Date: Sat, 11 Feb 2012 16:14:00 -0000
From: Martin Shough
Subject: Re: [Current Encounters] More Thoughts about Patuxent

fran write

I see no need to wadte any more time on this case

And yet, here we go again! ;-)

but will make a
page for Brad's comments w/o making all the changes he
suggested. It's just not worth it.
A number of us have some thoughts we'd like to share:

A). McDonald thought enough of the case to investigate it;

What exactly is that supposed to signify? McDonald looked into
hundreds of cases and of course was able to discount many of
them, this one included. He concluded that it was probably radar
interference and the contemporaneous evidence says that he was
right. When I look at his notes I find him noting all of the same
problems with this case that I've noted myself, and coming to the
same conclusion.

B). NICAP thought that the case was a good case; probably
because they believed Sujka;

Again, what does this signify? The core information in this case
is the Navy record of the Navy investigation done there on the
spot right after the event, and recorded in two documents - a
telex and a detailed AFR200-2 report, which cross-reference and
confirm each other in every detail - both dated Jan 8 1965, which

and, by the way, Sujka's boss also apparently
believed him, as he was ignorantly willing to approve of
release of news to the press and the later letter to NICAP;

First, I would say that a permission of this type is not at all
equivalent to an endorsement of every *opinion* Sujka might have
on the subject of what was seen.

Secondly, the "NICAP report" you quote still cites "Commander
R.W. Gordon, Air Operations Officer" as having given Sujka
permission to fill out a NICAP report form . This appears to be a
simple spelling error that should be corrected, as I already
pointed out to you. According to the other documents in your
directory this man's name was CORDON not GORDON.

Thirdly, as I also pointed out, you have a basic problem in that
the Air Operations Officer - who was Preparing Officer for AFR
200-2 purposes and signed the official Navy report - was not
named R.W.Gordon or even R.W.Cordon, but was Commander R.W.

I'm uncertain of the status of the person you (or NICAP )
describe as "Sujka's boss", described in the directory notes as
"Commander Cordon, Operations Officer", but it would appear that
he was not the Air Operations Officer.. His opiniona and his
reasons are his own and unknown to us.

C). They led JEM to the case because they believed that they
weren't wasting his time;

Again, so what? Sorry, but this is evidence of nothing except
that at first blush the case looked exciting to some people. JEM
in due course concluded otherwise.

D). Sujka believed what he said, and the other people directly
involved apparently did too;

By "other people directly involved" I assume you mean the other
two operators. But your evidence for this claim that they
endorsed Sujka's opinions (correct me if I'm wrong) is Sujka's
story. You have no contemporaneous (or even later) statementrs
from these people. Right?

Then there are two possible components to a claim like this,
which you need to separate: There is the implication that they
agreed with his basic description of what happened, i.e. how the
blips looked on the scope; and there is the separate implication
that they agreed with his sensational interpretation and opinion
of them. So Sujka's claim could be true without establishing that
they agreed with Sujka's giant hypersonic UFO interpretation.

In short Sujka's claim that his more experienced colleagues
"believed what he said" is not independent corroboration of
Sujka's story.

Where would we look for such corroboration, then? Oh, how about
the classified Navy reports, written before anyone had heard a
public word from Sujka? In there the Air Operations Officer

"The observers agree they have never seen any radar target
similar to the characteristics of this indication; they also
agree they have never witnessed interference of this nature....
The observers made no report initially because they felt there
was nothing of significance to report...."

No UFO report was even generated until days after a rumour had
got out to the local radio and press on Jan 04. When the radar
men were then questioned about what had really happened at least
two of them were of the opinion that it had not been a
significant incident meriting a report, whilst the third, Sujka,
couldn't even remember *when* it had happened:

"The two more mature and experienced observers [reliability rated
"excellent"] agree on the data stated earlier....Other factors
tend to corroborate this time and date. However this does not
discount completely the claims of the younger and less
experienced observer [Sujka; reliability rated only "good",
credibility as "doubrful"] who originally stated the events
occurred on 29 December, and then later, 28 December."

