Nuclear Connection Project
NCP Paper

NCP-04: A Project is Born
A Nuclear Connection

Francis Ridge
Coordinator, NCP

Updated: 6/26/2002
In 1945, in southern New Mexico, at Los Alamos Laboratories, scientists were developing and testing the first nuclear weapons in great secrecy. The need for extensive flight support and test facilities reasonably near Los Alamos became apparent, and during September 1945, units of the Z Division of Los Alamos Laboratory were moved to Sandia Base at Albuquerque. The unit was the predecessor of Sandia Corporation, which was organized in 1949. It became, and (as Sandia National Laboratories) remains, the largest resident unit on Kirtland and has consistently been involved with development and testing of special weapons and energy sources and systems. Today this includes LASER weapons, particle beams, and plasma weapons - "Star Wars" weapons. 

Other nuclear-related units were formed at Sandia Base and nearby Kirtland AFB, as the west side was redesignated in 1947. The Armed Forces Special Weapons Project (later the Defense Atomic Support Agency, then the Defense Nuclear Agency) operated Sandia Base and provided support to the Secretary of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and military departments in matters concerning nuclear weapons, nuclear effects, and testing. In addition, the Air Force Special Weapons Command was established at Kirtland in 1949 and was redesignated the Air Force Special Weapons Center in 1952 to help develop advanced nuclear weapons. 

During the 1940s and 1950s, air defense, weather, and atomic test squadrons operated form Kirtland, and people from both bases took part in the nuclear test series conducted in Nevada and the Pacific. 

These facilities in the southwest, including Kirtland, were very important to us, and apparently, to someone else. On November 4, 1957, an incident occurred at Kirtland AFB (Ref. 1) that for years got lost in the shuffle and was "explained away" by Air Force Project Blue Book. Even the Condon Committee wrote it off. Then along came a dedicated researcher, Dr. James E. McDonald from the University of Arizona. He found that no one had really interrogated the witnesses and that literally everyone had missed a very important close encounter with something we still don't have in the U.S. inventory, an egg-shaped craft that has been seen many times before to fly with its longer axis in a vertical position. 

There are three principal types of objects that eventually belong to this group of "small" UFOs. One of them is a type "a"; an egg-shaped machine about 6- to 8-ft long that flies with the long axis vertical, comparable in size to a compact sedan. Manned or unmanned, this was not a conventional aircraft that just happened to wander into Kirtland's restricted airspace. It ha hovered over the "Drumhead Area" for about a minute, just yards NE of the Weapons Storage Area bunkers, and was very close to the area where the B-58 "Hustler" operated, which was just beginning its nuclear qualification testing at the time. And the object had come in from the east and must have passed just north of the main WSA at Manzano Mountain.. 


My interest in the "nuclear connection" began in the 1980's, but my desire to pursue it further began just a few years ago while writing my book (Ref. 2).. I am well-versed in UFO military history, in particular, and I've always been impressed with the first major sighting wave in the United States, which was in the summer of 1947. Two years before, in August of 1945, we were forced to drop two atomic bombs on Japan (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and almost 200,000 civilians perished. Without any stretch of the imagination, it is now easy to see that an "outsider" who had good  intelligence information at the end of the second World War, would have been able to predict that these weapons of mass destruction, already used by one of the most civilized countries on Planet Earth, would probably be used again. With 150 different tribes of people that existed on the planet, all of which had tribal warfare as their number one pastime, this must have seemed likely. In 1947 those weapons and those delivery systems were being tested in the same region as the massive UFO activity: the Southwest.

The first major sighting wave occurred in the United States in the summer of 1947 with over 800 reports in six weeks, half of which were sightings of "daylight discs" or ""flying saucers"? The sightings peaked and ceased within days of a reported crash of an object at Roswell, New Mexico, the HQ for the 509th Bomb Group, the only atomic bomb group in the world. A more technically interesting and potentially-threating area on the face of the Earth did not exist in the summer of 1947. 


The "green fireballs", which were a piece of the UFO puzzle that I had always avoided because they were very much like meteors, and very much unlike "flying saucers", began to fit into the puzzle. These strange objects were not meteors or foreign missiles, and they had high selectivity for nuclear installations. A lot of people were concerned; some were worried.

More Reports

UFO sightings near atomic power plants and other nuclear installations were already on record. Project Blue Book's, Captain Edward Ruppelt, in his 1956 book (The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects) stated that "UFO's were habitually reported from areas around "technically interesting" places like our atomic energy installations, harbors, and critical manufacturing areas. Our studies showed that such vital military areas as Strategic Air Command and Air Defense Command bases, some A-bomb storage areas, and large military depots actually produced fewer reports than could be expected from a given area in the United States. Large population centers devoid of any major 'technically interesting' facilities also produced few reports." Whether he didn't know, or couldn't say, the incidents near and over areas with a nuclear connection were prevalent. There were over 193 incidents!  There were many, detailed reports, where objects had violated airspace over atomic installations and caused major concern,  ten years before the one at Kirtland (1957) mentioned earlier, and they continued after that up until one of the most dangerous times in world history, 1962. 

Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)

I was the Director of the UFO Filter Center at Mt. Vernon, Indiana, from 1973 to 1995 and operated the MADAR (UFO detection) Project at the same time. Whenever I would get on-going sightings referred to me from law enforcement or the Evansville airport control tower, I would contact one of our volunteer spotters close to the sighting area to check the sky sector. One of our SKYNET spotters (who had always maintained a low profile because of his former occupation) had been a defense radarman. Several of his hair-raising accounts had to be kept confidential until after his death. When he passed away I filed his reports with CUFOS and MUFON, and later, posted them on the NICAP site. The most disturbing one was regarding a jet scramble mission over New York during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The UFO was being pursued by AF jets with nuclear tipped missiles.  


Five years later we were still not being "invaded" by ET. There had to be some other purpose behind the surveillance. In March of 1967, unknown objects had caused eight Minuteman One, nuclear-tipped missiles, all of which were on different electrical circuits, to go into a "no-go" condition, meaning that they could not be launched. This incident was of extreme concern to SAC headquarters and Boeing, because they couldn't explain it. At first this seemed like an isolated event. Was someone testing our defenses and showing our vulnerabilities? Did they favor the United States? Or was this a warning? Were we about to do something rash and was stopped, or was this timed for some other reason or purpose? We still don't know, but it happened again in 1975.


When the Freedom Of Information Act documents began to circulate in the mid-80's, I studied the 1975 northern tier SAC base over flights, and started taking more interest in similar events. At about the same time as I was going over my set of the cleared FOIA documents, I had participated as the sole guest on a two-hour call-in radio talk show for WGBF in Evansville, Indiana. One of the "callers" was a former AF security team member at NORAD in November of 1975, and he reported an incident that must have been part of something much bigger going on in the United States that winter. I was later contacted by the anonymous caller and was able to fully investigate the incident, which involved a total "lock-down" of Cheyenne Mountain after defense radarmen tracked UFOs. So there were SAC base over flights on the northern tier and at NORAD HQ, all at the same time. It is interesting to note that the Travis Walton abduction occurred at about the same time.

Late 90's

By April, 2000, my interest had reached a more serious level, and I began getting incidents and people together. I began to form a special working group I dubbed the Nuclear Connection Project. At about the same time I obtained a DVD called "Trinity & Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie". While viewing this film, narrated by William Shatner, I became extremely uneasy. It shouldn't have bothered me at all because I had been in Civil Defense in the late 50's as a radiological monitor and had even begun training as a Radiological Defense Officer. I had shown some of the same films in some of my training classes. And in the military I was a CBR Specialist. The only difference was my new perspective after almost forty years of UFO research involving military incidents, and our recent brush with a potential nuclear threat in the Middle East.  The distinct impression I got was remarkably similar to the world's dealings with Iraq.  

BTW, most people would find it hard to believe that there has been over 2300 actual or putative atomic tests conducted on Planet Earth, and some in space!!! And there are rumors that at least once or twice, nuclear weapons were fired at the Moon!!!! 

The suspicions about a nuclear connection and certain UFO incidents was already strong. It was time to organize and go to work. And this time the work would be done without the controversy and limitations of communication with other email lists, which were always loaded with "skeptibunkers" and weirdoes that would waste what little precious time we had. The work would be done confidentially, with occasional help from the "outside" lists. 

My forty-plus years experience in UFO investigation and research began with my chairing Indiana's first NICAP investigation subcommittee in 1960. My seven-man team for the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena took part in some of the most interesting investigations of the early years and was selected to support the University of Colorado's investigation and check on the Air Force Project Blue Book. I later became State Director for the Mutual UFO Network and a Field Investigator for the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies. I operated the MADAR (Multiple Anomaly Detection & Automated Recording) station near Evansville, Indiana, for 21 years. I began work on the NICAP Public Information Website on Dec 15, 1997. 

Some of the other members of the NCP Working Group had provided some very interesting information and had submitted  reports.

Loren Gross was a perfect candidate for the Project with his knowledge and meticulous records of the most important years in UFO research, the late 40's and early 50's. His series of booklets, "UFOs: A History", provided vital and important information. In one booklet (Reference 4 is an extract from one) he states: 

"No striking pattern to UFO activity was evident with one exception --some marked activity in the U.S. southwest in late 1948 on through 1949. What was so special about that area?" Later in the report he gets more specific: "Due to the difficulties previously mentioned, it wasn't until the spring of 1949 that the U.S. manufactured enough bombs to have a 'stockpile.' It is suggested that the 'green fireballs' that appeared over Sandia in late 1948 bear a direct relationship to a sudden ramp-up of American nuclear weapon production. Also, later, in March,1949, when strange 'flares' appeared around the 'Q' area at Fort Hood, it is suggested that this interest by the UFOs was triggered by the recent arrival of the first shipment of atomic bombs which was stored as America's first nuclear bomb stockpile."

The connection began to get better and our NCP Working Group began to grow in number. I wanted  a select, but small and well-versed group. One of the first to join, and one of the first to mention a possible nuclear connection, was Richard Hall. 

