Castle AFB, California
A.A. and J.R., Air Force interceptor pilots (now United Air Lines pilots), were flying F-86's near Modesto, California, on alert duty due to civilian UFO reports in a nearby town. As they were vectored toward the town, a call came instructing them to return to the base because a UFO was visible from the control tower. Turning on the afterburners, they closed rapidly on a luminous elliptical object that alternately moved above and below cloud cover at 10,000 to 12,000 feet as if to elude them. The pilots positioned themselves, one above and one below the clouds, and took turns chasing the UFO as it emerged on their side of the clouds.
During the chase they saw the UFO from various angles, sometimes closing to within an estimated few hundred yards before it accelerated away from them again. In planform, the UFO appeared circular. Ground radar at Madera was tracking the F-86's, but not the UFO. Both pilots got transient returns from their airborne radars, but were puzzled by the curious way in which they lost the echo almost as soon as they picked it up.
Running low on fuel, A.A. started descending to land. When he looked back up and saw that the UFO was now following his wingman, he elected to go back up despite his fuel situation. Then, the UFO shot off and disappeared in the distance terminating the sighting. The pilots were debriefed by several officers flown in from another base who seemed to be seeking "confirmation, not information," as if they knew just what they wanted to find out. The pilots were told not to discuss the sighting with each other, nor to make any kind of statement about it. Local citizens, who had seen the UFO and heard the roaring jets, were told that the pilots had been chasing ducks or geese.
Special significance: Numerous cases are known to the author in which military witnesses were debriefed by officers who displayed detailed knowledge of UFOs and sometimes carried notebooks of UFO photographs and drawings for identification purposes.
Source: Interview report by Dr. James E. McDonald, including names and affiliations with witnesses.
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