Official clearance list, item 8. Gulf of Mexico area, December 6, 1952. B-29 training flight. Radar and visual reports, accurate details, double-checked; speeds computed showed UFO making 9,000 m.p.h.
The second case which Chop had just cleared was even more dramatic. This strange sighting occurred over the Gulf of Mexico, as a B-29 bomber was returning to its base in Texas. It was just before dawn on December 6, 1952 - less than 48 hours after Lieutenant Earl Fogle's near-collision at Laredo, Texas.
Approaching the end of a night practice flight to Florida, the B-29 was cruising in bright moonlight, at 18,000 feet. So far it had been a routine mission.
At 5:24 A.M. the big bomber, piloted by Captain John Harter, was 190 miles from Galveston and about 100 miles south of the Louisana coast. A minute before, Harter had called the radar officer, Lieutenant Sid Coleman, and asked him to turn on the set, so he could check the coast line on the auxiliary scope in the cockpit.
At 5:25, back in the ship, Coleman was watching the main radarseope to see if the coast showed up. Suddenly the blip of some unknown object appeared at one edge of the screen. When the sweep made its next revolution, Coleman jumped.
In that brief moment the unknown craft had gone 13 miles.
A third blip leaped onto the scope as the oncoming object streaked toward the B-29. For an instant it seemed they would meet head-on. Then Coleman saw their paths were diverging. He snatched up his stop-watch, yelled for the flight engineer.
"Bailey! Help me track this thing!"
Before the blips faded, Coleman and the staff sergeant swiftly computed the unknown's speed.
It was 5,240 miles an hour.
The two men gaped at each other, then Coleman grabbed his intercom mike and called the pilot.
"Captain-check your scope! We just clocked an un known at over 5,000."
"That's impossible," snapped Harter. "Recalibrate the set."
As Coleman hurriedly went to work, Master Sergeant Bailey bent over the scope.
"There's another one-two of them," he exclaimed.
A second later Lieutenant Cassidy, the navigator, cut in on the intercom.
"I've got 'em on my scope, too," he said tautly.
By the time Coleman finished recalibrating, the blips of four UFOs were racing across his screen. Abruptly, Harter's crisp voice came through the intercom.
"I've got four unknowns at 12 o'clock [dead ahead]. What do you show?"
"They're on all three scopes," said Coleman. "I've re calibrated-it's no malfunction."
Up in the cockpit, Harter incredulously watched the swift-moving blips cross his glass. As one approached on the right, he called out a hasty alert.
"Unknown at 3 o'clock!"
Back in the B-29, Bailey sprang to the right waist blister and peered out into the night. Astonished, he saw a blue- lit object streak from front to rear. Moving so fast it was only a blue-white blur, the saucer vanished under the bomber's wing.
The strange machine had hardly disappeared when another group of blips came onto all three scopes. Like the other machines, the new group was making over 5,000 miles an hour. To make it worse, they were all coming from almost dead ahead. Though their course still diverged enough to miss the bomber by miles, the slightest change might put the crew in instant peril. At those terrffic speeds they wouldn't have a prayer, and every man aboard knew it.
Six minutes after the first sighting, there was a sudden lull. As the scopes cleared, Coleman drew a long breath. Apparently the nightmare was over.
A minute passed. The tense airmen were slowly beginning to relax when a third group of blips flashed onto the scopes. Coleman seized his stop-watch again, swiftly called off the times and distances. Bailey figured the speeds, grimly nodded.
"Same as before," he muttered.
The radar officer bent over the screen. Two of the UFO's were rocketing by on the right.
"Unknowns at four o'clock!" he bawled into the mike.
Staff Sergeant Ferris beat Bailey to the waist blister. Open-mouthed, he watched two machines streak by- mere blurs of blue-white light.
Up in the cockpit, Harter's eyes were glued to the auxiliary scope. Forty miles away, five of the saucers were racing behind the bomber, cutting across its course.
Suddenly the saucers swerved, headed straight for the B-29. Harter froze. At their terrffic speed they would close the gap in three seconds.
But before he could move the controls, an incredible thing happened. Abruptly the onrushing UFO's slowed to the bomber's speed. For ten seconds they kept pace behind it, while the pilot held his breath.
Then, swiftly picking up speed, the unknown machines pulled off to one side. At the same moment Harter caught sight of a huge blip-a half-inch spot on the scope. Amazed, he saw the most fantastic thing of all.
Still moving at over 5,000 miles an hour, the smaller craft merged with the large machine. Instantly, the huge blip began to accelerate. Moving so fast that Harter sat stunned, it flashed across his scope and was gone.
A few moments later Coleman's awed voice came through the intercom.
"Captain, did you see that?"
"Yes-I saw it," said Harter.
"We clocked it," said Coleman. "You won't believe this-it was making over 9,000 miles an hour!"
"I believe it, all right," Harter said grimly. "That's just what I figured."
For the rest of the way he kept the crew on alert, but no more saucers appeared.
The meaning of what they had seen was inescapable. The discs had been launched from a huge mother ship for some type of reconnaissance mission. Probably it had covered parts of the United States, but at the discs' tremendous speed they could have been operating anywhere over the globe.
For a rendezvous, whoever guided the discs had chosen this point over the Gulf of Mexico. After the B-29 was sighted, one group of discs had been diverted for a brief observation or tracking. Then, flying at 5,000 m.p.h., they had been taken aboard the mother ship. And in a matter of seconds the huge machine had almost doubled its speed.
It was almost unbelievable. But the radar set had been working perfectly, and the visual confirmation, as Bailey and Ferris saw the machines flash by, was final, absolute proof. Three separate times during the operation saucers had been seen exactly where the three radarseopes showed them.
Captain Harter had radioed ahead, and Intelligence officers were waiting when they landed. Over and over the airmen were interrogated, separately and together. But nothing could shake their story, and statements in the report showed their firm conviction.
Captain Harter: "One group of blips was noted, after the set was calibrated, to arc about and swing in behind us at about 30 miles, and maintain speed and distance for approximately ten seconds . . Contact was broken off at 0535, after a group of the blips merged into a one half-inch arc and proceeded across the scope and off it at a computed speed of over 9,000 m.p.h."
Lieutenant Coleman: "I noticed one UFO approach our aircraft at a terrific rate of speed. I timed it as best I could with a stop-watch over a known distance and the flight engineer computed the speed at 5,240m.p.h. I alerted the entire crew to look for the objects visually, and flashes of light were noted. The closest the objects came was approximately 20 miles. I saw about 20 objects in all. I recalibrated the set and there was no change.
"The objects were small and possibly round, with the exception of one very large return shaped as follows, one- half-inch curved arc. I also noticed a large return come up to within 40 miles of our tail from behind and then disappear. To the best of my knowledge, I believe that this object was real and moved at an extremely high speed and was not a set malfunction or optical illusion."
Master Sergeant Bailey: "The radar operator clocked the object [the first one seen] and I computed the air speed of the object to average 5,240 m.p.h. Twice during the period, the radar operator reported an object to be passing at 3 o'clock. Upon looking out the window, I saw a blue-white streak travel front to rear and disappear under the wing."
Staff Sergeant Ferris: "After the radar operator reported objects approaching at 4 o'clock, I immediately looked in that position and saw two flashes of a blue-white nature for approximately three seconds."
As was to be expected, neither Bailey nor Ferris could make out the shape of the saucers. At their great speeds they were naturally only a blur.
Of all the official reports I'd seen, this was the most astonishing.Maj. Donald E. Keyhoe
Flying Saucers From Outer Space, 161