Ground Observers Report UFOs
This chapter presents a number of UFO sighting reports obtained from project Blue Book files which involved observers on the ground. That such sightings continued long after the Korean War is shown by an interesting case which took place in 1974 which was reported by Stringfield (1977).
April 5, 1952 Midnight Okinawa
This brief summary report was found in USAF intelligence report 131-52 dated 22 August 1952 (pg. 3). It is included here only to indicate that Korea was not the only place in the Far East where these strange events were taking place. Okinawa was the location of a U.S. military base about 600 miles south of Korea. Many other sightings were also made from Japan. Following are the salient details.
A single small luminous UFO was observed flying at about 20,000 feet altitude approaching Kadena AFB, Okinawa where the eye witnesses, all flight crew members, were standing. At first it flew in a straight and level path approaching from the north but then it began to maneuver over the base in violent high speed zig-zagging flight. It stopped momentarily and then maneuved around. Then it shot up out of sight heading west. It was in sight for about ten minutes. The white steady light had no definite shape but was larger than a star. It did seem to become larger as it approached or smaller as it departed. It made no noise and had no trail, sparks, or flame. Its speed was estimated to be faster than any conventional jet aircraft, estimated at 1,000 knots.
April 30, 1952 1800 Korean Time Battlelines
"Two while, silvery objects, one behind the other, rumbled high in the sky over a valley in a frontline sector at 6 p.m., April 30th, heading south-east into South Korea," stated a Stars and Stripes article by Sgt Bill McCorkle (April 1952 issue). He went on to point out that six members of the third platoon, Heavy Mortar Company, 180th Regiment, saw the objects. PFC H. B. Webb, a jeep driver, said that their speed was thought to be about 900 to 1000 mph. "A trail different than jet streams appeared behind them," he said.
Pvt. Roland Jones, another eyewitness said, "Jets passed over right before the objects, only they were Sabres going north. They were much slower than the southbound objects we saw." Mortar platoon leader, 2nd Lt. Bill Smith said, "They didn't have wings but they sounded similar to jets with their rumbling sound. But they weren't, I know. They were going way to (sic) fast .. and they started down, tumbling to earth, as they got out of view. Their trajectory before falling was flat and that proves they weren't mortars. They weren't jet gas tanks jettisoned off either as some theorized, as their trajectory knocks this idea too."
Note: Later, two holes were found in the ground in a reserve area. Each hole was about 25 feet apart, two feet wide, and seven and one-half feet long. Some felt that the "fresh holes" were caused by Chinese "Katyusha" rockets that had been used occasionally at the front. While it is possible that this or another type of enemy rocket that could fly horizontally was what was seen it isn't likely that this is what produced the two holes. No rocket casings were found and the size and shape of the holes were not those of a rocket explosion.
May 31, 1952 0400 Korean Time Korea
This ground radar site report was found in an Air Intelligence Information Report, dated 4 June 1952 prepared by Capt. John H. Cummings, 6004th AISS APO 970. An airman on duty at post #6 heard his field telephone ring. A guard at post #4 was calling to report seeing a "bright spot in the dark sky to the northeast... approaching fast." The object was oval shaped and about the size of a fighter aircraft. It was first seen at an estimated altitude of about 3,500 feet due north. It descended slowly to about 2,600 feet where it stopped for several seconds. The observer stated that it looked like a disc at this point. It had a sound like a pulsating jet engine at idle. Then it started moving east for about a mile with jerky movements and then stopped again momentarily.
(note) It reversed its direction abruptly and headed west for a short distance to almost its original position (when first seen). It stopped and hovered for a moment, then reversed direction, moving toward the east in a shallow climb and then a steep climb (about 45 degree angle) to the north and disappeared in from 3 to 4 seconds time. (also cf. Gross, pg. 90, 1982)
Drew Pearson, the noted newspaper columnist wrote: (The Washington Post; March 7, 1952) "The Pentagon has hushed it up, but radar units have actually tracked 25 "flying saucers." Each was sighted by at least one eyewitness and also picked up on the radar screen."
The description of the UFO given in Chapter 2 also included very erratic movements and a deep throbbing sound when the soldier's rifle bullet struck the aerial object.
