Part 2 - 8 - Incident 30:  The Clinton County Incidents


 
 
Incident 30

Captain Charles McGee Statement

CHECK-LIST - UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS



Very bright white light southwest of the field. The light did not cast a beam and seemed the size of a flood light. From the ground the light appeared to move westward. It was further west and lower than I saw it in the air, also the light was similar to that of a lantern light in that it was glimmering. The light varied yellowish to orange and appeared to be descending and burning out. The latter observation may be that in its westward movement it appeared to be fading out and descending however the light was not nearly as bright on the second observation. At first it was very white and did not appear to be moving though when it flashed on and off it appeared as in a fast descent. With the naked eye I could at no time make out any shape other than the light being oval shaped as though looking at a large spot light. It was not a heavenly body of any type in that the sky was solid overcast in the Lockbourne area and the object’s movement outweighs such a thought. I heard no noise in connection with the object. I estimated at the first observation that it was 4-5 miles southwest of the base. At the second appearance it was 6-7 miles west and moved westerly in a hovering manner but moving away.



AIRDROME OPERATIONS                             CH?/wew
LOCKBOURNE ARMY AIR BASE
Columbus 17, Ohio

ADGP/319.1 14 January 1948

SUBJECT:       Report of' Unusual Circumstance.
TO:                  Commanding Officer, 332d Fighter Wing, Lockbourne Army Air Base, Columbus 17, Ohio.

1.  At approximately 1925 EST on the 7 January 1948 I turned to runway 23 for an overhead approach at traffic altitude (1500 ft). Just prior to break-away saw a very bright white 1ight southwest of the Field. I began my 360° approach. It struck me that the light was very unusual and it was not on the ground so I looked in its direction at again from my base leg position, It appeared the same and as though it were about 3000 feet is the air. While on my base leg the light suddenly disappeared. The light did not cast e beam and seemed the size of a flood light. While on my approach it flashed on and off again immediately. I landed and taxied to the ramp thinking that it may have been a reflect­ion from the ground or the like.

2. Before flying I had heard part of an interphone conversation from Letterson Center to Olmstead Center relative to a circular object seen over Tennessee. I returned to the Operations Building. While there the airways operator, Mr. Eisele, said the tower operator, Mr. Boudreaux, reported seeing something unusual southwest of the field. I stated that I had seen an unusual light and suggested calling him to check. We called the tower on the "squawk" box, and Mr. Boudreaux, said the light was what he had been watching about 15 minutes or so and that through the field glasses it appeared to have bluish streaks like a jet effect out from the right. He stated that it went out while I was in the pattern.

During the conversation he said it could be seen again (1935-1940). We went to the door to observe.

3. From the ground the light appeared to move westward. It was further west and lower than I saw it in the air, also the light was similar to that of a lantern light in that it was glimmering. The light varied yellowish to orange and appeared to be descending and burning out. It moved very slowly and finally disappeared. The latter observation may be that in its westward movement it appeared to be fading out and descending, however the light was not nearly as bright on the second observation.



Ltr, Subj: Report of Unusual Circumstance (13 Jan 48) cont'd

At first it was very white and did not appear to be moving though when it flashed on and off it appeared as in a fast descent. With the naked eye I could at no time make out any shape other than the light being oval shaped as though looking directly at a large spot 1ight.

4. This object was too large and too sharp a light to be a reflection from the ground. It was not a heavenly body of any type in that the sky was solid overcast in the Lockbourne area and the object’s movement outweighs such a thought. I heard no noise in connection with the object. I estimated at the first observation that it was 4-5 miles southwest of the base. At the second appearance it was 6-7 miles west and moved westerly in a hovering manner but moving away. The winds at this time were west-southwest averaging 6 miles per hour.

