Form: 97 Initial Report
October 30, 1975. At the same time that plans were being prepared at
Loring for the return of the intruder, things started to break open at
Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Michigan, another of the northern tier bases
that were put on a security option three alert.
Wurtsmith is a Strategic Air Command base located three miles northwest
of Oscoda, Michigan. It serves as the home base for the 40th Air
Division and the 379th Bomb Wing.
At approximately 10:10 P.M., personnel in the vicinity of the family
housing area located in the southeastern portion of Wurtsmith reported
seeing what appeared to be running lights of a low-flying craft which
was thought to be a helicopter. The craft hovered and moved up and down
in an erratic manner.
Airman Martin E. Tackabury, assigned to the Capehart housing area gate,
said that he saw the object for about five seconds near the perimeter
of Wurtsmith, due south of his location. Tackabury reported that the
object had one white light pointing directly downward and two red
lights near the rear. The object seemed to be heading in a
west-southwest direction. Tackabury could not hear any sound coming
from the aerial craft because a B-52 was in the air nearby to the north.
Near the main gate at Wurtsmith, Airman Michael J. Myers, assigned to
Police Unit Seven, was on duty at the Wurtsmith motor pool. As Myers
looked toward the west, he could see several lights near the western
edge of the base. The lights turned north and appeared to lose
altitude. He did not hear any sound.
42 Wurtsmith and Others
Sergeant Robert J. Anderson, also at the motor pool, reported that he
observed an airborne KC-135 tanker and another craft with a steady red
light. The craft appeared to be flying slower, ahead and below the
KC-135. Anderson believed he heard a sound similar to a helicopter.
After thirty to thirty-five seconds, the object passed out of view.
Airman Roger Skipper, at the Wurtsmith main gate, said that when he
responded to the activity at the motor pool, he heard sounds that
At 1014, 1020, and 1025 P.M., at the back gate of Wurtsmith, security
police reported to the command post that an unidentified helicopter
with no lights came up over the back gate and hovered over the weapons
storage area at a low altitude. Security police of the 379th security
police squadron in the weapons storage area could not make out the type
of craft. The craft started to move towards the northern perimeter
where its lights were again turned on.
Sergeant James A. Miller of the Wurtsmith security police reported his
observations of the unknown craft while on duty in the weapons storage
area. He stated that he heard the sound of a possible helicopter coming
from an area off the base toward the north. He thought he had heard the
sound of a flying helicopter fifteen minutes earlier, but he didn't
As he listened, the noise became drowned out by a military jet, and
when the jet passed out of range, the original noise had stopped. No
other similar sounds were heard.
The local police were notified; however, no evidence was found to
corroborate a landing. Wurtsmith Control Tower personnel did not make
visual contact with the craft, and no efforts were made to challenge
the craft by radio.
Security police at the weapon storage area notified Colonel John J.
Doran, Vice Commander, 379th Bomb Wing, that the guard posted at the
back gate had reported what he thought was a helicopter overhead. The
command post notified Col. Boardman (wing commander) and Col. Doran,
and they proceeded to the flight line. It was at this time that Radar
Approach Control (RAPCON) reported low-flying objects on their radar
scope. They tracked the craft for approximately thirty-five miles on a
southeastern bearing from Wurtsmith. Simultaneously, a KC-135 tanker
was returning from a refueling mission. It entered Wurtsmith's traffic
pattern and received permission to fly transition approaches. Col.
Boardman ordered the KC-135 to attempt to identify the object.
Wurtsmith air traffic control vectored the tanker in the object's
Aboard the KC-135 was Major Frederick Pappas, the plane's commander;
Captain K. E. May, co-pilot; Captain Rick Meier, the navigator; Captain
Myron Taylor, instructor navigator; Captain Randy Higginbotham,
instructor pilot; and Sergeant Steve Smith. The following statement on
the KC-135 encounter with the UFO was given to the 379th Bomb Wing
Wurtsmith and Others 43
rian, Staff Sergeant Paul J. Cahill, by Captain Taylor in a "Memo for
the Record" dated January 18, 1979.
We were returning from a refueling
mission and during our first approach into the traffic pattern, RAPCON
vectored us to check out a reported UFO in the area of the Wurtsmith
Weapons Storage Area. As I recall, this activity occurred between 10:30
and 11:00 in the evening around the 1 st of November. I remember seeing
lights similar to strobe lights which were flashing irregularly. We
followed the lights north out over Lake Huron and then the UFO swung
south still over the lake toward the Saginaw Bay area of Michigan. At
first it was difficult to determine whether there were two different
objects because of the irregular flashing of the lights. But, after
observing the lights we determined that there were in fact two objects
and the irregular flashing appeared to be some sort of signal being
passed from one to the other in an effort to maintain the same
position. We were able to maintain visual contact most of the time and
I was only able to paint an object on the radar scope for about 10
seconds. I would estimate that our altitude was about 2,000 feet and
our speed approximately 200 knots. Shortly after turning south in
pursuit of the UFO, we called Approach Control and received blanket
clearance to follow the UFO at all altitudes and at all vectors.