Richard Hall was former Assistant Director and Acting Director of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) in Washington, DC and is now my chief consultant on the NICAP Public Information Web Site. Richard has over 40 years of experience, including extensive work on scientific publications. He was a consultant to the University of Colorado UFO Project, sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. He is the author of, just to name a few books: the "UFO Evidence" (1964), "Uninvited Guests" (1988), and the latest - "Volume II: The UFO Evidence" (2001).  Richard was thinking about a nuclear connection about the same time as I was. Here's what he had to say:  

"It was not until I began reviewing reams of literature while doing research for The UFO Evidence, Volume II, in the mid-1990s that a more obvious pattern began to emerge: a strong correlation of sightings with nuclear weapons." (See Reference 5).

Larry Hatch, an early member of the NCP Working Group, had something the Project needed really bad: a database of sightings. Our group needed a checklist of UFO cases involving a potential or possible nuclear connection already on-record. After we digested those we would start looking for more incidents. To our surprise, we found that his "U" Database already had 193 cases "flagged" with a nuclear connection. This list is growing as we proceed in our NCP research. To see the current detailed list, click on Reference 3.

Wendy Connors, who continues to research the modern history of the unidentified flying object phenomenon, never ceases to amaze us with her findings. It's going to be hard to beat her to the "smoking gun" we are all looking for. For the last seven years she has worked on bringing to the field of Ufology an illustrative historical perspective of Project SIGN. She also operates and maintains the Faded Discs Archive. Her most recent work, is entitled: Anatomy of a Project An Illustrated History of Project SIGN.  

Jerry Washington was born and raised in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, site of the Manhattan Project, birthplace of the atomic bomb. He is an author and scriptwriter whose autobiographical tale, "Evacuation Road", chronicles the oddities of growing up in the Atomic City. An extremely close encounter near the "bomb factory awakened me to the reality of the UFO phenomenon". One of our earliest members, this man lived near one of the hottest UFO areas in the world, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Jerry wrote several papers about his experiences there. See Reference  7.

Our most recent additions to the Project are Steven Dunn, Joel Carpenter, Robert Duvall and Bruce Maccabee.

Steven Dunn,  after receiving a BA in Physics from The Lincoln University located near Oxford, PA in 1974, joined the U. S. Navy, obtaining his Surface Warfare Officer qualification. He served as an officer in the U. S. Navy from 1976 to 1986. Since leaving the Navy, he has worked in the ASW field for various government contractors, specializing in software test and evaluation. He is now concentrating on the Indian subcontinent for NCP-related sightings, using open sources.  

Joel Carpenter's father was stationed at a Strategic Air Command base in the midwest at the height of 1960s Cold War tensions. An avid collector of documentation and photographs on aircraft, spacecraft and missiles, Joel is interested in the relationship between post WWII experimental aerospace projects and the UFO phenomenon. He holds degrees in history and industrial design. It was Joel who pointed out two nuclear connections with the 1957 Kirtland incident. With the help of an informant I was able to verify certain information and found another "connection", making this one of the best NC cases so far on record.

Robert  Duvall has been in the aerospace electronics field performing mechanical packaging design for 20 plus years. At the urging of a fellow researcher from Japan, he became familiar with the history of nuclear weapons development globally and in 1999 began applying that military/political history to nuclear sighting data to search for correlation. He is now dedicating all efforts to studying and documenting this apparent correlative activity in an attempt to understand intent around the nuclear weapons issue. For example, most people are not aware that there were serious nuclear bomber training missions from an aircraft carrier in the Vietnam region the summer before the famous Northeast Power Grid Failure of November 9, 1965. The correlation between actual UFO sightings and blackouts has been pretty well confirmed (See Power Outages & UFOS). And that on July 16, 1952, just three days before the Washington National Sightings, the joint chiefs made the recommendation for a first strike on Red China utilizing atomic weapons. There is much more. Click on Reference 9.

Bruce Maccabee, a "seasoned" UFO investigator and well-known researcher, has expertise within the NCP and will be valuable with his skills as a photo analyst and his knowledge concerning important UFO events and government involvement. Bruce investigated the 1980 Kirtland landing near the Manzano Weapons Storage area. 

The NCP Team, along with its demanding workload, is proceeding very well. The UFO community and the public, will be advised of our findings at an appropriate time. The work is just beginning to pay off, even though the Project is already over two years old. 

1.  "Kirtland AFB Incident - 1957" - NICAP Site
2.  "Regional Encounters: The FC Files", (1994) - Francis Ridge
3.  "NCP-03: UFO Sightings & Nuclear Sites" - Larry Hatch (*U* UFO DATABASE)
4.  "NCP-01: Some Early Patterns" - Loren Gross
5.  "NCP-08: The Nuclear Connection" - Richard Hall
6.  "NCP-04:  UFO Intelligence Summary: Selected Incidents" - Francis Ridge
7.  "NCP-09: Oak Ridge Native Speak - An Introduction" - Jerry Washington
8.  "NCP Working Group"
9.  "NCP-10   Nuclear Historical Correlative Research" - Robert Duvall

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