Air Force Intelligence Report released to Maj. Donald E. Keyhoe
summarized a Navy report of "Three disc-shaped objects seen during
tracking of a balloon." (Keyhoe, 1953, Appendix II.)
Fifty years later a detailed account of the report finally has emerged. Writing in the U.S. Naval Institute magazine Naval History for October 2004, Commander Edward P. Stafford, USN (Ret.) relates what the article title describes as a "Cosmic Curiosity" observed by a Navy patrol plane flight crew under his command, operating out of Thule, Greenland.
After a mission to track a Navy "Skyhook" cosmic ray research balloon on August 29, 1952, one of his plane commanders, Lt. John Callahan, had returned looking "tense and pale.... deadly serious and obviously shaken." Callahan reported a startling sighting as he and his crew had been routinely following the giant balloon, periodically observing it through binoculars.
Suddenly Lt. Callahan noticed and alerted the others to "three shining, saucer-shaped metallic objects" that apparently had attached themselves to the trailing instrument package of the balloon.
After several minutes during which the binoculars were passed around, Callahan saw that the three discs had separated from the balloon and formed into a compact V-formation. As the air crew watched, the objects executed a vertical bank to the left, accelerated to a "blinding speed" and climbed out of sight in about 3 seconds.
Cmdr. Stafford states that Lt. Callahan immediately sat down and wrote a detailed report of the incident which was sent up through the chain of command to the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). "A report was also made to the Air Force authorities at Thule," he says.