Occasionally, RAPCON would pick-up the UFO and help us by giving us
vectors to the UFO's position. I would guess that we stayed close to
the UFO most of the time, approximately one mile away, and each time we
attempted to close on the object it would speed away from us. We
followed the UFO down to Saginaw Bay and started across the Bay when we
lost it because of all the fishing boat lights. At first we thought it
had landed on one of the large oil tankers but later decided that we
had been wrong. We continued to search the Bay area but didn't see it
so we changed our heading for Wurtsmith. On the way back, we picked the
UFO up again at our eight o'clock position. We turned away, and it
proceeded to follow us. Finally, we turned back in the direction of the
UFO and it really took off back in the direction of the Bay area. I
know this might sound crazy, but I would estimate that the UFO sped
away from us doing approximately 1,000 knots. We continued in the
direction of the Bay until RAPCON called us again and said they were
painting a UFO four to five miles over the coast traveling in a
westerly direction. They vectored us to the position of the UFO and we
proceeded but at that point we were low on fuel and were forced to
return to Wurtsmith. I remember that while on final approach we saw the
lights again near the Weapons Storage Area. Following the mission we
discussed the incident and about a week later, Captain Higgin-botham
was questioned by the OSI and cautioned not to discuss the incident.
The historian obviously did his homework on the Wurtsmith sightings as
this January 17, 1979, "Research Record of Events" will demonstrate.
The following actions and research
requests have been accomplished regarding the UFO incident experienced
by the 379 BMW in November 1975:
44 Wurtsmith and Others
1. 15 Jan—0900L—Received a call from SAC/HO Mr. Caywood requesting that
I provide him with any documents relating to subject incident.
2. Following that request, I checked the Oct-Dec 75 Wing History and
found no references to the incident.
3. 15 Jan—1430L—Met with Colonel Doran,
379BMW/CC and asked him about the incident. He recalled the incident
and described what he remembered. At that time, Colonel Doran was Vice
Cabill's "Memo for the Record" also alludes to the other incidents at
Loring and Plattsburgh AFB, New York, during the same period of time.
4. 16 Jan—0930L—Called Mr. Caywood, SAC/HO, and informed him of my
findings. He requested that I prepare a "Memo for the Record" based on
my discussion with Colonel Doran and send it to him as soon as possible.
5. 16 Jan—1000L—After talking to several crew members assigned to the
920AREFS who were at Wurtsmith at the time of the incident, I was able
to obtain the names of three crew members aboard the KC-135 which
tracked the UFO. All have separated from the USAF. One individual, Mr.
Myron Taylor, was described as a good source. Mr. Taylor, formerly
Capt. Taylor, had been aboard the flight as an instructor navigator. I
requested that Mr. Taylor contact this office.
6. 16 Jan—1445L—received a collect call from Mr. Taylor, however, had
to decline but instructed the operator to tell Mr. Taylor that I would
attempt to call him. The operator gave me his number. Called the
Command Section and informed Colonel Doran of my findings and requested
permission to call Mr. Taylor. He agreed, however, instructed me to
contact Ol and prior to forwarding a "Memo for the Record" coordinate
it with him.
7. 16 Jan—1500L—Call Mr. Taylor. He described in detail an account of
the mission and further informed me that approximately one week after
the mission, the aircraft commander, Capt. Higginbotham had been
contacted by the OS I.
8. 16 Jan—1520L—Received a call from Mr. Caywood, SAC/HO. He requested
that I send the "Memo for the Record" to Mr. Schoem, Administrative
Officer for the Air Force Office of History. He also requested that the
information be prepared as soon as possible since the information had
been requested by Congressman Stratton and was the subject of a
Congressional inquiry. Mr. Caywood stated that Mr. Schoem had a
suspense date of 26 January.
9. 17 Jan—1600L—Delivered draft copy of "Memo for the Record" to Wing
Commander's Office for coordination.
10. 18 Jan—1000L—Met with Col. Doran. He returned the draft Memo and
explained some changes he had made. He also asked if I had contacted
Ol. Said no, had wanted to wait until coordination had been completed.
11. 18 Jan—1015L—Returned to Office and prepared "Memo for the Record"
in final copy. Also called Office of Information and set up an
appointment with Capt. Peck (10) for 1100L
12. 19 Jan 1100L—Capt. Peck and Lt. Owens came to the office and we
discussed the Memo. All agreed that the Memo should at the very least
be marked For Official Use Only. Called Colonel Doran and he agreed.
13. 18 Jan—1345L—Sent "Memo for the Record" to USAF/CYAU (S), Boiling
AFB, D.C. (Attn: Mr. Schoem). Send info copies to SAC/HO and BAF/HO.
Also sent three copies to Capt. Peck (01).