Charles E. McGee
Captain USAF
Ass’t Opns Officer 


Incident 30a

Albert R. Pickering Statement
CHECK-LIST ­ UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS



When first sighted around 1925 Eastern Standard Time, the object appeared to hover in one position for quite some time, moving very little. It disappeared once for about a minute (presumably entering overcast). After emerging below the overcast it circled one place for the duration of three 360° turns, then moved to another position and circled some more. Turns required approximately 30 to 40 seconds each ­ diameter estimated about 2 miles.

In moving from one place to another a tail (approximately the same color ­ amber ­ as the object) appeared which seemed to be about 5 times the length of the object. The shape of the object was either round or oval and appeared about the size of a C-47 plane. Just before disappearing it came very near the ground, stayed about 10”, then climbed back to its original position at a very fast rate of speed, leveled off, and disappeared into the overcast (10,000 ft) heading 120” (120°). Its speed was greater than 500 MPH in level flight. Visible for some 30 minutes. No noise or sound could be heard. The color of the object itself was an amber light but the intensity was not sufficient to obscure the outline of the configuration which was approximately round. During the up and down movement no maneuvering took place. Motions like that of an elevator ­ climbing and descending vertically. The exhaust trail was noticeable only during forward speed. At one time the object appeared to touch the ground.

NOTE:  Appeared approximately 3 to 5 miles away from Lockbourne in immediate vicinity of Commercial Point (Reports from Clinton Cty Airport, Godman Fld & from pilot of plane in vicinity of Columbus indicate the distance to be much greater)

NOTE ON RELIABILITY:            See incidents 30, 30b and 30c ­ corroborating accounts



DETACHMENT 733rd AF BASE UNIT
103rd AACS SQUADRON
LOCKBOURNE ARMY AIR BASE
COLUMBUS 17, OHIO

SUBJECT:   Report of Unusual Circumstance.
TO:              Commanding Officer, 332d Fighter Wing, Lockbourne Army Air Base, Columbus 17, Ohio

On Wednesday January 7, 1948 at about 1925 Eastern time I observed in the sky an object which I could not identify. It appeared to hover in one position for quite some time, moving very little. It disappeared once for about a minute and I assumed it entered the overcast, which was about 10,000 feet. After descending again below the overcast it circled one place for the duration of three 360 degree turns, then moved to another position to circle some more. Turns required approximately 30 to 40 seconds each, diameter estimated about two miles.

In moving from one place to another a tail was visible or approximate five times the length of the object. Not knowing how close or far the object was from me at the time, I could not estimate the size very accurately, but it appeared as large or larger than one of our C 47 planes, and of a different shape. Either round or oval shaped. Just before leaving it came to very near the ground, staying down for about ten seconds, then climbed at a very fast rate back to its original altitude, 10,000 feet, leveling off and disappearing into the overcast heading 120°. Its speed was greater than 500 mph in level flight. It was visible to me for a period of twenty minutes. No noise or sound could be detected. The color was amber light but not sufficiently bright to cover or obscure the outline of the configuration which was approximately round. During up and down movement no maneuvering took place. Motions was same as an elevator, climbing and descending vertically. Exhaust trail was noticeable only during forward speed. It appeared as a thin mist approximately same color (amber) as the object. Length about 5 times length of object.

During descent it appeared to touch the ground or was very close to touching it. It was approximately 3 to 5 miles away from Lockbourne Air Base in immediate vicinity of COMMERCIAL POINT. It positively was not a star, comet or any astronomical body to the best of my knowledge of such things. I also rule out the possibility of it being a balloon, flare, dirigible, military or private aircraft.



Ltr, Subj:            Report of Unusual Circumstance, 14 Jan 48 (Cont’d)

I am 26 years old and in good health and have excellent vision. I have been actively engaged in aviation for 6 years. I have a private pilot license and spent 3 years 10 months in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a Sergeant link trainer instructor, instrument flight observer.

The statements made herein are true and accurate to the best of my knowledge and may be used for any official purpose as deemed necessary.

