ICBM version of the UFO and nuke story seems to center around the Minuteman wings, yet the Titan guys seemed to have gotten a pass.

I Googled "Titan II UFO" and only came across three stories.  One concerning UFOs and the 1980 Damascus, AR explosion and two others relating to sightings near Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ.  That's pretty much it as far as I could see, but I'm sure that there are a few others circulating somewhere.

I've mentioned the Damascus Titan II explosion in a couple of posts and came across this particular story awhile back, but thought it was of interest for this topic.  For those who don't know, in mid to late September, 1980, missile maintenance teams were conducting work on the missile in complex 374-7.  

Evidently, the team was on one of the higher platform levels inside of the silo itself, when the socket from a socket-wrench dislodged and bounced of the concrete wall piercing the  first stage (booster).  This resulted in a major propellant leak eventually causing the second stage assembly to collapse into the the first stage.  The combination of the two separate propellants (hypergolic fuels) resulted in an explosion that destroyed the launch complex with exception to the Launch Control Center.

The UFO angle comes into play from this story by Lyle Lathem (this found on Frank Warren's site, but also on other UFO sites).  Lathem's UFO sightings occurred after 374-7's destruction.  Per Lathem, he believed that the strange crafts (UFOs) flew near or directly over the then covered remnants of the silo because the nuclear warhead was supposedly still buried inside it. A new ufology "law of attraction?"

Lathem stated that he was told the buried warhead story from a state trooper.  Unfortunately that's not what really happened, but Lathem shouldn't feel bad because one of the versions I was told was far more remarkable, but lacking the UFO component.

Back in October of 1980, as a new 2Lt undergoing combat crew training at Vandenberg AFB, I had attended a missile safety briefing.  The topic of the Damascus incident came up which the details of the cause and aftermath were discussed.  True, the silo's launch doors were torn off and blown away, but for a long period of time no one could located the where abouts of the nuclear was effectively lost.

I can't recall who was briefing my group, but he basically said that some of the engineers were tasked to calculate the force and magnitude of the blast to see if it was feasible to blow the warhead into orbit.  I personally have no proof that such an "orbital" theory was actually conducted, so there is much room for doubt.  In the end, the warhead was found at a considerable distance away from the silo.  I do believe that it was damaged, but maintenance personnel where able to transport it back to base.  The Air Force did not intentionally leave the warhead in the silo.

Sorry Lyle, but there was no nuclear warhead purposely left buried in the rubble of 374-7.  As to the UFO angle, that's a separate story in itself. 

The next report comes from NICAP and is based on July 1963 siting near Tucson, AZ which was home to the 390th Strategic Missile Wing.

Occurred : 7/2/1963 19:30 (Entered as : 07/02/1963 19:30)
Reported: 10/23/2003 10:56:31 AM 10:56
Posted: 10/31/2003
Location: Tucson, AZ
Shape: Other
Duration:15 -20 min
Large blimp like object 1960'sI am currently in my middle 50's and not a believer that we are being visited by beings from elsewhere. As an amateur astronomer, I did volunteer work for the US Naval Observatory back in the late 60's. This was in the early days of satellite before many precise measurements could be made from orbit. My groups function, as ground based telescope observers, was to precisely time star occultation's, for the most part as they disappeared and reappeared behind the moon. Just some background on my 'observing' experience....
If you read this report closely, you'll notice that it has nothing to do with the Titan II complexes specifically.  NICAP appears to have found it of interest solely due to the launch complexes located in that general geographical area.

Here is a another story involving "flying saucer" activity near one of the Titan sites near Tucson in 1962 from Paranormal Old Pueblo.

On August 6th 1962, around 8:00pm, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base personnel began receiving reports of a “flying saucer”. Witnesses reported a brilliantly glowing light that descended over the Titan missile silo in Oracle, Ariz., near Tucson.

Chuck Penson, historian for the Titan Missile Museum, provided a reply to the above article:  "Regarding the reference that a UFO was reported over a Titan II missile site in August of 1962. At that time all of the missile sites around Tucson were still under construction. The first site to go “on alert” was near Three Points at the end of March, 1963. The complex near Oracle was not activated until June, 1963"

So the Oracle sighting had nothing to do with affecting missile operations since no missile or complex was completed and on alert at that time.  With that said, that doesn't discount the sighting itself, but negates the Titan II as an object of attraction.

So that covers Little Rock and Davis-Monthan AFBs,  where are the UFO reports from McConnel AFB, Wichita, KS?  As of yet they've yet to surface.

The above stories were the major Titan II UFO reports.  And, as can clearly seen these reports had nothing to do with the weapon system itself, but either there were sightings that just happen to be in the general vicinity (vague), or the UFO component was the by-product of urban legends/myths as in the Damascus incident.

I hope to touch more on this topic later, as the UFO philosophy of benevolence has an ironic twist when comparing the stories involving the Minuteman and Titan systems. 


  1. Apparently, Titan missiles (as well as the Poseidon, Trident, and Polaris missiles carried on US Subs) are immune to UFO interference. It seems that only those flaky minuteman missiles are capable of being interfered with by these UFOs. It makes one wonder if it were just the missile systems that were flaky and airmen decided to blame the failures on UFOs (the 1960s version of the WWII gremlin).

  2. Ha!...I would guess that if ET were to "disrupt" the submarine ICBMs he'd need scuba gear!

    I think that the Titan vs Minuteman "enigma" comes down to "location, location, and location." Plus that 4 crew members were right next to the missile in Titan. The Minuteman LFs were spaced at a distance and remotely monitored...easy pickings for UFOs.

  3. Oh.....UFOs do go underwater (they call them USOs) but they avoid US Submarines (at least all the subs I served upon). I have never heard or read about a UFO interfering with submarine activities. I also made a few SSBN patrols and are friends with many other SSBN veterans. I have never heard of any UFO knocking out or interfering with a submarine's missile. I am unaware of Hastings' recording any such events either. This probably has a lot to do with the system being right there on the submarine next to the missiles. There is very little that can interfere with the circuitry. Any disruption can be quickly identified and one does not need to invoke the UFO excuse.