This was the first time that Plattsburgh had been mentioned in connec-
Wurtsmith and Others 45
tion with the other reports. Unfortunately, no other bits of
information could be unearthed detailing anything about UFO activity at
Plattsburgh. Is it possible that the report is spurious and nothing
happened? Plattsburgh received notices of the activity at other bases,
and it is mentioned frequently on the reference list of released
documents. Could the historian have mistakenly listed Plattsburgh as a
sighting location after glossing over a teletype?
It is difficult to believe that a mistake was made in including
Plattsburgh as a sighting locale. Many other northern tier Air Force
bases, besides Loring and Malmstrom, experienced the inundation of
UFOs, as we shall soon see. It would seem strange that Plattsburgh was
left out of all the action. The thoroughness of Cahill's research would
seem to argue in favor of it being a real event.
So, what actually happened? Was Plattsburgh involved in what Loring,
Malmstrom, and Wurtsmith went through? Is information on possible
intrusions at Plattsburgh being withheld? At this point, the questions
In any case, Wurtsmith had its hands full with explaining its own UFOs.
Were the objects merely helicopters? No positive visual identification
was ever given by any of the personnel involved in the Wurtsmith
sightings. Only lights and sounds were reported.
To summarize briefly, radar picked up the craft over the weapons
storage area and followed it to the southeast, where the task of
identification was handed over to the KC-135 commander. The KC-135 crew
picked it up visually and on radar. Taylor, in his statement to Cahill,
never once called the craft a helicopter, but called it "a UFO" and an
"object." He said that their speed was about 200 knots, and in each
attempt to close with the object, "it would speed away from us." Taylor
added that when they were heading back to Wurtsmith, "we turned back in
the direction of the UFO, and it really took off... doing approximately
One thousand knots! Certainly no helicopter ever built could do such a
A NORAD Senior Director's log entry dated October 31 was located with a
brief reference to Wurtsmith (NCOC is the NORAD Combat Operations
Alerted by NCOC of a helicopter sighted
over Wurtsmith AFB Wpns storage area, a tanker sighted same and pursued
it 35 SE over Lake Huron. Upon request of NCOC—Gen Wainwright and
concurrence of Gen Taylor—contacted 379BW CP and offered assistance.
Also advised ML, LH & JL alert of possibility of a scramble.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff files in the Pentagon contained an
"Operational Report" dated October 30, 1975, which offered this comment:
Upon information that the Dept. of
Natural Resources sends out aircraft searching for hunters spotting
deer, the Dept. of Natural Resources was
46 Wurtsmith and Others
contacted; however, they maintain none
of their aircraft were in the area at the time.
The FBI field office in Saginaw, Michigan, was contacted by the Air
Force and advised of the activity at Wurtsmith. The special agent in
charge said that his office was "unaware of hostile threats against
Wurtsmith Air Force Base."
There were efforts by the Air Force to confirm the route and arrival
time of an Army helicopter from Wurtsmith to Selfridge Air National
Guard Base, Michigan, and to identify any other Army craft in the area
but this, too, did not explain the intruder.
Whatever buzzed Wurtsmith got away without a scratch.
On February 21, 1976, UFO researcher Robert Todd filed a request under
the Freedom of Information Act for NORAD Command Director's logs. The
logs were released to Todd on March 26, 1976, and confirmed that Canada
was also having problems with UFOs. Taken from the logs are incidents
related to UFO activity in the area of the Falconbridge Air Force
Station, a radar site near North Bay, Ontario, Canada (times listed are
Greenwich Zulu, 5 hours ahead of EST).
12 November 1975 0715 23rd NORAD
Region. UFO Reported from Radar site at Falconbridge Ontario, Canada
(Sudbury). Reported by Mr. Julian Prince of Sudbury thru Ontario
Provincial Police (also observed by 2 OPP constables ZADOW & BRETT)
2 objects seen appeared to be artificial light fading on and off with
jerky motion. Broken cloud layer with no estimated base. No radar
contact made and no request for fighter scramble initiated.
15 November 1975 0742 UFO 23rd NORAD REGION. From Falconbridge Radar
Site a civilian, Oliver Kizioja, Sudbury, Ontario, at 0615 was standing
in back yard facing south. Observed one bright yellow object moving up
and back, leaving a tail. It was very high but did not change position
in regard to other stars. He watched for 15 minutes, then called radar
site. Not observed on radar.
15 November 1975 1229 23rd NORAD REGION. From Falconbridge. At 1130,
Lyman Paqutte, married student, residence Laurentian Univ., Sudbury,
Ontario. Reported he had been looking due east, sky partly cloudy, saw
one bright white object about 70° elevation, high out of range of
binoculars. It climbed high out of range of binoculars. Observed for 20
minutes and witnessed by his wife, brother-in-law and sister-in-law.
Negative radar contact.
17 November 1975 1705 24 NORAD Region UFO at 132345z Large orange ball
with 2 red lights stationary; Azimuth 045° from River Court,
Ontario. No radar contact. Called in to 24th NORAD at 16-1700z. 17
November 1975 1705 23rd NORAD region; UFO reported 0230z from a Mr.