ALBERT R. PICKERING
VHF/DF Operator
CAF


Incident 30b

Alex A. Boudreaux Statement

USAF-SIGN8-219

CHECK-LIST - UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS


USAF-SIGN8-220

RESTRICTED

Saw what he thought was a star but then he noticed the sky was overcast so it couldn't have been a star. It was a glowing object with a cone-shaped streak to the right. It glowed from white to amber. He says he first noticed it over the Lockbourne Power Plant; just southwest of here. The object was moving southwest and it changed from amber to red and then disappeared. Mr. Boudreaux, said the light was what he had been watching about 15 minutes or so and that through the field glasses it appeared to have a bluish streaks like a jet effect out from the right. He stated that it went out while Capt. McGee was in the pattern. During the conversation he said it could be seen again (1935-1940).


USAF-SIGN1-260

DETACHMENT 733rd AF BASE UNIT
103rd AACS SQUARDON
LOCKBOURNE ARMY AIR BASE
COLUMBUS 17, OHIO

SUBJECT:       Report of Unusual Circumstance.
TO:                  Commanding Officer, 332d Fighter Wing, Lockbourne Army Air Base, Columbus 17, Ohio

On Wednesday January 7th between 1915 and 1930, there appeared in the sky a bright glowing object which I could not identify. At first I assumed it to be a star but the sky being overcast, I knew definitely that it was not a star nor an aircraft because the only aircraft flying in the local area was landing at the time. It was not a aircraft flare nor a balloon because it appeared to be enormous in size. I then observed it through binoculars. It appeared to be cone-shaped, blunt on top and tapering off toward the bottom. I could not distinguish the attitude in which the object appeared to be. It was going from a bright white to an amber color with a small streak trailing. It was at a distance between 5 and 7 miles from the control tower at an altitude of approximately 2000 to 3000 feet bobbing up and down and moving in a south-southwesterly direction at a speed exceeding 500 miles per hour. Also the wind at the time was blowing from east to west and if it had been a balloon or lighter-than-aircraft it would have drifted in the direction the wind was blowing. There was no sound or unusual noise. Its performance was very unusual and the light emitting from it seemed to fade out at times. Just before it disappeared beyond the horizon the light changed to a sort of red color. The same object was later sighted in the vicinity of Clinton County Air Field by the operators on duty in the control tower.

I have actually engaged in aviation as an Air Traffic Control Tower Operator and a Private Pilot for a period of 5 years and thus for in all my experience, I have never encountered an optical illusion or any physical defect that would disqualify my possessions of such ratings.

ALEX A. BOUDREAUX
Air Traffic Controller
CAF-6


Incident 30c

Franklin Eisele Statement

USAF-SIGN8-221

CHECK-LIST - UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS


USAF-SIGN8-222

RESTRICTED

Object first seen 15° above horizon in the West-Southwest of Lockbourne emitting a ruddy red light which changed to an amber-yellow at intervals not exceeding 1 to 2 seconds. Its size and magnitude were greater than that of any star ­ a good comparison of the size and magnitude would be a runway light at full intensity viewed from a distance of 500 ft. Shape ­ circular with the exception of a thin wisp of tail extending towards the horizon, the tail being 5 times the diameter of the object in length. For approximately 10 minutes it remained motionless, thereupon it descended to the horizon in about 4”, hovered on the horizon in 3”, then ascended to its original position in about 3”, the course being elliptical, counter clockwise. It them faded and lowered toward the horizon disappearing at 1955. No sound was heard from the object at any time.

Note:    Object appeared about 5 miles from Lockbourne, however info received f/Godman Fld and Clinton County Tower plus a relayed report from a pilot over Columbus, Ohio, indicated that they all had observed a similar phenomenon in the same general direction and position at the same time.


RELIABILITY: Witness spent 37 mos in AF in communications work including C. W. and Control Tower Operation. Holds valid CAA Certificate for Control Tower Operator and Aircraft Communications and has worked at Lockbourne in this type of work for over 1-1/2 yrs. Enthusiast of astronomy.

