The Redman Oregon Case
UFO History

Loren Gross

     The Air Force considers this case to be two separate incidents.  The first incident took place at the city of Redmond, Oregon, which is about 150 miles southeast of Portland.  The most detailed account of the "visual" incident is the interview of officer Robert Dickerson of the Redmond police department by Dr. James McDonald.  The questioning took place in 1966.  (158.) Writing to Richard Hall, Dr. McDonald says:

        "I asked him to describe the episode as he recalled it.  He said he'd
     never seen anything at all like it, before or since, and isn't sure he'd report it
     to anyone if he did see another!  He was working the 'graveyard shift," be-
     fore dawn, and was driving east on the highway to Princeville (Hwy. 126, he
     said).  Suddenly he saw what, at first, he took to be a 'falling star.'  He
     thought it was going to go all the way to the horizon, but it stopped instanta-
     neously, at a point which he estimates at perhaps 200 feet above the ground,
     at a distance he puts at not over 1/4 mile.  It illuminated all the juniper trees
     and the ground, and looked like a glowing object rather than an air-
     liner.  Longer across that it was high, but he saw no structure, just a uniform
     bright glow, comparable to a mercury-vapor light, he stated.  When it stopped
     in this abrupt manner, he did not know whether to run, or what to do, he said
     with a chuckle.  But he stayed, and it was stationary for perhaps a few min-
     utes, as nearly as he could now recall.  Then the light went out, and he saw it
     climb off eastward at an angle, giving off a dull red glow and looking more
     like a red streak at this time.  Since he was heading east and it went off to the
     east, he decided to drive out to the airport and see if he could find anyone
     there who had seen it and see if he could get any information out of them."

     When Officer Dickerson arrived at Roberts field, he went to the air traffic communication station which was upstairs in the administration building.  According to the Redmond station log Dickerson reported in at 1259Z or 4:59 a.m.  (160.)  McDonald continues:

        "FAA employee Laverne Wertz was on duty and Dickerson got him out-
     side and the two watched with binoculars.  At that juncture it was just a glow-
     ing white light, oval, with longer axis horizontal.  It lay off to their east.  It
     made small oscillations, but did not change its general location.  There seemed,
     he said, to be something like 'heat radiation waves' emanating from it.  He puts
     its range at perhaps 7-8 miles then, but said this was a guess influenced by sub-
     sequent reports that its brightness awakened several persons in the town of
     Powell Butte, which lies at that 7-8 mile distance.  They watched it for about
     30 minutes, then he decided to drive towards Powell Butte to get a better view
     of it.  Before he left, Wertz contacted Seattle FAA ARTC radar and they said
     it was showing on their radar.  A request to scramble USAF jets originated
     somewhere, Dickerson doesn't know where."  (161.)

    The Redmond FAA log states Seattle ARTC was contacted at 1310Z or 5:10 a.m.  This is interesting because the Seattle log says the Remond station contacted them at 1400Z or 6:00 a.m.  (162.)  Even more interesting is an Air Force document that states two F-102s were scrambled from Portland International Airport to identify an unknown flying object at 1300Z. or 5:00 a.m.  That would mean that the jets took off ten minutes before Redmond reported in?  The same Air Force document states the jets were turned over to the control of Mt. Hebo radar site at 1311Z or 5:11 a.m.  If these times have any meaning, it would seem the scramble was for a radar return and not the visual report from Redmond.  In any case, the jets got to Redmond quite fast.  According to the Redmond FAA log, observers (Wertz and someone else?  Mr.Davis?) saw the UFO do something extraordinary:

        "We continued to observe UFO.  Stayed very steady and projected long tongues
     of red, yellow and green light.  These tongues of light varied in length and extended
     and retracted at irregular times.  Observed high speed aircraft approaching from
     southeast [Portland is northwest from Redmond.  Were the jets redirected?].  As
     aircraft approached UFO took shape of mushroom, observed long yellow and red
     flame from lower side as UFO rose rapidly and disappeared above clouds estimated
     15,000 feet, scattered layer."  (163.)

     According to what Dickerson told McDonald, he wasn't at Roberts airport when the UFO shot upward.  Instead, officer Dickerson was in his patrol car speeding toward Powell Butte. McDonald writes:

        "As Dickerson drove east towards Powell Butte, he had gone only about 2-3
     miles [along Highway 126], watching the stationary luminous object through his
     windshield, when suddenly it shot straight upwards, with almost instantaneous
     acceleration.  He emphasized the way in which it lit up the broken cloud deck as
     it passed through it, spreading a momentary whitish bright glow over the deck
     [These clouds could have hidden Venus.  This is an important point that came up
     later].  He, himself, never saw jets, but Wertz informed him later that Wertz was
     monitoring traffic and heard the communications indicating that the jets were just
     approaching the area when the object shot up.  Dickerson states that Wertz also
     saw the rapid ascent, from the Control Tower.  He said Seattle FAA radar con-
     firmed its rapid ascent.  Wertz told Dickerson that Seattle had it at 3,000 feet
     prior to ascent, and that it went to 54,000 feet.  He said all this could be found on
     the FAA logs, but he had not seen them, himself."  (164.)