John Dunlops, address: Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada. Two objects,
oval shaped with two yellow flashing lights, moving north to south,
then became stationary, observed for 10 minutes, one above the other,
sky was cloudy—no radar contact. Toronto AMIS advised no known traffic
Wurtsmith and Others 47
More entries appeared in the NORAD regional Senior Director's Log.
1205z 11 November 1975 Received unusual
sighting report from Falcon-bridge AFS, Ontario, Canada. Info passed to
NORAD Command Director, Intelligence and Weather.
1840z 11 November 1975 Actions pertaining to scramble of JL08 and 09
due to unusual object sighting. With Director of Operations approval.
Scrambled JL08/09 at 1745z, airborne at 1750z. NORAD Combat Operations
Center notified ol Fateortoridge KFS YnewtewV Nwcxaft. ON^
Fa\c,CK\hud<^e flying over incident, point no sighting, 1831
aircraft still in area, no radar aircraft or visual contact.
Falconbridge AFS still reporting object at 26,000 ft.
2235z 12 November 1975 Transmitted unknown report to NCOC Surveillance
on incident at Falconbridge AFS which occurred on 11 Nov. 1975. 0533z
15 November 1975 UFO report from Falconbridge, occurrence time 0202z.
Report sent to NCOC Surveillance, referred to Assistant Command
Director Space Defense Center, and Intelligence. These 3 individuals
considered the report a UFO report and not an unknown track report.
On November 13, 1975, NORAD issued a press release to the media in
Sudbury, Ontario. It stated:
"At 4:05 A.M. Nov. 11, the Canadian
Forces radar site at Falconbridge, Ontario, reported a radar track of
an unidentified object about 25-30 nautical miles south of the site,
ranging in altitude from 25,000 to 72,000 feet. Persons at the site
also saw the object and said it appeared as a bright star but much
closer. Two F-106 aircraft of the US Air Force Air National Guard's
171st Fighter Interceptor squadron at Selfridge ANGB, Michigan, were
scrambled; but the pilots reported no contact with the object." The
release was approved by NORAD's commander in charge.
The Falconbridge reports spilled over into 1976 and spread to other
areas in Canada.
An aircrew observed an object with green and white lights traveling
from right to left across its front on June 23, 1976. The crew was
sixteen miles from North Bay Ontario on a 158° heading. The UFO was
at an altitude of 20,000 feet and flew at the speed of sound.
A number of objects were observed at Penticton Tower, 140 miles east of
Vancouver, British Columbia, on August 10, 1976. The objects had
steady, flashing green and red lights and were seen by civilians and
members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
On October 8, 1976, Falconbridge relayed a report from a woman of
Gorson, Ontario, saying she heard a beeping sound and saw one object,
which had flashing red and yellow lights. She observed the object for a
minute, then it vanished.
Falconbridge again reported on October 18 that the October 8 report by
the woman was confirmed by a police officer. He said the UFO was
oblong, with blue, white, and green flashing lights.
48 Wurtsmith and Others
Meanwhile, back in 1975, NORAD logged a sighting from Minot Air Force
Base, North Dakota. Minot AFB, located thirteen miles north of Minot,
North Dakota, is a SAC base. Units stationed here are the 57th Air
Division, the 91st Strategic Missile Wing, the 5th Bomb Wing, and the
5th Fighter Interceptor Squadron of the Tactical Air Command. Around
Minot AFB, 19,324 acres of land are reserved for missile sites.
On November 10, 1975, a brief report was received that Minot was buzzed
by a bright object. The object was about the size of a car and flew at
an altitude of 1,000 to 2,000 feet, completely noiseless. According to
NORAD, no further information was received. Requests were filed to
locate additional information on the Minot AFB report, but precious
little was available.
A long entry from the 24th NORAD Region Senior Director's Log said:
UFO sighting reported by Minot Air
Force Station, a bright star-like object in the west, moving east,
about the size of a car. First seen approximately 1015. Approximately
1120, the object passed over the radar station, 1000-2000 feet high, no
noise heard. Three people from the site on local area saw the object.
National Command Operations Center notified.
While UFO sightings in abundance took place at other Air Force bases, a
different sort of activity was reported from Grand Forks AFB, North
Located about sixteen miles west of Grand Forks, North Dakota, the base
is the home of the 319th Bomb Wing and the 321st Strategic Missile
Wing. On November 4, 1975, the following message was dispatched from
the base at 3:01 A.M., Event/Incident:
Command post identified at 04/0130z Nov
75 that there were possibly some shots fired from on base toward hard
alert aircraft on the Sac alert ramp. Security Police have responded.
Reportedly one alert tanker and bomber were hit. No damage to any
aircraft was discovered after thorough inspection by maintenance and
aircrews using artificial light. Inspection will be resumed during
daylight hours. No injuries reported. Further reports to follow.