This was based on information generated in what the file
describes as a Navy "board of inquiry" sitting on Jan 05, and it
was transmitted from Pax NAS on Jan 08. It was the following
afternoon, Jan 09, that Dick Hall first got a call from from
Sujka. Later they met and Hall made these notes :

"The facts of the sighting were as follows: Date December 28,
1964, Time-- 2330Z (about 5:30 p.m. EST). He explained that the
sighting leaked out unexpectedly over a week after it occurred,
so preliminary info­rmation was garbled until records were
checked. What he told us was based on more carefully checked

The Washington ARTCC tape of the real-time phone call (transcript
in the file) proved that, after only 3 weeks, Sujka's memory of
the date was in error by about *10 days* - not even the right day
of the week - and his memory of the time of day, given to Hall as
another "carefully checked fact", was also in error. It was 2005Z
(1505 local) not 2330Z.

Sujka aslo gave Hall some plausible-sounding weather data:
"Weather: solid overcast at 2000 feet measured; visibility 7
miles. Temperature 38°, dew point 31. Wind from NW 7 m.p.h." But
the weather in the Navy file is quite different: Cloud 7/10
cirrus (i.e., high, not 2k overcast), visibility unlimited, temp
31°F not 38, etc. I see that McDonald noticed this as well.

None of this signifies well.

E). The USAF gave an off-the-cuff insulting "explanation"
without checking anything before doing so.

I don't find this presumably-early public air force statement
anywhere on the directory. Is it available, please?

I only see USAF statements reflecting or endorsing Navy

It's a fact that off-the-cuff responses are often insulting and
annoying, but fortunately they don't weigh in the final balance
after the facts are properly checked, which is what we are doing

This was pretty much Standard Operating Procedure ever since the
George Gregory days, and allows one good reason to ignore
anything they said;

This may be historically relevant (in which case it would be
useful to see the actual Jan 1965 USAF public debunking
statement[s] on the directory), but as there is no significant
USAF input into this case, based as it is 99% on Navy information
generated by Navy sources and Navy conclusions, it does not
appear to have any significant implications for the case rating.

F). Sujka said that they never checked his radar set, and the
only checking done (by themselves) indicated that it was
working properly. That aspect of the USAF opinion is therefore
not correct;

The only "USAF opinion" I can find in any directory material is
an echo of the Navy's own opinion. Again, where is the
off-the-cuff USAF dismissal published? And where is "the NICAP
report" that I keep hearing about? I read that "NICAP issued the
full report in March 1965", but where is it? What does it say?

All I can find for that date is a brief summary forming a small
part of one article in the March/April UFO Investigator,

which appears to be the same text that you have quoted (along
with its WRONG TIME - should be 1505 not 1530) on the directory
as the "NICAP report":

The original UFOI article does not add anything useful
whatsoever, but it does contain a single sentence which you have
not quoted , and this is the only clue I can find to the
existence of some source recording an early USAF public

"By coincidence, a Navy Department report on tracking UFOs went
on the press wires minutes after the Wallops Island sighting.

Since this spectacular claim of the USAF intimidating the Navy
radar observers clearly cannot even remotely be supported by
anything in the directory, I have to conclude again that there is
some historically important early document known to you and/or to
Keyhoe and maybe to others - but not to me, or to anyone else
relying on this directory for information. Where is it, please?

G). Sujka describes his fellow radarman as very experienced,
and another guy who looked in on the scans also. So though he
himself didn't have huge long-term experience, others did, and
therefore the "inexperienced operators" part of the USAF
opinion is also not correct;

This is not any part of any "USAF opinion". Where in any of the
29 pages of the BB file does AF blame the report on
"inexperienced operators", never mind "intimidate" them? Please
indicate the document title and page number. Or of you are
relying on some evidence not yet lodged in the directory, please
will you produce it, or at least identify it? Thanks.

It is the NAVY's own opinion, not the AF's, that the one operator
who went public with a sensational and inaccurate story was "less
experienced". The only early (= off-the-cuff?) AF press statement
that I can find is from Washington, dated Jan 05 in response to
the press and radio interest, but according to the press cutting
in the file this statement ONLY confirmed that the sighting was
under investigation.

The only AF press statements of any kind that I can find carrying
the "false blips" conclusion appear a couple of weeks later,
after the BB "final evaluation" was passed up to Washington on
Jan 14. And that evaluation says nothing detrimental about the
Navy operators. It doesn't even mention the Navy's own
qualification of the credibility of one its own, merely echoes
the Navy's own technical evaluation. And it says right there on
the project record card - "Navy evaluation". As far as I can see,
BB had almost zero input in this entire affair and I don't see
any evidence of AF witness intimidation or denigration of the

H). Sujka describes his and two others' view of the readings as
like nothing that they'd ever seen.