    McDonald wondered if Seattle had HRI capability but the Redmond log, according to chief Davis, confirms, to an extent, Dickerson's claim.  Prior to the object's rise the Redmond log says the UFO was:  "...approximately 10 miles northeast of the station at an estimated 3,000 feet [note this is an estimate].  (165.)  After the jump, the Redmond log says:  "UFO reappeared south of Redmond approximately 20 miles and at an estimated [must have been a visual guess] 25,000 feet."  (166.)  The next figures specify radar confirmation:  "Seattle Air Route Center advised radar contacted UFO at 1420Z [6:20 a.m.] located 25 miles south of Redmond at 52,000 feet.  No further sightings made at this station."  (167.)

    There is a definite possibility altitude information was being fed to Seattle by the Klamath Falls GCI site which was controlling the jet interceptors.

    Was the UFO Venus?

    McDonald adds:

        "The next AM, at the same time, he and Wertz checked the eastern skies.
   Although they had not noticed Venus the preceding morning, they saw it on the 
   AM of the 25th, in the eastern skies, very bright [a bit of cloud could have cloaked
   it].  However, he said they were looking down the direction of [Highway] No.
   126, which provided a definite reference line, and while Venus lay to the left
   (north) of Highway 126, they had seen the bright, hovering, oval object to the
   right (south) of 126.  Also, he indicated that the object was not a circular (!)
   light like Venus; it was oblong, he said.  He could not account for the fact that
   they had not been aware of Venus the preceding morning, and indicated they got
   some ridicule over this, though none in the press, apparently."  (168.)

     The radar incident.  Part two of the Redmond case.

     The Keyhoe puzzle.

     The director of NICAP was not known to invent information, but the lack of footnotes in his books can lessen the credibility of his writings.  He was protecting his sources in every case one assumes.  The Redmond "jet chase," as related by Keyhoe, is sensational stuff, but from where did he get his material?  He gives no hint?  The earliest Redmond account appeared in NICAP's UFO investigator (March 1960), a second very brief reference appeared in Flying Saucers:  Top Secret (1960), and an extensive article was published in the UFO Evidence edited by Richard Hall (1964).  In none of these accounts is there the sensational version of events Keyhoe mentions in his 1973 book, Aliens from Space.  (169.)  In a Chapter titled:  "The Hidden Gamble," Keyhoe asserts that the jets scrambled out of Portland were on a "secret mission," the purpose of which was to:  "...capture the UFO--and its crew, if one was aboard.  This was the goal--the powerful driving purpose behind the Redmond mission."  (170.)
     As the UFO shot upward, in Keyhoe's Aliens From Space version the:

        "...nearest pilot frantically banked to avoid a collision.  As the UFO shot up
     past him another jet, caught in the churning air from the machines exhaust, almost
     went out of control.  Three other pilots pulled out of their dives and climbed after
     the fleeing disc.  But even with extra speed from their afterburners they were
     quickly left behind.

        "As the UFO disappeared in the clouds at 14,000 feet, one AF pilot, guided by
     gunsight radar, climbed after the unseen craft.  His approach apparently was
     registered aboard the disc, for it instantly changed course, tracked by height-finder
     radar at Klamath Falls.  Even after the AF pilots gave up the hopeless chase, the
     radar operators were still tracking the UFO in high speed maneuvers between 6,000
     and 54,000 feet.

        "When the pilots landed, still tense from their frightening experience, they were
     hurried into an Intelligence debriefing session.  After describing the UFO encounter
     they were ordered not to discuss the pursuit, even among themselves."  (171.)

     Keyhoe even adds more sensational claims:

        "Within hours, a new development upset the AF.  When HQ learned of the discs'
     exhaust blast, it feared that the UFO might be using nuclear power.  Through the
     FAA at Seattle, Flight Specialist Wertz was ordered to make a flying check for
     abnormal radioactivity.  Using a Geiger counter, Wertz and the pilot of a Tri-
     Pacer circled at various altitudes in the area where the UFO had hovered.  The
     results, teletyped to the AF, were never released."  (172.)

     "Track JB-129."

     The Air Force admits scrambling jets to investigate a unidentified blip which was given the number "JB-129."  In a letter to Senator Magnuson, the Air Force said the Seattle and Redmond FAA logs were "misleading."  The scramble was in response to the notification of a UFO sighting, but that there was no:  "...evidence of radar tracking of the UFO or any success of the attempted intercept."  (173.)  Moreover:

        "The radar return bearing track No. JB-129 on the Klamath Falls ground-
     control interception station was not an unidentified flying object.  It was deter-
     mined by the four senior controllers on duty during the period of search that
     this radar return on the ground station scope was a radar echo from a gap filler
     antenna located on a mountain at the 8,010-foot level.  This radar return did
     not move during the entire period of the search."  (174.)