This report was followed by another, more detailed message on November
5, at 11:05 A.M.:
Sources provided information concerning
shots allegedly fired at aircraft at the Grand Forks AFB (GFAFB) ND
alert facility. Inspection of the concerned aircraft yielded no
evidence of damage. B. (1) on 3 Nov 75, source advised that four
security policemen heard what they believed to be shots and possible
hits on two aircraft. CNE 4 B-52 NO. 004, and one A KC-135, No. 7397.
On 4 Nov 75, source, located in the vicinity of aircraft 7997, advised
that he had heard five shots in groups of three and two with a space of
approximately two seconds between the groups. Approxi-
Wurtsmith and Others 49
mately three seconds later we heard two
separate "thuds" on aircraft 7997. On 4 Nov 75, source advised that he
heard two shots and then three seconds later he heard eight or nine
more shots evenly spaced. He believed the shots to be from a rifle
probably more high-powered than a .22 caliber rifle. The shots came
from a southeasterly direction, which is from the direction of the golf
course. He was stationed at the alert facility gate. On 4 Nov 75,
source located in the vicinity of aircraft 004. Advised that he heard
four or five shots in rapid succession from the direction of the golf
course and then one hit which sounded like a large rock against
aircraft 004. The shots were loud and clear and sounded as if they came
from a small caliber rifle. Possibly a .22.
On 4 Nov 75, source. Located in the vicinity of aircraft 7997. Advised
that he heard four or five shots in rapid succession. Possibly from a
semi-automatic rifle. Probably a small caliber rifle. The shots came
from a southeasterly direction from the golf course. Approximately two
seconds later he heard what he believed to be two hits on the rear of
aircraft 7997. On 4 Nov 75. Source stated he reported to the southwest
corner of the golf course. Approximately 150 yards from the south
perimeter fence. "Omar" picked up a scent and scouted to the perimeter
fence. Across the fence and south to N.D. Highway 2. Across Highway 2
and across the debris (broken concrete). The track turned east nearly
parallel to the highway and "Omar" tracked approximately 100-150 yards
to a small trailer court (20 trailers) then turned south along a tree
line and then southeast toward a trailer. The track was lost at a
picket fence adjoining the trailer. No lights were on in the trailer
and no one was located in the vicinity. Source was accompanied by Capt
Klawon: 321 Security Police Squadron, GFAFB, and by Luther Edmonds:
Civilian, EMEPADC, ND, Police Department. Inspection of aircrafts
numbers 004 and 7997 by the crew chiefs and maintenance personnel
assigned to the 319 bomb wing revealed no evidence of damage to the
aircrafts. The area surrounding the aircraft and that from which shots
were believed to be fired were inspected. No spent cartridges or
bullets were located.
The alert facility is located on the southwest portion of GFAFB. It is
bounded on the south by ND highway 2 and on the east by the GFAFB golf
course. No blast deflectors are located on the alert facility. The
alert facility and surrounding area is flat and open territory. Aside
from those structures in the alert facility, there are no buildings in
the vicinity of the facility. Press coverage included local television
news coverage (WXJB) and newspaper coverage—Grand Forks Herald, Vol 37,
Number 130: Section Two, Page 3, coverage reported that several shots
were heard near the base perimeter and that inspection revealed no
aircraft had been damaged. The following individuals at GFAFB were
notified of the transmission of this document: Dale E. Eppineer, Col.
Commander, 321 CSE; Donald D. Johnson, CO, Commander, 319 Bomb Wing;
William A. Cockayne, Col. Commander, 321 Security Police Group. This
represents the first incident of this nature at GFAFB within the
preceding 18 months.
It is difficult to correlate the Grand Forks events with what occurred
elsewhere. There were no aerial craft involved. The shooting incidents
all seemed rather pointless since no damage was done. Yet, this did
take place in the midst of a wave of UFO reports at other bases.
50 Wurtsmith and Others
At the risk of sounding like we are trying to rule out a potential
explanation for at least some of what happened at bases along the
U.S./Canada border, we feel that while the Grand Forks sniper firings
are curious, and still unexplained, they probably weren't related to
the UFO activity. To coin a phrase used by the Air Force, we regard
them as "isolated incidents." We mention it here, because the
government released data on the Grand Forks attacks concurrently with
data on the other bases. It may have been, in some manner, an attempt
to downgrade concern over the intrusions. The public, seeing that a
base was attacked with hand weapons, would conclude that the other
areas were experiencing attacks by protesters or terrorists and, thus,
not push too hard for information on UFOs.
The aerial objects seen at Loring, Malmstrom, and Wurtsmith were
something very much out of the ordinary. The vehicles showed such
advanced aeronautical qualities that no possibility exists for
terrorists being responsible. In essence, the Grand Forks activity
served as a convenient "straw man" for the Air Force to use in
diverting attention from the real problem.
