By Robert HastingsIn response to my initial post on this thread, James Carlson has questioned the truthfulness of my former/retired U.S. Air Force sources, including former Captain Bob Salas, regarding their knowledge of UFO-involvement in large-scale nuclear missile malfunctions, at various Strategic Air Command bases during the Cold War era. Below I have inserted what will be the first in a series of responses to Carlson’s wild and inaccurate charges.
But first, in his first post on this thread, an indignant Carlson, writes:
“[Former Minuteman missile launch officer Bob] Salas' account states that my father [Captain Eric Carlson] and First Lieutenant Walt Figel, the Echo-Flight Missile Combat Crew, were below ground in the E-Flight Launch Control Center (LCC) or capsule during the incident, and that during the early morning hours, more than one report came in from security patrols and maintenance crews that UFOs were in the area. A UFO was supposedly reported directly above one of the E-Flight launch facilities. These sightings supposedly occurred at the same time the missiles went into "off-alert" status. In other words, the UFOs were supposedly the cause of the entire flight of ten ICBMs going offline. All of their missiles reported a "No-Go" condition – i.e., they became inoperable, apparently due to a Guidance and Control (G&C) System fault. Although declassified documents support the assertion that there was a missile line failure throughout the E-Flight complex, no documentation supports the story told here of UFOs having anything whatsoever to do with the failure. True believers see this as ‘proof’ that the government is hiding the actual facts of the March 16, 1967 incident. It’s apparently far more reasonable to believe that the government is lying about UFOs, than to believe that Jim Klotz and Robert Salas – who actually made some money off of this smelly butt – might have lied about UFOs being involved in a national security incident 30 years earlier...”
“I can assure you that absolutely nothing out of the ordinary happened that Thursday morning, March 16, 1967 in the E-Flight Launch Control Center. There was a computer malfunction, but given the quality of computers used in 1967 -– even state of the art computers -- this was hardly a rare occurrence. There was an investigation, but this was standard operating procedure, and again was nothing new. Everything else is totally false, from the UFOs on down…Security Alert Teams were often dispatched from Echo in those days, because they provided tier one security for the missiles. There were, however, no UFOs seen by anybody concerned, and had Figel received such a report from one of the mobile security crews and not informed the strike teams – or my father, who was in charge during the watch – as all the above article asserts, he would have been arrested. That didn't happen, however, and my father, being the watch Captain, is absolutely certain that no such report was ever made. Searches were made, but no record or log entry was ever uncovered This wasn’t due to a conspiracy. Nothing was found because nothing was there.”
Now, Robert Hastings responds:
Below are pertinent excerpts from my taped telephone conversation on 10/20/08 with Col. Walter Figel (USAF Ret.). Figel was Eric Carlson’s deputy missile commander at Echo Flight on March 16, 1967:
WF: [At the time of the Echo Flight shutdown] what was unusual was that several of the missiles were open...for some routine maintenance. I don’t remember why. But, uh, at least two of them were running on diesel power so they were not connected to the power grid. I don’t remember if it was three open or four open [but] it was just routine maintenance. Nothing had happened [to the missiles]. It was just the time of the year for routine maintenance. Um, and the day before, there were maintenance teams out there. They had stayed overnight—
RH: Do you know how many maintenance teams were out overnight?
WF: You know, I think it was four. It was the two sites that had diesels running and two others. And when maintenance stays overnight they...stay in a camper...When you have maintenance on the site and they’re going to stay overnight, you have a security team on the site.
(Break. Figel goes into detail about security procedures.)
WF: [When] the missiles dropped off alert, I started calling the maintenance people out there on the radio to talk to them. I had the security guard authenticate so I know I’m talking to a security guard and, you know, [I asked] “What’s going on? Is maintenance trying to get into the silo?” [The guard said,] “No, they’re still in the camper.” [So, I said,] “Get ‘em up, I want to talk to them.” Then I tried to tell them what I had was a Channel 9 No-Go.
RH: Uh huh.
WF: Uh, we did that with the sites that were there, that [had maintenance teams and their guards on site] and I sent Strike Teams to two other sites. There’s no sense sending them where I [already] have a guard and a gun and an authenticate.
RH: So far in this narrative, you haven’t mentioned UFOs.
WF: [Laughs] That’s correct. Um, somewhere along the way, um, one of the maintenance people—cause he didn’t know what was going on any place else either, they have no capability of talking to each other [at different launch sites], in other words, they can talk to the [launch] capsule but they can’t talk to each other—
WF: —unless they were on the radio and no one was using the radio except the security police. And the guy says, “We got a Channel 9 No-Go. It must be a UFO hovering over the site. I think I see one here.” [I said,] “Yeah, right, whatever. What were you drinking?” And he tried to convince me of something and I said, well, I basically, you know, didn’t believe him. [Laughs] I said, you know, we have to get somebody to look at this [No-Go]. [A short time later] one of the Strike Teams that went out, one of the two, claimed that they saw something over the site.
RH: How did they describe that?
WF: Oh, on radio, [they said,] “There’s this large object hovering over the site!” I’ve always been a non-believer [in UFOs] so I said, “Right, sure you do.” [They responded,] “Yeah! Yeah, we do!” So, [I said,] “There’s two of you there, saying so, so write it down in your report.” [The Strike Team leader] said, “What do you want us to do?” [I said,] “Follow your checklist. Go to the site, open it up, and call me.”