CORROBORATED ACCOUNT:            See also Incidents 30, 30a and 30b



DETACHMENT 733rd AF BASE UNIT
103rd AACS SQUADRON
LOCKBOURNE ARMY AIR BASE
COLUMBUS 17, OHIO

SUBJECT:       Report of Unusual Circumstance.
TO:                  Commanding Officer, 332d Fighter Wing, Lockbourne Army Air Base, Columbus 17, Ohio

At  approximately 1940 hours January 7, the Control Tower Operator advised me that he had been observing a strange light in the Southwest for sometime. However by the time I reached the entrance steps in front of the Operations Building the light had disappeared. I had not returned to my position for more than 2 minutes when the tower operator advised the light had again appeared. I returned to the operations steps and this time I saw the object.

It was 15 degrees above the horizon to the West Southwest of Lockbourne, emitting a ruddy red light changing to an amber-yellow at intervals not exceeding 1 to 2 seconds. Its size and magnitude was greater than that of any star. A good comparison of size and magnitude would be with one of the runway lights turned on at full intensity as viewed from a distance of 500 feet.

Its shape appeared to be circular with the exception of a thin wisp of tail extending towards the horizon the tails length being 5 diameters of the object long. From the time I first saw the object to approximately 1950 hours, it appeared to remain motionless in the sky. At this time the object descended to the horizon in an interval of about 4 seconds, hovered on the horizon for about 3 seconds, and then ascended to its original position in an interval of 3 seconds. Its course was elliptical, counter clockwise. It then faded and lowered towards the horizon and disappeared at 1955 hours. There was no sound audible from the object at any time.

Its distance appeared to be about 5 miles from Lockbourne. However, information received from Clinton County Tower that they too observed a similar or the same object in the same general direction and position at the same time as our observations at Lockbourne. If the object were the same the distance would be much greater than 5 miles, and velocity well to the excess of 500 miles per hour. The object actually looked to be traveling at a speed around 500 miles per hour.


USAF-SIGN1-259

Flight Service also advised that Godman Field observed a similar phenomenon at the same time, and that the object disappeared at 2006 hours at Godman.

Clinton advised the object they observed disappeared about 2000 hours. It is not know to me what time either Clinton or Godman first observed the object or objects. The information from Clinton and Flight Service was received by direct line telephone communication from Clinton and Flight Service at Patterson. Our Weather Department was reporting a high overcast and not one heavenly body was visible. The object apparently being under the overcast, and its erratic movement proves that it was not an astronomical phenomenon . Air Force 9944, a C-45, relayed a position report to the Lockbourne Airways, over Columbus at 1953 hours at 5000 feet, on a round robin flight from Wright Field to Washington and return. I asked him if he had seen any strange light to the West Southwest of his position and he reported that he observed a bright light off his right wing, appearing like an oversized beacon.

I have been a member of the American Museum of Natural History which is closely associated with the Hayden Planetarium of New York City for 6 years, and have always been somewhat of an enthusiast of Astronomy.

I spent 37 months in the Air Force in communications work including Command Control Tower Operation. I now hold a valid CAA Certificate for Control Tower Operator and Aircraft Communications and have worked at Lockbourne in this type of work for better than 1 ½ years.

I am of sound mind and health, and am of 25 years of age. I have described the incident exactly the way I saw it, also as to what I heard on the interphones.

FRANK M. EISELE
Airways Operator
CAF-7


USAF-SIGN1-265

DET 103rd AACS
LOCKBOURNE A. B. COLUMBUS, OHIO

13 JANUARY 1948

SUBJECT: Report on Unusual Circumstance                                                   Inc #30c

TO:      CO 332nd FIGHTER WING LOCKBOURNE A B

At approximately 1940 hrs. Jan. 7th the Control Tower operator advised he observed an extremely strange bright light in the south west. However by the time I reached the operation steps at the entrance the light faded out. About two minutes later the Tower advised that the phenomenon was visible again. This time I saw the object at about 15 degrees above the horizon to the west south west of Lockbourne. The object was extremely bright, more so then any star, I would say about as large as and as bright as one of the runway lights at full intensity as viewed from the Control Tower. It appeared to have a tapering tail about 5 diameters long and predominantly was of a ruddy red color changing to a amber-yellow at different intervals.