The Commander-In-Charge of NORAD (CINCNORAD) sent this message to NORAD
units in North America, dated November 11, 1975:
Part I. Since 28 Oct 75 numerous
reports of suspicious objects have been received at the NORAD CU;
reliable military personnel at Loring AFB, Maine, Wurtsmith AFB,
Michigan, Malmstrom AFB, Mt, Minot AFB, ND, and Canadian Forces
Station, Falconbridge, Ontario, Canada, have visually sighted
Part II. Objects at Loring and Wurtsmith were characterized to be
helicopters. Missile Site Personnel, Security Alert Teams, and Air
Defense Personnel at Malmstrom Montana report an object which sounded
like a jet aircraft. FAA advised there were no jet aircraft in the
vicinity. Malmstrom search and height finder radars carried the object
between 9,500 ft. and 15,600 ft. at a speed of seven knots. There was
intermittent radar contact with the object from 0807532 thru 09002 Nov.
75. F-106s scrambled from Malmstrom could not make contact due to
darkness and low altitude. Site personnel reported the object as low as
200 ft and said that as the interceptors approached the lights went
out. After the interceptors had passed the lights came on again, one
hour after they returned to base. Missile site personnel reported the
object increased to a high speed, raised in altitude and could not be
discerned from the stars.
Part III. Minot AFB on 10 Nov reported that the base was buzzed by a
bright object the size of a car at an altitude of 1000 to 2000 ft.
There was no noise emitted by the vehicle.
Part IV. This morning, 11 Nov 75, CFS Falconbridge reported search and
height finder radar paints on an object up to 30 nautical miles south
of the site ranging in altitude from 26,000 ft. to 72,000 ft. The site
commander and other personnel say the object appeared as a bright star
but much closer. With binoculars the object appeared as a 100 ft.
diameter sphere and appeared to have craters around the outside.
Part V. Be assured that this command is doing everything possible to
identify and provide solid factual information on these sightings. I
have also ex-
Wurtsmith and Others 51
pressed my concern to SAFOI that we
come up soonest with a proposed answer to queries from the press to
prevent overreaction by the public to reports by the media that may be
blown out of proportion. To date efforts by Air Guard helicopters, SAC
helicopters and Norad F-106s have failed to produce positive ID.
Note that the Falconbridge report mentioned here contains a few more
details than had been available. The November 11 UFO appeared as a "100
foot diameter sphere" and was pockmarked with "craters" on the outside.
Hardly a conventional aircraft!
There is also concern in the message that the press would overreact to
the stories and that steps should be taken to prevent this. The media
hardly reacted to the incidents at the time, and when they did, it
usually was in the local press where very limited public reaction could
be expected. The "prevent" tactic worked, and the magnitude of the UFO
intrusions was recognized only well after the objects have come and
The Air Force was lucky. Had full-blown media coverage been applied to
the stories in the same general time frame when they happened, a
Pandora's Box of criticism would surely have resulted over the Air
Force's inability to deal effectively with the aerial invaders.
More information continued to flow. Two log entries from the Air Force
Intelligence Service's Alert Officer's Log were released in 1977. The
first one is dated October 31, 1975:
Per Ltc. Redican's direction. Contacted
DIA OPS center and informed them of unidentified flight activity over
two SAC bases near Canadian border. CIA indicated appreciation and
requested they be informed of any follow-up activity.
Numerous requests to the CIA for information have met with denial after
denial. However, here's clear evidence that they had received reports
on the sightings from the Air Force. Another log entry, dated November
3, 1975, says:
Received call from AAC/IN (Alaskan Air
Command/Intelligence). They had sent message 012224, Subject:
Unidentified Foreign Object to INYSA and wanted to know if INYSA had
received it. They wanted guidance from INYSA.
A UFO from the Alaskan Air Command now! We requested a copy of this
report. The reply from the Air Force dated February 8, 1978, was very
The Alaskan Air Command message 012224
referred to on 3 November 1975 of the attached INZA Alert Officer Log
extract is not available. Information received on this subject is
considered raw intelligence material and maintained for only the
briefest period of time.
52 Wurtsmith and Others
Whatever happened must have been interesting!
U.S. sightings, as those in Canada, carried well into 1976. The
National Military Command Center held a number of reports of sightings
which were released after considerable correspondence. A "Memorandum
for the Record" dated January 21, 1976, tells of a sighting at Cannon
AFB, New Mexico:
The following information was received
from the Air Force Operations Center at 0555 EST:
Two UFOs are reported near the flight line at Cannon AFB, New Mexico.
Security Police observing them reported the UFOs to be 25 yards in
diameter, gold or silver in color with blue light on top, hole in the
middle and red light on bottom. Air Force is checking with radar.
Additionally, checking weather inversion data.
A very striking object to be sure. Twenty-five yards in diameter, gold
or silver in color with a blue light on top, a hole in the middle, and
a red light on the bottom. It's not something you see flying around
A "Memorandum for the Record" dated January 31, 1976, told of activity
at Eglin AFB, Florida:
1. At 310805 received phoncon from
AFOC: MG Lane, CG, Armament and Development Test Center, Eglin AFB,
Florida, called and reported a UFO sighting from 0430 EST to 0600 EST.