June 25, 1952 1123 GMT Sawon
A wire to FEAF from CG FEAF, Tokyo, Japan dated 25 June 1952 referred to a ground sighting of UFOs at location K-14 (note 1) at 1123I. It looked like a "coin", dull silver and appeared to be spinning in a CW direction. Its diameter was estimated to be seven (7) times its thickness. Its edges were dark blue. "It was reported for shooting a course at an estimated speed of 300 knots, alternately revolving 360 degrees in seven (7) seconds and then proceeding on a spinning course for approximately 12 seconds. The object approached K-14 from the north, paused momentarily, and then rose straight up for 10 seconds, the exact altitude unknown, and then disappeared into the sky. A few seconds later this object was again observed by a second person at the same point of observation. The unidentified object which was seen proceeding at a rapid rate of speed from the south to the north at an approximately 45 degree angle, pausing and then returning in the same manner, each time passing in front of the sun and travelling an equal distance to each side of it. The time required to progress in one direction was three seconds." (Ibid.) (note 2)
1. Air base K-14 was located near Sawon, just south of Seoul.
2. This case contains some similar elements to the May 31, 1952 incident.
July 10, 1952 North Korea
Sailors on a Canadian destroyer sighted two shiny revolving discs race across the sky. Ship radar indicated their distance was seven miles. (Hall, pg. 160, 1964)
September 18, 1952 2230 Korean Time Western Korea
Gross (1986) notes a report in which "...six spark-throwing cartwheels were seen over the front lines by U.N. ground troops” for about 15 minutes at about 10:30 p.m. local time. Each object seemed to be about 18 inches in diameter and moved in a fifteen foot circle. (Lorenzen and Lorenzen, pg. 48, 1969)
October 19, 1952 Front Battle Line
Gross (Ibid., pg. 77) recounts another similar sighting as above where "cartwheel-like objects throwing sparks flew in a 15 foot orbit above the front on the west side of the military line of resistance (MLR)." J.A. Lajoie of "A" Corp. dismissed the flare possibility and suggested that the object resembled Fourth of July fireworks (Anon, 1952).
January 24, 1953 0650Z Suwon, Korea
This report appeared in USAF Intelligence Report IR-1-53 dated 26 January 1953. The observer, a Staff Sergeant, was on the ground looking upward at about 45 degrees elevation toward the east when he sighted two round objects for between three and five seconds. They appeared to glow a whitish silver color and were convex with a dark line or shadow traversing the base of each one. His estimate of their size was about twelve to fourteen inches in diameter and at a distance of about four miles away from him. As he continued to watch them they flew in trail in a gentle climb. They seemed to be travelling "considerably faster" than an F-86. No propulsion features, trails, exhausts or sounds were noted. They disappeared either into or behind a nearby cloud.
The following day the witness was interrogated again and changed his description of the objects. On the basis of this evidence the report states, "His judgment of speed, distance and elapsed time of observation are estimated to be unreliable." The report does not include any facts about what he said on the second day, however.
The official explanation for this sighting was PROBABLY AIRCRAFT because two F-86 jets had flown over the field at lunch time. "During these maneuvers, the aircraft at times appeared only as silver dots in the sky. If an observer did not follow these aircraft through the complete maneuver, it would have been almost impossible to tell what they were." (Ibid, pg. 3 of 3)
February 10, 1953 0025 Korean Time Cho-do, North Korea
Air Intelligence Information Report 62-3-53 dated 6 March 1953 contained the following ground sighting details. A Marine Sergeant, John Muciek, on communications watch at the communications tent of the USMC garrison at Cho-do, saw an object which looked like a falling star. The light was a steady white and moved in an approximately level path. Then "it stopped abruptly, and moved back and forth in that area (KC-5555)." The light was replaced by a red light and "...from then on, at intervals of approximately three (3) seconds, the light flashed alternately red to white." Sergeant Muciek then called to Corporal Hubert Hicks inside the tent to come out, which he did. He also saw the light. After another minute or so the object began to move away to the southwest. At no time was sound heard from the object. Then Sergeant Muciek phoned the sighting into the USMC Command Post.
The preparing officer was Donald Nichols, Detachment Commander. He noted that the next day he spoke with a Major Pak, KMC Commander, who said that he too had seen "...a flying saucer at approximately the same time with approximately the same phenomena as described by the two (2) Marines." (Ibid, pg. 2 of 3). The official USAF explanation on the summary card for this highly maneuverable light was ASTRO (VENUS). Nonetheless, Col. George D. Hastings, Deputy for Intelligence concluded that the witnesses saw a lighted balloon since "...a number of reports have been received of enemy activities with balloons...". (Ibid, pg. 3 of 3)
April 29, 1953 1700 - 1705 Korean Time Eastern Pacific Ocean
28 deg 14 min N 166 deg 5min W
A small metallic appearing object the approximate size of an F-80 fighter aircraft was sighted from the USNS General A. W. Brewster enroute to FEAF from San Francisco. It was about 5:00 pm local time when officers on the deck
sighted the UFO at the 3:00 o'clock relative position and 2,000 feet in the air, slightly below the clouds. It was about 1/2 mile away from the ship. The object seemed to "remain stationary for a few seconds, then turn at right angles towards the ship, gain altitude and travel in an arc to a position of 5 o'clock disappearing through the clouds aft of the ship."
"The object did not perform with the smooth control movements of any known aircraft. Rather its controlled actions were erratic with some turns at 90 degree angles and near vertical climbs. The movement from 3 to 5 o'clock was in an arc." The witness who reported this sighting estimated the speed of the object to be faster than a jet fighter aircraft.