One of the most fantastic accounts ... was recently brought to my attention (1974) by the Mutual UFO Network. (5) It involved the disappearance of a jet fighter and its radar officer during a UFO intercept mission originating from Otis Air Force Base in June of 1953. Here is a written report from one of the airmen who investigated this bizarre eventMaster Sergeant (retired) Clarence O. Dargie:
This is an account of the disappearance of an F-94C jet fighter-interceptor which has puzzled me for many years. I have personal knowledge of the circumstances because I was directly involved in the resultant investigation. . . . This happened at Otis Air Force Base ... on Cape Cod about 12 miles east of Buzzards Bay at the edge of old Camp Edwards. Just after dark an F-94C with classified electronic gear aboard took off in a westerly direction. The crew consisted of the pilot, Captain Suggs, and the radar officer [R/O], Lt. Barkoff. According to the pilot's sworn testimony, shortly after breaking ground at an altitude of 1500 feet over the Base Rifle Rangethe engine quit functioning and the entire electrical system failed. As the aircraft's nose dropped towards the ground at an ever-increasing angle, the pilot stopcocked the throttle and yelled to the R/O to bad out.
The normal bail-out sequence in this particular type of aircraft calls for the R/O to jettison the canopy by pulling a lever which activates explosive bolts, then pulling a second handle which ejects him from the aircraft by means of an explosive device under the seat. The pilot, upon hearing the second explosion, which tells him that the R/O is clear of the aircraft, is then free to eject. In this case, however, the pilot ejected immediately after the R/O jettisoned the canopy because the aircraft had now descended to about 600 feet at a steep angle and was about 3 seconds from impact.
The parachute opened and acted as an airbrake to slow the pilot down and stopped his- forward motion just as his feet hit the ground. He landed in the backyard of a house near the base, and the first indication that the owner had that there was something amiss was when he heard Captain Suggs calling out to his R/O, "Bob, where are you?"
The R/O could not be found and the pilot had a difficult time convincing the owner that his aircraft had crashed because the man had been sitting near an open screened window and had heard nothing. The crippled plane should have crashed near where Suggs landed but it wasn't there.
This caused one of the most extensive and intensive searches I have ever seen. . . . The Cape was literally combed, both on foot and from the air for three months without turning up a thing. The aircraft and the R/O were never found.
There are all sorts of points to ponder in this case. For example, if the aircraft did not impact on land, then it must have somehow reached Buzzards Bay some 12 miles away and crashed in the water. If this happened then someone would most certainly have seen or heard it because the bay is crowded with pleasure and commercial watercraft at this time of year. No one saw or heard it. In addition, the aircraft had a full fuel supply aboard and if it did not explode in flames on impact, it would have left a large fuel slick on the surface. There was no fuel slick. The Navy dragged the bay from end to end but no wreckage was found.
In view of the fact that the pilot stopcocked the throttle and the aircraft was descending at a steep angle only 600 feet from the ground when the pilot ejected, we can discount the possibility that the crash occurred in the water. This leaves us with the only other alternative and that is the fact that the aircraft, in all logic, impacted on the ground. This whole event took place in a well-populated area at the height of the tourist season. If it did crash in that area, it would have created a detonation heard for miles; yet, no explosion was heard, no flames were seen and no wreckage was found.
What caused the complete and simultaneous failure of all engine and electrical systems? Aircraft systems have then- own separate power sources so if one power source fails, the others are not affected; yet the pilot swears that, without warning, the cockpit lights, navigation lights, instruments, radio and engine simply went dead.
In the final analysis, it would seem that the aircraft and the R/O literally vanished into some form of oblivion in the 3 seconds between the time that Captain Suggs left the aircraft at 600 feet and the time it should have crashed to earth. As far as I know, the aircraft and the R/O were never found. At least it hadn't been located as of December 1954, when I was reassigned to an overseas station. Where are they? . . . Some of the circumstances involved in this case were classified and I have had to frame my story around them. Jets of this nature were dispatched to intercept aerial objects that failed to respond to radar identification. It was on just this type of mission that this aircraft vanished [italics mine].6
I attempted to find others who were stationed at Otis Air Force Base during the sighting time frame in order to supplement Mr. Dargie's account. I managed to talk to quite a few Air Force pilots who had been stationed at Otis and Westover Air Force Bases in Massachusetts but none during June of 1953. Interestingly enough, every pilot I talked to had had at least one experience with UFOs! The closest I came to independently verifying the event was a personal chat with a former R/O who had been discharged from Otis Air Force Base in May of 1953. He had continued flying with the Air National Guard stationed at nearby Logan Airport in Boston. He told me that he definitely remembers hearing the story passed around by Air National Guard pilots. Another person stationed at Logan in the Air Guard told me that F-94s were continually being dispatched to identify unknown targets picked up on radar. He said that returning pilots were not allowed to talk about the incidents but would often remark that if they hadn't seen it they never would have believed it! I checked on the background of Mr. Dargie through an acquaintance of mine on the staff of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON). He knew the former master sergeant very well and vouched for his honesty and integrity. I requested further information from Mr. Dargie and he wrote me the following letter:
18 March 1973
Walt Andrus asked me to write to you about the Otis AFB case of the lost F-94C. I started this letter last week and am just getting around to finishing it now. I have been busy with quarter finals at school. I am going to school full-time at Southern Illinois University and, believe me, I really have to hump in order to keep up with these kids today.
I really don't have much more to add to what was written in the Skylook account. To the best of my knowledge, the aircraft was never found. As I recall, the canopy was found on the rifle range, which would indicate that whatever happened took place in close proximity to the airfield proper. I have since lost track of the people who worked on this case. The NCO in charge at that time was a Master Sergeant George Kimmel. I have no idea where he is now. I believe that the Operations Officer was a Major Ralph Nelson. The missing R/O was a Lieutenant Robert Barkoff. I believe he was from Detroit. His mother was either a widow or divorced. At least, there was no mention of his having a father. She arrived on the Cape shortly after the incident and stayed there until the search was called off in September.
I would appreciate it if you would pass on to me any further information you may discover. This has been puzzling me for over twenty years.
CLARENCE O. DARGIE
I would add to Mr. Dargie's closing remarks that incidents like this have given our government and other governments plenty to worry about over the past two or more decades! In fact, just five months after the Otis AFB incident, a similar event occurred concerning an Air Force interceptor flying out of Kinross AFB in Northern Michigan. NICAP has thoroughly documented this case and the following summary is quoted from its impressive documentaryThe UFO Evidence.
Source: 288 UFOs: Interplanetary Visitors, Pages 287-291 (Ray Fowler)