Sujka is not in any position to represent the views of other
people who have made no public statements, and whose official
statements to their own Navy investigation board (in session all
day Jan 05 according to the BB events log, with results
subsequently recorded in the Navy Air Operations Officer's
classified report) evidently contradict Sujka's claim that they
all believed the objects were "solid bodies". Accoridng to the
Navy they thought quite the opposite -that even though they were
peculiar they were of no real significance. The file describes
how immediate negative checks were made with other radars, both
local and Washigton ARTCC, and it contains the transcript of the
phone call with ARTCC who confirmed there were no corresponding
targets on their radar either, but that they were seeing radar
INTERFERENCE in the same area, as was the Pax River radar itself
at the time the odd blips appeared..

Although this in itself proves nothing, it does say that
something "rare" manifested on the scopes. What that "rare"
thing was is, if we are intellectually honest, "unknown";

IMO this is nothing so robust as "intellectual honesty" but
rather a limp and frankly desperate attempt to hang on to some
vanishingly small possibility that these few odd unconfirmed
interference-like blips might still have been spaceships. Please,
let this one go while we retain some dignity.

I). we are left with the Sujka theory that the radar returns
were caused by a large solid object(s) bouncing back signals
(concurred with by his buddies on site),

Objection. Counsel is relying on hearsay from a source whose
reliability is in question. Source's claim is contradicted by
pre-existing official Navy documents. There is no independent
evidence that these buddies would have confirmed Sujka's opinion.

or the opposite theory that this was a
well-known radar phenomenon caused by the operation of other
equipment in the area.

You say "well-known radar phenomenon" as if to imply that this
particular type of indication would have to have been well-known
to the men concerned if it could ever happen at all. But this is
not valid because conditions in the radar environment vary beyond
control and rare propagation conditions for example (perhaps
that "rare" possibility you wanted us to be honest about?) can
cause signals from remote radars (specifically NOT "in the area"
and therefore not usually an interference source) to be picked

J). to the Sujka theory we have the added soft possibilities
that the other obvious interfering equipment operators were
actually communicated with during the event and offered no such
possibility from their view.

Whaaaat? I have no idea what "soft possibilities" are, but the
*hard fact* is that when Pax River radar got Washington ARTC
Center on the phone they not only couldn't see any massive UFOs
streaking around but COULD see "interference" on their radar
picture (which antenna[s] would be involved I don't know) in the
same area as Pax River was reporting both the UFO blips AND
recognisable "interference". Read the file please!

There is also the enigmatic report of the Coast Guard asking
about a visual sighting that they seemed to have had, and then
quickly denying it once PNAS got involved.

For "enigmatic" read "vague and undocumented"

K). to the other theory we have the fact that unusual false
signals occur. To support that theory with something more than
the pure theoretical, however, we should pursue some actual
fact-based information,

If you know of some fact-based information that is not in the
directory, then produce it and build a case with that instead of
with the mere opinion and impression of one person whose
dependability of recollection within 3 weeks of the events is
proven to have been poor.

As it is, the only "fact-based information" we have about what
happened nearly half a century ago is what the was written in the
Navy investigation report. It describes very clearly the blip
behaviours, including the one recalled by Sujka, but with a very
different and very plausible interpretation, with which I agree,
with which Brad agrees, with
which the sainted McDonald even agreed, but which you will resist
(it seems) until one of us can go back in time and rebuild that
radar set to reproduce the exact interference effect for your own
eyes.. Forgive me for suspecting that even then you might insist
that we go outside and check the sky before believing there were
no saucers ;-)

we should pursue some actual fact-based information,
such as appropriate weather conditions or some actual
known equipment operation.

Ha - ironically, pursuing appropriate weather conditions is about
the only thing that BB actually did - and you don't even notice!
I even referred to this already. They requested temp and dewpoint
profiles which are all there in the file and do show temperature
and humidity gradients of the type that could cause AP - which as
you know is a possible cause of similar RF pulses from a distant
source (for example, another CPN-18A or similar radar maybe
hundreds of miles away) being refracted over the local horizon.