Security policemen spotted lights from what they called a UFO near an
Eglin radar site.
Additional information on the Eglin report appeared in the NORAD
Command Director's Log for January 31:
2. Photographs of the lights were taken. The Eglin Office of
Information has made a press release on the UFO.
3. The temperature inversion analysis indicated no significant
temperature inversion at Eglin AFB at that time. The only inversion
present was due to radiation from the surface to 2500 feet. The Eglin
surface conditions were clear skies, visibility 10-14 miles, calm
winds, shallow ground fog on the runway, and a surface temperature of
44 degrees F.
The Command Post received a UFO report
from Eglin, FL, that Duke Field personnel saw a row of lights with a
central white light at 1043. The lights were about 2° above the
horizon at a zenith of 350°, range unknown. A later report (1245)
states that further investigation in daylight indicated that the lights
were probably on a building.
The "Memorandum for the Record" is dated several hours after the 1245
report received by NORAD of the lights being part of a building, yet it
makes no mention of this discovery. It's strange that no one saw the
building lights before that time, and suddenly, one day, they became so
sensational that official reports were filed with the National Military
Command Center of a UFO. The memo refers to photos but all attempts to
get them released, or to simply get an admission that they exist, were
Wurtsmith and Others 53
Another NMCC Memorandum dated July 30, 1976, from Fort Ritchie,
Maryland, relates this information:
1. At approximately 0345 EOT, the ANMCC
called to indicate they had received several reports of UFOs in the
vicinity of Fort Ritchie. The following events summarize the reports
(times are approximate).
a. 0130—Civilians reported a UFO
sighting near Mt. Airy, Md. This information was obtained via a call
from the National Aeronautics Board (?) to the Fort Ritchie Military
b. 0255—Two separate patrols from Site R reported sighting 3 oblong
objects with a reddish tint, moving east to west. Personnel were
located at separate locations on top of the mountain at Site R. c.
0300—Desk Sgt. at Site R went to the top of the Site R mountain and
observed a UFO over the ammo storage area at 100-200 yards altitude.
d. 0345—An Army Police Sgt. on the way to work at Site R reported
sighting a UFO in the vicinity of Site R.
2. ANMCC was requested to have each individual write a statement on the
sightings. One individual stated the object was about the size of a
2-1/2 ton truck.
3. Based on a JCS memorandum, subject: Temperature Inversion Analysis,
dated 13 November 1975, the NMCC contacted the Air Force Global Weather
Central. The Duty Officer, LTC OVERBY, reported that the Dulles
International Airport observations showed two temperature inversions
existed at the time of the alleged sightings. The first extended from
the surface to 1,000 feet absolute and the second existed between
27,000 and 30,000 feet, absolute. He also said the atmosphere between
12,000 and 20,000 feet was heavily saturated with moisture. A hard copy
message will follow.
Shades of Loring. One UFO was the size of a 2l/i ton truck. Several
other UFOs were "oblong with a reddish tint." And they were seen over
weapons storage areas!
Temperature inversions were indeed reported over the area at the time.
This would have been significant had the sightings been reported on
radar. But they weren't. Temperature inversions do not come down to 100
to 200 yards in altitude and hover over ammo storage areas. Neither do
they present such a vivid visual appearance as described by the
security police and civilians in the area.
The "hard copy message" mentioned in the last sentence of the memo is
Serious military concern is reflected throughout the documents
discussing the concentrated UFO sightings over these bases between
October 1975 and July 1976. What was the reaction to all this by our
Senators and Congressmen, the ones who control the purse strings of the
military and who should be most disturbed by the lack of control of the
armed forces over these events?
They, in fact, had almost no reaction because they weren't informed
54 Wurtsmith and Others
about the sightings at any time. It was only in 1978, three years after
the initial outburst of sightings, that Congressman Samuel S. Stratton
(D—N.Y.) became the first legislator to voice his concern.
On December 10, 1978, the weekly Parade magazine carried a story titled
"UFO's vs. USAF, Amazing (But True) Encounters" by Michael Sat-chell.
Basing its information on government documents released through the
Freedom of Information Act, Parade summarized the events at Loring,
Malmstrom, Wurtsmith, and other bases, as well as some foreign
incidents acquired through U.S. government sources (see Chapter 6).
