Date: Wed, 03 Mar 2010 13:03:37 -0500
From: Francis Ridge <>
Subject: The Norvin C. "Bud" Evans: UFOs
To: A-Team, RADCAT

The envelope arrived in the mailbox on March 2, but I didn't open it until late in the evening. I had been working on loose ends on several RADCAT cases and wanted to get them cleaned up before retiring for the evening. But the stack of documents from Jan Aldrich was lying on the flat bed scanner lid and I just had to take a peak before shutting down the computer for the night. In it were quite a few documents, but a resume and thirteen other pages caught my attention. I thought about scanning them in before I quit but thought better of and went to bed. But I was up at 4:00 AM scanning them in and sent them to Dan & Jean to look over. I needed Jean to make the text versions while I did the pdf file and Dan to look over the cases that jumped out at me the night before. Everything in that report stood out. Everything we were working on that needed "something" was in that 13-page report. Here is that report.

or searchable text version as follows:

N. C. “Bud” Evans
Indialantic, Fl 32903 


            Just a few days after I arrived at March field,   I was listening to my $9.95 Arvin combination radio and phonograph which I had bought with my first ever paycheck while I was still in high school back in Louisville Ky. Having just sat down on the corner of my cot feeling lonely and mentally assessing the events of the day in my new home.  The reception I had received was not what I expected when I arrived and I was feeling pretty lost, being in the other part of the country where I knew absolutely no one.  On top of that it looked as though I might not be assigned to the fighter group to fly the jet fighters I had come back on active duty to fly. The name "Captain Thomas Mantell" of the Kentucky Air National Guard coming from the radio on a Los Angeles station immediately caught my attention.  He was my flight commander in the guard squadron and to hear a friends name come from that little radio on a Los Angeles radio station astounded me.  My pleasure at hearing such a familiar name almost lasted a second or two until I heard the "rest of the story". 

            The news was of his death while chasing an unidentified object high over the skies of northern Kentucky. Tom had flown troop transports during World War II but had become a good fighter pilot with the guard squadron.   He hadn't however had much experience with the use of the oxygen systems on our P-51's as we seldom, if ever used them while I was there.  As I later pieced together the story it happened like this: during the Christmas holiday when I flew to Washington, most of the squadron flew to the Miami air races in southern Florida. They had encountered very bad New Years day weather and as most of them had jobs to come back to, they came back on the C-47 that carried the ground crew down and back. Mine wasn't the only squadron aircraft that had to be retrieved when pilots and weather were available. 

            After flying back to Miami to pick up 3 of the P-51's that had been left there,  Mantell, Bill Clements, a highly qualified fighter pilot and another young pilot were arriving back at Louisville late in the afternoon.   They were contacted by flight service and asked if they observed anything high in the sky above them. 

            There have been many sensationalism stories and distortions about the incident that don't lie but only tell part of the story that leads the reader to believe Mantell's aircraft was destroyed by the unidentified flying object.  The story on the Los Angeles station did not report anything but the shocking news that he had crashed while chasing a U.F.O.  At the request of some ground controlling agency, I wrote to friends in the squadron and of course my folks sent me the newspaper articles and also wrote what they had heard.  My dad checked with the squadron and got what information he could and passed it on to me. 

            What I was able to determine from that information and what the people from the squadron told me, there was nothing supernatural that caused the crash nor was it caused by any action from the object they were chasing. It happened that the 3rd aircraft in the 3 ship formation had an oil leak and told Bill Clements that he had to land.  Clements was concerned about the wingman and stayed with him to see that he made it back to the field safely.  Tom, who was leading the flight continued to climb up to investigate.  As I said earlier, the oxygen systems were seldom used but they were serviced regularly by our ground crew.  Many of them however had slow leaks and as the aircraft Mantell and Clements were flying had been sitting in the hot Florida sun for a week or so.  They probably were low or empty of oxygen.  As I was told, they saw the half rounded shiny object above them and it did not appear to very much higher than they were. After starting their climb from somewhere under 10,000 feet they believed they would reach a close enough position to identify the object in short order.  They were approaching an altitude close to 18,000 feet when Clements notified Tom that he was breaking off his chase and returning to a lower altitude with the other aircraft. He asked Mantell if he had enough oxygen but did not get a reply.  He repeatedly called to Mantell but again got no reply.   So the story goes, he tried to get Tom to break-off his chase,  fearing that he might be suffering from hypoxia but got no response. The next thing anyone knew about the P-51 and Captain Mantell was the report of an aircraft exploding in mid-air and crashing in the Kentucky countryside outside of Louisville. When the accident investigation ended it appeared, as best I can remember, that Mantell was dedicated to the task of identifying this strange looking object in the sky and believing he had oxygen, continued to climb well above 20,000 feet. It was thought that the oxygen system had been low and was depleted shortly after he began using it.  From Bill Clements report,  the object was clearly visible but with no reference point to use as to it's size they couldn't tell just how far away it was from them.  He said it looked very close at first but after climbing for some 10,000 feet it didn't look any closer. It was assumed that Mantell suffered from hypoxia  (the lack of oxygen in the blood stream) which caused him to become unconscious without recognizing he was being effected.  That is why it has always been one of the pilots greatest enemies and why for many years military pilots have to attend physiological altitude training and experience hypoxia in the altitude chamber every two years. It was believed that after becoming unconscious the aircraft went into a terminal dive and broke-up about 5,000 feet above the ground. They never did identify the object but there were reports from the weather service that they had a high altitude weather balloon that could have been in that area. It might have been traveling in the jet stream, which at that time we knew little about,  and the weather service had lost contact with it. 

