By Robert HastingsThose of you who have followed the ongoing online exchange between James T. Carlson and myself, regarding the UFO-related missile shutdowns at one of the U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Air Command bases in 1967, already know Carlson’s take on things, as well as my own. For those of you just joining the fray, Carlson’s father, Eric, had been the missile launch commander at one of the two Minuteman missile “flights”, Echo, when all ten of the missiles malfunctioned. Carlson Sr. told his son, James, that no UFOs were present when the incident occurred, despite the testimony of the deputy missile commander that day, now-retired Col. Walter Figel, who states that he did indeed receive two separate reports of a UFO hovering over one of Echo’s missiles at the time of the shutdowns. Figel first confirmed this to another former missile launch officer, Bob Salas, and his research associate, Jim Klotz, in the mid-1990s. More recently, in October 2008, Figel confirmed it to me as well, in a taped telephone conversation. All of this has prompted a flurry of posts from James, over the last few years, directed at Salas and everyone else who disputes what his father told him. Now that I have challenged the accuracy of what the senior Carlson has said, James is after my hide too.
A review of James Carlson’s online posts to date will reveal a sometimes reasonable, but mostly overly-emotional response to my own posts. The moderator of this blog, Frank Warren, already modified one of Carlson’s responses, deleting a passage in which James told me to go f*** myself. I simply mention this fact because, behind the scenes, Carlson has made the following statements to me via email:
JTC’s email to RH on 12/30: “…you were so sloppy and careless…a piss-poor writer and researcher…you're really just a pathetic, egotistical nothing of a person, an unhealthy canker sore on the world, and, even worse, you know that, you're actually conscious of exactly how pathetic you really are, and how unimportant and worthless your thoughts and theories are to the rest of the world, and how your scheming and lying in the long run will compare less favorably to the average ambitions of an otherwise ignorant man…Robert Hastings responds:
And since you're not a very honest individual -- even to yourself (after all, a man who is as pathetic as you are and realizes the true extent of that must lie an awful lot to himself on a regular basis just to get through the day -- I bet you hate mirrors) -- you tell yourself that one more little worthless expression of your will is all you need to make this heretic admit that he was wrong and that the liar is after all telling the truth…
After all of this explanation regarding your personality flaws and your motivations and the effect your own bad writing and research has on your point of view and why it's so necessary for you to get the last word in, so you can feel for one bare-headed moment in time that maybe you're not the pathetic loser your every second on earth shouts out to the universe that you are, it's ironic that tomorrow morning, I'll still be the only one of us telling the truth, and you'll still be the idiot who has to re-interview his sources before answering a few questions on a subject he's already written a book about. And so, the world keeps turning, and we both greet the morning sun, each of us fully aware that you really are a sad and pathetic piece of shit.”
JTC’s email to RH on 12/31: “I knew you'd never be able to stop yourself from writing back. You're just so damn easy -- of course, being an uncontrollable whore helps some, doesn't it? You just keep on doing whatever you're doing, 'cause you're being publicly spanked all over the place, and I'm just enjoying the shit out of it.”
Whew! So, according to James, I’m dishonest, a piss-poor writer and researcher, an idiot, a pathetic, egotistical nothing of a person, an unhealthy canker sore on the world, a bitch, a piece of shit, a whore, and a pathetic loser. For those of you who are keeping score, that’s two pathetics. (In the interest of fairness, I hereby confess that somewhere in the midst of that two-day tirade, I called James a “putz”. Look it up.)http://tinyurl.com/9lwj5q
I’m confident that most of the people reading this are hoping, as I am, that James will seek some help. I have already recommended that he take an anger management course, try deep breathing exercises, or begin meditation.