The Parade article had a significant impact on public interest in the
1975 reports. A copy of the article was sent to Congressman Stratton,
who was, at the time, the Chairman of the Armed Services Investigations
Subcommittee. Stratton sent a letter, dated December 20, 1978, to Major
General Charles C. Blanton, Director, Legislative Liaison for the
Office of the Secretary of the Air Force. In the letter, Stratton says:
The attached item from Parade magazine
of December 10 reports that unidentified aircraft penetrated the
airspace at several Strategic Air Command bases in the United States
and Canada on several occasions during the period October 27—November
19, 1975. The article proceeds to quote from Air Force documents to the
effect that the intruding aircraft had "a clear intent in the weapons
storage area" at Loring Air Force Base. Those same documents reportedly
refer to unsuccessful efforts of Air Force air-crafts to intercept and
identify the intruder aircraft. This Subcommittee is concerned by the
alleged ability of unknown aircraft to penetrate airspace and hover
over SAC bases, their weapons storage areas, missile sites, and launch
control facilities, and the inability of Air Force equipment and
personnel to intercept and identify such aircraft. Accordingly, it is
requested that all Air Force reports relating to each of the incidents
described in this article be furnished to the Subcommittee. It is
further requested that all reports of any similar incidents, either
before or since the October-November 1975 events, be furnished to the
The letter was handled in the usual manner for a Congressional inquiry
and was staffed to various internal Air Force groups. Amazingly, many
replied that they had little or nothing to provide as information in
response to the request and, in one case, the Air Force's Directorate
of Operations and Readiness stated in a January 8, 1979, memo:
We have been unable to find any
official information regarding the incidents described in the Parade
magazine article. Contact with individuals assigned to operational
units where the incidents were alleged to have occurred indicate some
of these incidents may not have happened at all [emphasis added].
The Air Force, mindful of the inadequacy of such a response to
Stratton, had to provide something since more than enough evidence was
available showing that the events did occur.
Wurtsmith and Others 55
A formal response to Congressman Stratton was sent on February 9, 1979,
by Joseph J. F. Clark, Associate Director, Legislative Liaison for the
This is in response to your recent
letter concerning an item from the Parade magazine of December 10, 1978
regarding unidentified aircraft penetrating the airspace at several
Strategic Air Command bases in the United States and Canada on several
occasions during the period October 27 through November 19, 1975.
Attached is a partial compilation of available materials obtained in
response to your request for Air Force reports pertaining and similar
to the incidents described in the Parade magazine article. We have
requested such reports from numerous Air Force organizations, some of
which are outside of this Headquarters. Not all of this material has
been received, and it will be forwarded when it becomes available to us.
Please note that the attached material rarely includes formal reports
as such; rather, it mainly consists of copies of documents such as
messages, memoranda, and duty officer log entries. This is because
unidentified flying object reports are of transitory interest to the
Air Force and permanent files are not maintained. In addition, please
note that much of the enclosed material has been released to various
people and organizations under the Freedom of Information Act.
We trust the information attached will be helpful and hope to get
additional information to you as soon as possible.
Attachments to the letter included memos, messages, and log entries
relating to the sightings at Loring, Wurtsmith, Malmstrom,
Falconbridge, and miscellaneous other reports. Clark was careful to
emphasize that UFO records were of "transitory interest" and that
"permanent files are not maintained"; that is, UFOs are not important
and are no cause for concern. This is almost the precise wording of the
Air Force's response to Barry Greenwood in 1977 in which UFOs were
described as "transient in nature" with "no permanent record or file
maintained" (see Chapter 1). Apparently, even when you think you are
getting a direct, personal reply, you still receive a canned response.
The letter also stresses the fact that the material had been released
to various people and organizations under the Freedom of Information
Act. If it were not for the relentless digging by researchers to
unearth the information, much of which required lawsuits to obtain,
what might the Air Force response have been?
There probably would have been no reason for a response. Congressman
Stratton could never have read the Parade article, since Parade would
have had nothing to write about. No documents would have been available.
Any hopes that a Congressional hearing might have been convened were
dashed because Stratton did not pursue the matter after receiving the
Clark letter and attachments. Why?
He pressed for various measures to close off the flow of information
56 Wurtsmith and Others
from the military to the public and even urged substantial penalties
for those who might print more than what the Pentagon would allow them
Under these circumstances, it's obvious why Stratton said nothing more
of the 1975 incidents. He avoided all attempts by investigators to
contact him in his office, and no statements were given. His interest
in 1975 is quite understandable, as any heavily pro-military person
would be concerned over the Air Force's difficulty in dealing with the
The fact that some individuals managed to locate specifics about the
sightings was a necessary evil that the Air Force had to live with. The
hope was that the small number of people who had this information would
not have enough of a voice to draw attention. This worked until Parade
picked up the baton.
Fortunately for the Air Force, Stratton was the only Congressman who
asked weighted questions. He was friendly to the military and would not
make waves. Politics did not enter into the 1975 picture in a serious
way hereafter. The ball was definitely back in the court of the UFO
As strange as the 1975 activity seems, it was only a microcosm of UFO
activity over the years. It has been estimated that for each UFO
sighting reported, ten others go unreported. We might apply the same
figures to military-oriented UFO sightings. Perhaps the differential
between reported and unreported sightings is even larger in this case
due to the more restricted atmosphere within the military for revealing
If the reports proved one thing, they showed that for a "transient"
phenomenon, UFOs were pretty persistent.