The position of the object in the sky and the fact that we were reporting a high overcast at the time added to the mystery.

Up until approximately 1950 hrs the object appeared to be motionless, at this time, however, it descended to the horizon in an interval of about 3 or 4 second, hovering there for 3 or 4 seconds and then ascended to its' original position in an interval of about 3 seconds. It then rapidly began to fade and lower in the sky and disappeared about 1955 hrs.

AF9944 xntd a position report to me at 1953 hrs over Columbus at 5,000 ft on round robin out of Wright Field to Washington and return, and reported a mysterious bright light to the west south west of his position, appearing like an oversized beacon

Further information on reports from other stations observing the phenomenon can be obtained from flight service at Patterson.

Franklin Eisele
S. Kaminski, E.M.


Major Campbell Report

Report of Foreign Object in Sky
Major Campbell: 332d Fighter Group.

No information came out of critiques while the Fighter Group was at Godman Field to indicate the appearance of any foreign objects in the sky. Pilots were questioned as to whether they had seen anything unusual while flying in this vicinity, or had contacted anyone at Godman Field, and replied in the negative. Maj. Campbell, personally, has not noticed anything unusual.

Capt. Watson investigated and received the following information:

Mr. Boudreaux, Tower Operator. He says he saw what he thought was a star but then he noticed the sky was overcast so it couldn’t have been a star. It was a glowing object with a cone-shaped streak to the right. It glowed from white to amber. He says he first noticed it over Lockbourne Power Plant; just southwest of here. The object was moving southwest and it changed from amber to red and then disappeared. This happened between 1915 and 1930 EST on 7 January. The only thing he did was to talk to Capt. McGee about it and Mr. Eisele, the DF Operator.

Mr. Eisele, DF Operator. He says he saw it too before he and Mr. Boudreaux got together. Both observed it at the same time but didn’t talk it over until after the thing had appeared and said each was looking at it without knowing it. He saw a strange light that faded out and came back again. This light was west southwest of the field about 15° above the horizon. The light was much brighter than a star and appeared to be hanging motionless in the sky. It changed from ruddy red to amber and then to yellow and then back to red. It dipped to the horizon and back again several times. It also made several circles and it appeared to have a streak to the right of it.

Capt. McGee, Assistant Operations Officer: He saw the same thing about 1925 EST. He was flying at the time. He noticed a bright and unusual light southwest of Lockbourne and at first it looked like a spotlight but then noticing it there was no beam from the light at its source. As he turned on final approach to land he noticed that the light disappeared as if it had turned out. After he landed he gave it no further concern until he walked into Operations and the tower operator asked him if he had seen the light. Immediately after this conversation the Tower Operator called him outside the building to look again because the light had reappeared. The light appeared further west and much lower in the sky. The color had changed from a white color to an orange color. It continued to flicker and move westward and appeared to go out.



Around 1630 7 January, the P-51s in Kentucky were facing the object, whatever it was supposed to be. About 1635 one of them cracked up and conclusions were drawn by the man in the Lockbourne tower. This P-51 was stationed at Mitchel Field and Flight Service at Patterson Field was giving Flight Service at Middletown a summary of what had taken place during the afternoon. It seems that the conversation picked up again between Patterson Flight Service and Olmstead Flight Service around 1945 and at this time Mr. Eisele and Mr. Boudreaux told Flight Service at Patterson Field what they had seen a few minutes earlier. i.e., around 1915 ­ 1930, with regard to this light and also at the same time Clinton County broke in on the conversation and told them they had seen the same thing, and by some manner of means Godman Field got in on the conversation and told Flight Service they were observing the same phenomena ­ this happened at 1945.

The crack-up referred to was just something that was heard about over the interphone, but definite information regarding the light was given to Patterson Field Flight Service at 1945, 7 January.





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