RH: What was the demeanor of the guard you were talking to?
WF: Um, you know, I wouldn’t say panicked, or anything [like that]. I was thinking he was yanking my chain more than anything else.
RH: But he seemed to be serious to you?
WF: He seemed to be serious and I wasn’t taking him seriously.
RH: Alright. If it was a large object, did he describe the shape of the object?
WF: He just said a large round object.
RH: Directly over the LF?
WF: Directly over the site.
(BREAK. Figel describes hearing from the maintenance man about his opening up the silo, going down into it, and reporting that even though the missile was offline, nothing was visually damaged or otherwise amiss at the site.)
RH: Did he describe the object leaving the scene?
WF: No. He never said anything about it again.
(BREAK. Figel describes telling all the maintenance teams to stay at their sites until relieved, and not to attempt repairs until told to do so, since the missile silos were in effect “crime scenes”.)
RH: When you got the first call, well, when the missiles went down, you didn’t have an inkling of an alleged UFO-involvement until you got the report back from the first Strike Team member?
WF: That’s correct. (RH: Actually, the missile maintenance man mentioned seeing the UFO first.)
RH: Okay, uh, and only one of the two teams reported seeing an object?
RH: Uh, did you discuss the report with Mr. Carlson—that you were being told that there was a UFO at one of the sites?
WF: Um, he could hear it, uh, I mean he was sitting right there, two feet away from me—
WF: Whatever I said, he would have heard.
(Break. Figel describes going back to Malmstrom with Carlson and being debriefed by “everybody and his brother.”)
RH: Did any of the conversations back at squadron headquarters, uh, was there any mention of UFOs?
WF: I told them everything everyone told me. No one made any comments or inquiries—
RH: So you did mention the report that you got from the Strike Team?
RH: And no one asked any questions about UFOs per se?
RH: Did they act skeptically or negatively when you mentioned [the Strike Team’s UFO report]?
WF: They just wrote things down.
RH: [Laughs] That sounds right. Poker-faced and—
WF: [Laughs] Poker-faced and wrote things down. They just said, “Thank you very much. Don’t talk about it.” I didn’t sign anything, I can tell you that.
(Break. Hastings describes similar testimony from other missileers who were debriefed at Malmstrom and other Strategic Air Command bases, following UFO-related incidents in the missile fields.)
WF: What did Eric [Carlson] have to say [about the shutdown incident]? (RH had interviewed Carlson two weeks earlier, on 10/6/08)
RH: Uh, he said that he couldn’t recall any UFO-involvement in the incident. He couldn’t remember if you had mentioned UFOs, one way or another. His son [James] has now [posted] on a blog, a web log, a couple of lengthy statements in which he defamed Salas, said Salas was a liar, [and said] there was nothing involving UFOs at Echo...
WF: Did Eric say anything else that was a discontinuity [relative to what I’ve said]?
RH: ...Well, I [told Eric] that you had [heard from] a guard or a maintenance person that there was an object above the site, which you’ve confirmed today—
RH: —And I asked Eric if he remembered any of that, and he said that he did not. And, um, I asked him why his son would have written this scathing, very negative summary, which I will send [to] you, about the event—
WF: That will be interesting.
RH: —calling Salas a liar, and so on and so forth.
WF: Well, I didn’t do that.
RH: Well, I know, but his son, you know, for whatever reason, his son, James Carlson, has got a bug up his nose and said that nothing happened, there were no reports of UFOs, which you told me is incorrect because you got one.
WF: I did!
RH: Well, according to James, it was all bull and Salas was basically pulling it out of the air. [Eric] Carlson just, he didn’t really want to talk about it, frankly, but he did answer my questions. He just was kind of circumspect. I can’t say that he’s not being truthful when he says he doesn’t remember talking to you about UFOs, but that’s what he told me.
WF: I’m sure we had a long conversation. I mean, I reported everything to him that I heard or was told. I mean, we were together, you know? [Laughs]
RH: Well, it has been 40 years, so we have to take that into account. [That is, the possibility of faded memories.]
END OF TELEPHONE TRANSCRIPT
So, folks, James Carlson has it all wrong, according to his father’s deputy missile commander that day at Echo Flight, now retired Col. Walter Figel. Actually, James, the presence of a UFO at one of Echo’s missiles was indeed reported to Figel, by both a missile maintenance technician and a Security Alert Team (or Strike Team) member. It was described as a “large, round object”, hovering directly over the launch facility. Moreover, Figel insists that your father was fully aware of the situation, given that he was sitting “two feet away” from Figel during his phone calls with the on-site maintenance man and the responding missile security policeman. As to why your father can not, or will not, confirm Figel’s story, I won’t speculate.
So, James, will you also now call Col. Figel a liar, just as you have called the other honorable Air Force veterans liars, simply because they have come forward and spoken the truth about UFO activity at ICBM sites? If you would like to speak to Col. Figel yourself, please email me at email@example.com and I will provide you with his telephone number.
Finally, because your reckless and unfounded charges are so numerous, James, I will require a number of posts to correct them all. Stay tuned, I shall return in the near future with the facts. You won’t be swayed by them, of course, but they will serve as an antidote to your uninformed, biased, and inaccurate mutterings, for those who wish to learn the truth.
More . . .
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