Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph Thursday, January 13, 1972 P1
OKLAHOMA City, Okla. (AP)
The Daily Oklahoman in its Thursday morning editions, reported an Oklahoma City man said he heard a telephone conversation Wednesday night which appeared to be a high-level communication involving the North American air Defense Command at Cheyenne Mountain, Colo., several military installations and the White House.
The newspaper said later, however, the Defense Department denied there was any high-level military communication involving a supposed “red alert.”
The senior director on duty at NORAD underground complex near Colorado Springs, contacted by the newspaper, said he was sure the purported conversation was “a ridiculous hoax.” The officer, who identified himself as a Col. Dooher, also said that NORAD does not use telephone lines for secret or emergency communications.
Bill Eckhardt, who the Oklahoman said identified himself as an employee of its advertising department, related that his wife was talking on the telephone at about 8:45 when the purported military conversations began interfering on the line.
Eckhardt said she called him to the phone. The newspaper reported he said he heard voices of men who said they were at the Air Force bases in Texas, Florida, New Mexico, California and Colorado discussing a “red alert” and “UFOs” approaching Los Angeles and Houston.
“He decided someone was playing an elaborate practical joke and hung up,” said the Oklahoman.
He related that a second phone call yielded further interference from military conversations.
“They were usually very clear,” said Eckhardt, “like a normal conversation. Some of the voices sounded like they were being transmitted over a radio instead of a telephone, though.”
A voice which he said was from NORAD reported that two planes or UFOs were downed in the desert near Alamogordo, N.M., and that some telephone lines were down in Kansas.
Another voice, he said, reported that two teams of specialists were being sent to investigate the downed flying objects. A voice which he said was from Houston purportedly repeated several times, “This is not a test. We are under red alert.”
Eckhardt told the newspaper that toward the end of the telephone conversation, at about 9:40 p.m. (CST), the Houston voice said, “We have the president on the phone. Go ahead Mr. President.”
Then, Eckhardt related, a voice which sounded very much like President Nixon’s, said something to the effect of, “This is probably the most unusual phone call I’ll ever have to make.”
The conversation, it was reported, then became garbled.
The voices had also related, according to Eckhardt, that two UFOs were flying over the Gulf of Mexico toward Houston, and that one UFO was flying over the Pacific Ocean toward Los Angeles.
Local military officials said the possibility of NORAD lines becoming crossed with private lines was remote.
A duty officer for the Defense Department’s public affairs division in Washington, contacted by the Oklahoman, said the report would be duly noted but that chances of official comment were nil.
A NORAD spokesman told the Gazette Telegraph today that “someone must have been pulling his (Eckhardt’s) leg.” He said that NORAD did not issue any alert Wednesday and that NORAD does not use the term “red alert.”