Well, not that it will ever matter to James T. Carlson, but for those of you who might be interested, I have developed additional information about the two UFO-related, full-flight missile shutdowns at Malmstrom AFB, in March 1967, which further clarifies what occurred and, therefore, assists in providing the most probable scenario regarding the timing of the two events. Actually, those findings have been online since 2006, at:
In any case, here is an important piece of the puzzle. Excerpting from the above-reference article:
Malmstrom AFB, Montana (1966-67):
1st Lt. Robert C. Jamison—Former USAF Minuteman ICBM targeting officer (Combat Targeting Team Commander), 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron, Malmstrom AFB, Montana:
Jamison states that he assisted in the re-start of an entire "flight" of ten Minuteman ICBMs which had simultaneously and inexplicably shut down immediately after a UFO was sighted in their vicinity by Air Force Security Police. Jamison is certain that the incident occurred at one of the missile flights located near Lewistown, Montana, perhaps Oscar Flight. This event probably occurred on the night of March 24/25, 1967, based on Jamison’s portrayal of related events.
Jamison said that while his and other teams were preparing to respond to the stricken flight, they were ordered—as a precaution—to remain at Malmstrom until all UFO reports from the field had ceased. He further states that his team received a special briefing prior to being dispatched, during which it was directed to immediately report any UFO sighted while traveling to or from the missile field. In the event that a UFO appeared at one of the missile silos during the re-start procedure, the team was directed to enter the silo's personnel hatch, and remain underground until the UFO had left the vicinity. According to Jamison, the Air Police guard accompanying the team was to remain outside and relay information about the UFO to the base Command Post. Jamison’s own team re-started three or four missiles but did not observe any unusual aerial activity.
Jamison said that while he was at the missile maintenance hangar, waiting to be dispatched to the field, he overheard two-way radio communications at the temporary Command Post, relating to another UFO having been sighted on the ground in a canyon near the town of Belt. He states he recalls hearing that a top commander—either Malmstrom’s base commander, or the 341st Strategic Missile Wing commander—was on-site with other personnel. Based on these recollections, it appears that Jamison is describing the well-documented Belt, Montana UFO sighting of March 24/25, 1967.
Jamison said that immediately after the missile shutdown incident, for a period of approximately two weeks, his team received a special UFO briefing, identical to the one described above, before being dispatched to the field.
Jamison said that approximately two weeks after the full-flight missile shutdown, his team responded to another, partial shutdown—involving four or five ICBMs. Prior to being dispatched, Jamison’s team received a report that the missile failures had occurred immediately after a UFO was sighted over the flight's Launch Control Facility. Jamison recalls that this incident took place at a flight located south or southwest of Great Falls, possibly India Flight, and during daylight hours...
If Jamison’s recollections are correct, and he did indeed respond to a large-scale missile shutdown at Oscar Flight on the same date as the well-documented Belt UFO sighting, then the date proposed for the Oscar event by Salas and Klotz—March 16, 1967—would seem to be in error. Salas has now acknowledged this possibility, however, Klotz remains skeptical about the alternate date…
Salas said, “I [now] think it is more likely that Oscar Flight went down on some date after the Echo Flight [shutdown] and that it could very well have been on the same day as the Belt sighting. One of the factors that lead me to that 'opinion' is the lack of comment about two flights going down in the [now-declassified] telex that went out, and in the unit history. If the two had gone down on the same day, that would have been mentioned. The reason, I think, Oscar wasn't mentioned later is because by then the Air Force wanted to keep a secrecy lid on it and avoid the possibility of a leak by the indication of a growing and continuing problem. That would have made quite some headlines in the press.”
In conclusion, Jamison’s statements are important because they indicate that the Air Force was fully aware of UFO involvement in at least two missile flight shutdown incidents [most likely at Oscar and India] prior to dispatching the missile maintenance teams to restart the ICBMs. Specifically, according to Jamison, the 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron undertook certain precautions and formally implemented various procedures to protect the teams’ safety while in the field. In this respect, his testimony is unprecedented.