            A little over a year later when I was in Japan I had my next indirect experience with a U.F.O. While at Misawa air base on northern Honshu Island in Japan, I was in the 9th fighter squadron of the 49th fighter group which was the only jet fighter squadron in Japan.  Our other two squadrons had P-51's and the first sighting was by a flight of P-51's.  One squadron (I don't recall whether it was the 7th or 8th) was flying aerial gunnery.  The tow ship, another P-51 "Mustang" was towing a large flat target which was 30 feet long and 8 feet high, on an 800 foot cable. The first 2 aircraft to fire on the "rag" accompanied the tow aircraft out to the firing range, which at Misawa was out over the Pacific Ocean south east of the base.  One of the tasks while accompanying the tow ship to the firing area was to fly beside the target and check to see that it was flying in a vertical position.   If some of the weights on the bottom of the pole on the front of the target were knocked off during the time it was being dragged down the runway prior to getting it in the air, the target would get cocked to one side.  That gave a larger shooting area when firing from one side but a smaller area from the other side.  The flight leader had to determine whether or not the target was upright enough to continue the mission or whether it should be returned to the base, dropped and a new one sent up.  That is a sketch of the gunnery missions as they were flown in the late 40's and my story is not about the tow ship or the first two P-51's accompanying it to the range. It is about the next 2 P-51's flying out to the range to join up and start their gunnery firing passes. 

            The route to the gunnery range required flying down the coastline some 15 miles and then another 15 to 20 miles out to sea. The tow ship would orbit at either the north or south end of the range until the newly arriving fighters found him and then he would proceed up and down the range. As the two pilots headed for the tow ship and were still over land about 10 miles south of Misawa they were surprised to see, what looked like their tow target passing a little in front of them. They were even more astonished when they couldn't see the tow ship ahead of it where it should have been. The target was flying on a straight course and at a speed that made it easy to overtake so they continued to close in, finally pulling up next to it. By then it became obvious that it was 2 or 3 times the size of a regular tow target and had no "bull’s eye" or any markings what-so-ever on it.  While the wingman stayed on one side of the object the leader flew across to the other side.  He reported that he could see that it was solid but had no more than a few inches of thickness to it.   He could make out the outline of the other P-51 while looking "through' the object meaning it was translucent and not transparent.  The speed of the object stayed fairly constant at first and then began to accelerate then suddenly shot ahead with unbelievable speed and then pulled up and reversed course so fast that they lost sight of it in an instant. 

            I was standing runway alert and we were tuned into the ground control radar (G.C.I.) Channel and heard their report. The scramble phone rang and two of us were in the air in less than five minutes but radar had no target for us to chase so we flew around the area where the sighting had been. About all I accomplished was to build up a little more jet time. After landing we were briefed not to discuss this sighting with anyone. The two pilots who had observed the phenomenon were whisked off to intelligence and kept pretty quiet about the episode, however I talked with one of them before he went to debriefing and learned what I have just written. 

            The next encounter occurred some months later and was observed by a large number of people from the base.   It was on a low overcast day with very good visibility.  The base was scheduled for an inspection from headquarters and most of the "brass" was gathered at base operations along with the band and honor guard.  Most of the fighter group pilots were standing-by at their assigned aircraft with their crew chief. Someone in my squadron whose p-80 was parked on the front row yelled something that got my attention and as i saw other people pointing in the direction of the runway.   I was able to barely make out this object moving down the runway about 50 miles per hour and about 50 feet above it.   I was just focusing my brain to my eyes and relating the object to what had been report by the p-51   pilots when it began to accelerate and abruptly shot up through the clouds.  Once again we were directed not to discuss what we saw. 