     The way the letter to the Senator describes it, there didn't seem much to be excited about.  So why did the Air Force go to so much trouble to check out a "stationary" target?

     The 25th Air Division compiled a report on the radar/jet case in early 1960.  Fortunately this was more than three months after the incident, because after three months recorder logs and intercept action reports were routinely destroyed, thus the official records that would have showed the speed and altitude performance of track JB-129 were not available and never would be. The Senior Controller on duty, Captain Gordon Poland, was also unavailable, having been transferred
to Iceland on February 1, 1960.

     What we do know is in the 25th Air Division summary.  The two F-102s scrambled at 1300Z (5:00 a.m.) returned to base at 1420Z (6:20 a.m.) with "negative results."  (175.)  We assume no radar or visual contact was made in contrast to Keyhoe's "wild" story.  We are then told two more jets were sent up at 1452Z (6:52 a.m.).  (176.)  It should be remembered that 1420Z Seattle reported the UFO was about 25 miles south of Redmond at 52,000 feet.  At 1511Z (7:11 a.m.) Seattle notified Redmond that the UFO was 25 miles south but that the UFO was at: "various altitudes from 6,000 to 52,000 feet."  (177.)  Orders came from McChord AFB, Washington to have two more F-102s held in readiness.  (178.)  At 1529Z (7:29 a.m.) the airborne jets returned to base "without results."  <179.)  At 1608Z (8:08 a.m.) a single F-102 was scrambled. At 1613Z (8:13 a.m.) the Air Division summary says:  "One civilian Tri-Pacer aircraft took off from Redmond for low altitude search.  One of the crew members was equipped with a Geiger counter."  (180.)  This confirms some of what Keyhoe claims.  At 1655Z (8:55 a.m.) the single F-102 aloft reports in from the area of Pauline Mountain.  The pilot is making a visual search of the ground apparently.  He reports seeing boats on a lake and a radio relay station.  He also reports weather conditions:  "scattered clouds and bumpy air."  (181.)  At 1718Z (9:18 a.m.) another single F-102 was scrambled.  This pilot reports clouds from 20,000 to 12,000 feet.  He sights a ranger station near Pauline Lake.  (182.)  At 1821Z (10:21 a.m.) the Tri-Pacer aircraft returned to Redmond.  No object sighted and no radiation detected.  (183.) At 1823Z (10:23 a.m.) yet another aircraft, an F-89, was scrambled from Portland.  The F-89 returned to base with negative results.  at 1949Z (11:49 a.m.) the senior controller at 25th Air Division ordered the scrambling of an H-19 helicopter from Kingsley Field.  The craft conducted a search until 2154Z (1:54 p.m.) with negative results.  At 2155Z (1:55 p.m.) track JB-129 was scrubbed from plotting board.  (184.)  The summary noted that beginning at 1700Z, or 9:00 a.m., the 25th Air Division scrambles were made part of an Air Defense exercise.  (185.) It had to be full daylight by then and would explain the single plane scrambles and the helicopter. Apparently the pilots of these flights were in no hurry because they were requested to check for any ground features or weather that might be affecting the radar beam.  The Pauline Mountain /lake area was where the gap filler radar antenna was located.  The Air Force record states:

        "Repeated passes were made by the interceptors at levels from 40,000 down
     to 12,000 feet.  The interception being directed through [My emphasis-L. Gross]
     our radar return JB-129.  No interceptor received a radar return on his airborne
     radar.  At altitudes below 12,000 feet visual search was conducted under VFR
     conditions with negative results."  (186.)

     With the information the Air Force provides, there isn't much of a case for a Redmond radar object, but there is some indirect evidence the military felt there may have been a strange craft in the sky over Oregon on the 24th.  A press account states:  "Wertz also said the Seattle FAA office ordered him to search the Redmond area by plane.  He and private pilot, Ben Jacques, canvassed a large area southeast of here [Corvallis] using a device to check for radioactivity, but nothing turned up."  (187.)  This confirms some of what Keyhoe claims and tells us it wasn't Wertz's idea, nor could it have been the FAA's idea.  The agency isn't in the nuclear business.  The request had to come from the military.

     Interest in the case lingered for many months because there was a hope an IGY aurora research camera located near Redmond, that took pictures of the night sky on a regular basis, might have captured the UFO on film.  Richard Hall of NICAP pursued this possibility but eventually received bad news from Mr. G. Sprague of the IGY World Dada Center:

         "As mentioned in Professor Gartlein's letter of December 22, 1959, we
     found nothing unusual on this film and the same is true of the inspection made
     by Wolf and the Portland Oregonia.  You should bear in mind, however,
     that the camera gives a very small image of the sky and it is seldom possible
     to see star sized objects unless they are very bright.  This is especially true of
     pictures with clouds.  Venus and the moon show just before sunrise, but no other
     stars are visible."  (188.)

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