The weather was suspected by the
guys, but they seemed not to see it as an anomalous propagation

You mean that Sujka told Dick Hall (what "the guys" would have
said we will never know) that what he saw could not have been
weather because AP returns are typically faint, creeping blips.
But neither you nor Sujka seem to understand the issue: The role
of weather in the interferece scenario is merely duct the remote
RFI to the antenna, we are not talking about AP returns from
ground or weather targets which do behave more as mentiuoned by

As to equipment: such could be "secret" of course,
but if so, it was the only time in the memories of these
operators wherein it produced such effects.

There doesn';t have to be anything secret going on. Unusual
conditions can produce unusual effects.

In short there is
no actual evidence for the contrary hypothesis.

This is a bizarre inversion of the situation. As Brad pointed out
to you, the burden of proof lies with you if you propose that
radar indications that behave like spurious blips are not
spurious. The prima facie case is against you. You need positive
evidence that something extraordinary caused thoe blips.

L). The claim that a trace coming in radially and retreating
back along its identical course is a dead-giveaway may in fact
be true,

Damn it, Fran, it *is* true. I told you it is true. Fine, ignore
me. Brad tells you it is true. OK we are both only making
"claims" and you don't believe we know whgat we are talking
about. Read the Navy report. Well, maybe the Pax River Air
Operations Officer, and whoever else he took evidence from at the
Jan 05 1965 board of inquiry, don't know either. And of course it
goes without saying that the BB electronics guy who endorsed the
Navy conlusion would know nothing about radar interference
characteristics. But what about Saint Jim? Didn't you read his
notes - where it said that the always-radial motions of the
tracks are diagnostic of RFI?

but there are two minor quibbles: 1]. Sujka said that
the thing did not do that --- instead of retreating 180 degrees
it went back at 160. Perhaps the in and out lines were NOT
identical as desired.

You are confusing the two differennt phases of the action. In the
first phase, observed by the other operators, as series of blips
came inbound radially, then another set of blips went outbound on
the same radius. This is the 180 degree "retreat". OK? Then the
next phase, observed by Sujka, has a serioes of radially
approaching blips on one bearing, followed by another series of
ourbound blips on a different bearing 20 deg away. But what
connects these sequences of indications into connected "tracks"?
Answer, the hiuman mind.

This goes to the crux of it. This apparent in-out motion of a
single target is only Sujka's personal *interpretation* -
indeed, I would say misinterpretation - of what is described in
the Navy reports. There it is clear that the Navy analysts
understood this and that the supposed 160 deg turn was just a
person's construction put upon the fact two sequences of false
blips were displaced by 20 deg. There specifically was *no* case
of a "turn" or "swerve" witnessed by anybody. It was a mental
interpolation by Sujka - and apparently Sujka alone - based on
an assumption about what he was seeing.

Also, a very minor issue: UFO visual
cases will come in and retreat on their same course all the

There is no visual UFO case. There is no UFO in this case. But if
you want to swap generalities, I'll see your relatively small
number of radial UFOs and raise you a whole hat-ful of radial
IFOs caused by effects like optical mirage that cause images to
apparently zoom in and out.

To some of us this case, without a thorough McDonald follow-up,
or even a USAF one, is simply a "?" which could easily have
been a UFO, but we can't say so.

Without a thorough McDonald follow-up? I am totally speechless.
You've been trying to tell us in one breath how McDonald thought
it was so important, and how the fact that he investigated it
somnehow lends it credence, and now you are moaning that he
didn;t investigate thoroughly and insinuating that if only he had
done so he would have proved a real UFO for you. Frankly this is
getting mpore than a bit desperate..

We have much to do, and this faction has a right to say what we
feel, just as others who looked at this case. But, again,
nothing more can come from wasting more time unless something
new should surface.

Well you raised and re-raised a whole list of issues there
without even acknowledging that all of them had been addressed
explicitly or implicitly by me, by Brad, by McDonald or by the
Navy, so there is no course open to me but to address them all
over again. Do we have to have rounf three? ;-) I'm up for it ,
but I do hope not because in the end we agree that in terms of
establishing UFO data of physical interest this case is a waste
of time.

Nevertheless, as we also agree, there is historical interest. But
that requires us to be accurate and mature in recording the
history of how the case was dealt with at the time, rather than
risk perpetuating old agendas.

Martin Shough