Phoenix Lights --- My Story.....It has been nearly 12 years since the incident known as the "Phoenix Lights" was shown around the world, nearly 12 years that something has been burning inside of me. When the official explanations of the incident were released (mainly the story about Maryland ANG A-10 "Flares" story), myself and everyone else that had anything to do with the incident itself were deflated, as we knew it was false.
In short, on the night of March 13, 1997, USAF personnel stationed at both Luke AFB in Glendale and Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson were a bit scared, as something was occurring over the skies of central and southern Arizona that night, and the on-duty personnel at both bases had no idea what it was. That night, Luke AFB scrambled two F-16C's from the 56th Fighter Wing, however, these aircraft were not vectored southwest of Phoenix towards the source of the lights, but directly south towards Tucson. What is known further, is that less than 10 minutes later, a second set of F-16C's from the 56th were also scrambled and sent south-east.
Radio reports from the first flight of aircraft indicated something "odd" was occurring, however the pilots never gave any indication or specifics (in the open at any rate), as to what that was. Both flights were kept away intentionally from the lights being seen near the Estrella range. It was obvious to all with access that there were other aircraft in the area, with orders to drop flares (whether this was the Maryland ANG is unknown). It was felt that this was indeed a "deception" measure to keep curiosity focused on one space in the sky, as flares were never used that far north of the Goldwater training range (as any Luke personnel can tell you, if they were, there would be weekly "Phoenix Lights" incidents).
The next morning, wing intelligence units at both Luke and Davis-Monthan were scrambling to compile information. No one knew what had occurred the night before, but for some top officers that were summoned in during or just after the incident, there was an element of anxiety (I would not say fear, though many were disconcerted). The "hush" order took a few days to trickle down, but it was not a complete wash-up. Because of the sheer amount of public scrutiny, focusing on the "flares" video and photos allowed for a convenient and plausible explanation. Few in the mainstream press talked about the "other" sightings that night, focusing on the large triangular craft that had passed over the Phoenix metro area, the outskirts of Tucson, and over Fort Huachuca before slipping in to Mexico.
Neither did anyone mention the F-16's at all. Even though we KNOW there were numerous civilian witnesses to the scrambles (and even a few mentions here and there), NO ONE in the media asked what we all hoped they would, if this entire incident was just "flares" dropped from ANG aircraft, why then were four F-16's in the air that night, with one pair flying all the way to the Mexican border before turning back to Luke?
The incident has quietly fallen down the memory hole for most, but not for many USAF personnel close to the incident that night. There is a considerable amount of information that was never leaked, and for an incident of this magnitude, the mind boggles as to why.........
On the night of March 13th, 1997, an alert klaxon sounded at Luke, orders for two armed aircraft to perform an immediate take-off to 10,000 feet, and head south-east towards a radar sighting north of Casa Grande, Arizona. The first two aircraft, from the 56th Fighter Wing (310th Fighter Squadron), were armed only with 2x AIM-9M Sidewinder missiles and 20mm Vulcan cannons each. Once the flight was airborne, the flight leader called in that something “odd” was occurring after he picked up a radar contact a few thousand feet below, and several miles ahead of his position. His radar was showing “clutter” common to stand-off jamming.
This led to two further F-16C’s from the 56th, that were being fueled and armed since the first flight was launched, being sent up. This pair, in addition to the armament as above, also carried 2x AIM-7M Sparrow medium range missiles as well. They were also vectored south-east towards Flight 1 (now over Marana, AZ and approaching Tucson) on full afterburner. Flight 1 leader was able to regain radar contact on something large and low that was beginning to accelerate rapidly. Flight 1 lost the contact approximately 7 miles south of Tucson, and was ordered to proceed close to the border and try to regain contact.
Once Flight 1 lost radar contact, Flight 2 was ordered back to Luke (Flight 2 had just approached the Tucson area). Once Flight 1 was on station, attempts were made to re-establish radar contact to no avail. After 10 minutes or so, Flight 1 was ordered back to Luke. ALL of this occurred as the “flares” were being taped and photographed south-west of Phoenix. No aircraft were vectored to that area to investigate.
Further scramble of aircraft was initiated from Nellis AFB, Nevada (prior to the Phoenix sighting) and Holloman AFB, New Mexico (around 10 minutes after the Flight 1 scramble from Luke). F-16’s from Nellis, no word on aircraft type from Holloman (at the time it was the only F-117A “Stealth Fighter” base, with the Luftwaffe having a training squadron of Tornado aircraft, neither would have been used on an intercept mission).
Towers at several locations had tapes of the “event”. Radar at Luke and Davis-Monthan were picking up low level “noise” on several frequencies, similar to what had happened to Flight 1. This “noise” was consistent with active wide-spectrum jamming. It was highly unusual for this to occur in an area that did not have that type of (jamming) training environment (nearest place this was done was at the Nellis AFB range). According to many in the know, something physical was in the sky that night, with radar data providing the primary source of evidence. That “something” entered Mexican airspace and promptly disappeared. Maximum recorded speed was at Mach 1.8 past Tucson nearing Fort Huachuca.
The next day, intelligence units at both Luke and Davis-Monthan were abuzz. No one knew what had occurred, other than something physical was in the sky, an intercept was attempted, and there were thousands of eye-witness accounts (many of these being the flares). Orders were apparently given for a flare-drop near Phoenix by a unit returning from the Goldwater range. This was considered highly odd to say the least, as that order was given while the main event was unfolding. These aircraft were likely A-10’s.
Other than that, all I have is a lot of second-hand hearsay. Mainly stories people would tell while drinking, etc. The above information is from my self, and from close friends whom I trust a great deal. Other than the above, I would not speculate further, as it would take away from the facts and only fuel sensational speculation.