            Some time later, I'm not certain as to whether it was weeks or months, I was standing alert with my flight.  Being a flight commander I was in command of the four aircraft and pilots assigned to the 12 hour period where we lived in a Quonset hut at the west end of the runway.  Misawa was located on the northern tip of Honshu Island and the closest U.S. Airbase to Russian territory. There a large Russian air base at the southern tip of Sakhalin Island 16 miles from Japan. Our radar control station was at the most northern tip of Japan, at Wakani on the island of Hokkaido. They monitored all of the flights by Russian aircraft and as we had the only fighters north of Tokyo some 400 to 500 miles to the south of Misawa, we were constantly being scrambled to intercept them when they crossed into Japanese air space. It was a cat and mouse game and the Russians knew it would take our P-80's 20 to 25 minutes to reach them as they dashed across northern Hokkaido and then back over international waters or back north to Russian airspace.  Those of us who had come close to catching Russian aircraft knew that all we could do was try to identify them as we were not allowed to fire at them unless they attack us or any allied boat, aircraft or ground installation. I believe we would still have had to wait for permission from 5th air force headquarters unless it was a matter of self defense. Anyway we didn't carry a full load of ammunition in our six 50 caliber machine guns. Occasionally in the later part of 1949 more and more intrusions of our airspace were occurring and some were flying as far south as Tokyo. They were flying at such high altitudes and speeds that even though we were scrambled before they actually crossed into Japanese airspace. We could only watch from below as they passed 10,000 feet or so above us while we were struggling in our climb to intercept them. All of us who flew those attempted intercepts were well aware that the Russians had a good high altitude photo recon aircraft that could fly faster and higher than our first line fighters we were flying. 

            Late on that particular afternoon, I was standing 2 minute cockpit alert with Lt.  James Harvey as my wingman, when we were scrambled by the G.C.I. Controller.  Racing north as fast as we could the Wakani controller told us that they had a slow moving target that had been wandering around over the northern half of Hokkaido and at times seemed to travel at high speeds and other times appeared to be almost hovering or circling over one spot. The weather was broken cumulus build­ups with tops varying from 20 to 25 thousand feet. The controller could not determine the altitude but said he thought it was also varying as much as 20,000 feet. I decided that I must be working with a new trainee controller because of his inability to give us more information.  I told Harvey to descend below the clouds and I would cover the high altitude search. I climbed to about 5,000 feet above the tops of the clouds to get a better vantage point from which to search the areas between the build-ups and followed the controller’s vectors.  He finally said it might be a large sea plane but that didn't explain the periodic bursts of speed. The radar site had been tracking the "blip" for 30 minutes and had a good return from whatever type of craft that it was. I could find nothing and assumed that it was below the cloud layer. About the same time as I reached this brilliant conclusion, Harvey called "Talley-ho" on the target. (That meant in interceptor talk that he had a visual sighting on the target).   I replied that I was on my way down to join him and as I dropped my speed brakes and roll over to make a diving descent through the clouds, I heard his confused response to the controllers request for type of aircraft. 

            I was aware that there was something strange going on by his initial attempt to describe what it was that he had seen. He then reported that he had lost sight of the "bogey" and was climbing back up to join me. His only answer to the controller was to say he would make a report when we landed. He used the proper procedure and I headed for home as soon as he joined me. It seemed to take forever to get on the ground and I could hardly wait to talk to him in the security of the alert shack.  After landing we headed to the debriefing phone. As flight commander it was my duty to make the intercept report by phone and written debriefing.  As we walked to the Quonset hut Jim filled me in on what he had seen. It was very close to the other two sightings as to shape color and flight actions.  The object had let him get close enough to identify it and then turned and departed upwards into the clouds at lightening speed.  After a preliminary report on the phone we were directed to get two pilots to relieve us and report to group headquarters.  There we were debriefed separately and as I had not actually seeing the object I was released to go back to the squadron with the same "highly classified, do not discuss with anyone" order.  Harvey was flown to headquarters; I’m not sure whether it was fifth air force, far eastern air force or both. We never discussed the subject again. 

<>            Somewhere in the U.S.A.F. intelligence files there are complete reports of these sightings. They were not hoaxes or observations that could have been mistaken for anything other than what was seen up close and personal by highly reliable professionals with no agenda other than to report what they saw.