USN P2V3 Patrol Plane / USS Tillamock UFO Encounter
Threatening Radar Target and E-M Case
 Kodiak, Alaska / Case

 Jan 22, 1950

Larry Fawcett-Barry Greenwood:
An abundance of good information appears in the FBI's files for 1950. The first item is a report from the old Office of Naval Investigation regarding UFO sightings on January 22 and 23, 1950, in the area of Kodiak, Alaska. The report lacks a number of enclosures which were once with the original but many details remain:

Date of Report: 10 Feb. 1950
Place: Kodiak, Alaska
Copies to: CIA (8), DI/USAF (5), FBI (2), STATE (5), ID.GS.USA (16) Enclosures 1-8 went to OP322F2 along with summary From: DIO/17ND Source: Official U.S. Navy Evaluation: A-2
Subject: Unidentified phenomena in vicinity of Kodiak, Alaska

Brief: A report of sighting of unidentified airborne objects, by various naval personnel, on 22 and 23 January 1950, in the vicinity of Kodiak, Alaska is contained herein.

1. Enclosures (1), (2), and (4) are completed forms suggested by Commander in Chief, Alaskan Command, Fort Richardson, Alaska for the reporting of sighting of unidentified objects. Enclosure (3) is a sketch of radar interference experienced in aircraft piloted by Lt. SMITH. Enclosure (5) is a track chart of aircraft in which Lt. BARCO was embarked when he sighted unidentified object. Enclosure (6) contains statements by MORGAN and CARVER relative to their sighting. Enclosure (7) is a copy of Lt. BARCO's statement and enclosure (8) is a summary of weather and balloon release information.

2.  A summary of the information contained in enclosures (1) through (8) follows:
a) at 220240W January Lt. SMITH, USN, patrol plane commander of P2V3 No. 4 of Patrol Squadron One reported an unidentified radar contact 20 miles north of the Naval Air Station, Kodiak, Alaska. When this contact was first made, Lt. SMITH was flying the Kodiak Security Patrol. At 0248W, 8 minutes later a radar contact was made on an object 10 miles southeast of NAS, Kodiak. Lt. SMITH checked with the control tower to determine known traffic in the area, and was informed that there was none. During this period the radar operator, GASKEY, ALC, USN reported intermittent radar interference of a type he had never before experienced (see enclosure (3)). Contact was lost at this time, but intermittent interference continued.

b) At some time between 0200 and 0300W, MORGAN was standing watch on board the USS Tillamock (ATA 192), which was anchored in the vicinity of buoy 19 in the main ship channel. MORGAN reported sighting a "very fast moving red glow light, which appeared to be of exhaust nature, seemed to come from the southeast, moved clockwise in a large circle in the direction of, and around Kodiak and returned but in a generally southeast direction." MORGAN called CARVER, also on watch, to observe this object, and they both witnessed the return flight. The object was in sight for an estimated 30 seconds. No odor or sound was detected, and the object was described to have the appearance of a ball of fire about one foot in diameter.

c) At 220440W, conducting routine Kodiak security patrol, Lt. SMITH reported a visual sighting of an unidentified airborne object at a radar range of 5 miles, on the starboard bow. This object showed indications of great speed on the radar scope. (The trailing edge of the blip gave a tail-like indication.) At this time Lt. SMITH called attention of all crew members to the object. An estimated ten seconds later, the object was directly overhead, indicating a speed of about 1800 MPH. Lt. SMITH climbed to intercept and attempted to circle to keep the object in sight. He was unable to do this, as the object was too highly maneuverable. Subsequently the object appeared to be opening the range, and SMITH attempted to close the range. The object was observed to open out somewhat, then to turn to the left and come up on SMITH'S quarter. SMITH considered this to be a highly threatening gesture, and turned out all lights in the aircraft. Four minutes later the object disappeared from view in a southeasterly direction.

d) At 230435W, the day following Lt. SMITH'S sighting, Lt. CAUSER and Lt. BARCO of Patrol Squadron One were conducting the Kodiak Security Patrol and sighted an unidentified object. At the time of the sighting the aircraft in which those officers were embarked was approximately 62 miles south of Kodiak. The object appeared to be on an ascending westerly course, and was in sight for ten minutes. During this period the object was observed by Lt. CAUSER and BARCO, and PAULSON, ADi, plane captain. At no time was radar contact made on the object. Lt. CAUSER was unable to close the object at 170 knots.

e) The objects sighted have been described as follows:
(1) To Lt. SMITH and crew it appeared as two orange lights rotating about a common center, "like two jet aircraft making slow rolls in tight formation." It had a wide speed range.
(2) To MORGAN and CARVER it appeared as a reddish orange ball of fire about one foot in diameter, travelling at a high rate of speed.
(3) To CAUSER, BARCO, and PAULSON it appeared to be a pulsating orange yellow projectile shaped flame, with a regular period of pulsation on 3 to 5 seconds, off 3 to 5 seconds. Later, as the object increased the range the pulsation appeared to increase to on 7 to 8 seconds and off 7 to 8 seconds.

3. A check with the Navy Weather Central, Kodiak, Alaska revealed that balloons were released at the following times:
22 January—0445W and 2200W (approximately)
23 January—0400W (approximately)

4. On 23 January winds aloft at 1000 feet were reported at 0400W as from 310°, at 36 knots, and at 2000 feet, from 240° at 37 knots, while the object was reported to be on an ascending-westerly course.

COMMENT: In view of the fact that no weather balloons were known to have been released within a reasonable time before the sightings, it appears that the object or objects were not balloons. If not balloons, the objects must be regarded as phenomena (possibly meteorites), the exact nature - of which could not be determined by this office. The opinion of OP322C2C:

"The possibility exists that incidents covered by para. 2.a,b&d might be jet aircraft; however, there is insufficient intelligence to definitely identify the unidentified objects as aircraft. Several reports of similar radar interference have been received from DIO/17ND. It is possible that this is interference from another radar in the vicinity, malfunctioning of components within the radar set, or both." The opinion of F2:

Many of the previous reports of radar interference tend to indicate local interference (generated within the aircraft). This looks more like external interference from sources outside the aircraft than previous reports, though it is far from conclusive. These reports are always of interest."

The above-mentioned "OP322V2C" and "F2" were apparently classified research groups. "D10/17ND" is the 17th Naval District's Intelligence group.

It is quite obvious that the Navy went to every effort to explain away the reports, although paragraph 2c bore the handwritten notation "?" indicating puzzlement as to how to explain this feature. Also, the "F2" opinion failed to take into account the visual nature of the sightings. With all things considered, the Kodiak reports are positive evidence that the UFO subject is well-deserving of scientific attention.

After reading reports like this, which seemed to contradict the official Air Force policy of UFOs being unimportant, J. Edgar Hoover asked the following in a March 1950 note, "Just what are the facts re "flying saucers"? A short memo as to whether or not it is true or just what Air Force, etc. think of them."

The Air Force produced the standard reply of "misidentifications," "weather balloons," etc. Whether this satisfied Hoover or simply exasperated him is unknown, but the UFOs continued to fly.

Source: Clear Intent, Larry Fawcett and Barry Greenwood, Pages 164-167