END OF EXCERPT
So, given this testimony, it seems likely that Oscar went down on the evening of March 24th. By the way, James, I first interviewed Bob Jamison in 1992, some four years before Salas and Klotz posted their article online. I was not in touch with Salas until 1998, or with Klotz until 2002, so neither of them was aware of Jamison’s statements to me until well after they had posted their article online. Consequently, the former Combat Targeting Team Commander’s statements regarding his response to a UFO-related, full-flight missile shutdown were already on-the-record well before Salas attempted to reconstruct, circa 1995, the exact flight he had been at and the date of the shutdown he witnessed in 1967. Jamison’s own written statement, sent to Bob Salas in 2004, appears here.
So, anyway, here we have a former missile targeting team officer, Bob Jamison, reporting that he responded to a UFO-related, full-flight shutdown, probably at Oscar Flight (I am being cautious, Jamison told me he was certain it was Oscar when we spoke) on the same night of the well-document incident of March 24/25, 1967, when a UFO landed in a canyon near Belt, Montana. This information also makes moot James Carlson’s criticisms about the weather conditions reported by Salas at the time Oscar’s missiles went down (a clear, starry night) conflicting with those mentioned by Electro-Mechanical technician Hank Barlow who reported windy, snowy conditions at the time Echo’s missiles went down. The conditions were different because the two shutdowns occurred on different days. According to a declassified USAF document, Echo went down at 8:30 a.m. on March 16th; according to Bob Jamison, Oscar went down sometime after 10 p.m. on the 24th, and perhaps even later, sometime in the early hours of the 25th.
I know, James, I know: Jamison is a liar too. Or he doesn’t remember clearly. Unlike your own father, who would never shade the truth to protect national security, and whose memory of the events at Echo Flight are of course crystal clear after 40 years and unimpeachable. (Well, you get points for being a loyal, if perhaps too gullible son. By the way, James, your father told me that he hadn’t talked to you in years, and didn’t even have your phone number. Maybe it’s time for another father-to-son talk about all of this. You should call him.)
Additionally, James, your father’s missile deputy commander at Echo, now Col. Walt Figel, is rather puzzled by your posted statements—which I sent to him—given that you have publicly misrepresented what he told me in a taped telephone conversation on 10/20/08. You wouldn’t know that of course, because you’re too timid to call him, to hear the facts from his own mouth, about the very serious, eyewitness reports he received from a missile maintenance man and security team leader, of a UFO hovering over one of the Echo missile sites at the time the whole ten-missile flight shut down.
As you know, you’ve attempted to spin those facts, by incorrectly portraying the Strike Team leader’s report of a “large, round object hovering directly over the site” as a joke. Figel doesn’t claim that it was a joke, only you do. Actually, Figel told me that the team leader “was serious but I wasn’t taking him seriously.” So, no matter what you say, James, it was no joke, as Figel made quite clear to me (and to Bob Salas and Jim Klotz, over ten years ago, when they interviewed him). You weren’t there that day, talking to the Strike Team leader, James, but Figel was.
In my latest phone call to Figel, earlier today, he told me that while he didn’t know what your motivation was for misrepresenting his earlier statements to me, he thought that you “seem to have an ax to grind.” I hereby offer, once again, to give you Figel’s phone number, if you are interested in hearing all of this directly. (By the way, Figel asked me to call him after the holidays, hence my delay in posting this. I only needed to re-interview him because I wanted his reaction to your misplaced interpretation of his comments to me. Of course, in your most recent posts, you claimed that I needed to re-interview Figel because I had failed to ask the right questions the first time around, and also claimed that my delay in responding to your posts was because I was afraid to address your accusations. None of which is true.)
Interestingly, your own father, Eric Carlson, told me in a 10/6/08 telephone conversation that he himself had previously received reports from missile security guards of UFOs during other missile alerts he had pulled at Malmstrom, but that he didn’t take them seriously either. He told me, “you take an 18-year-old kid and stick him out there for days, with nothing but TV dinners, and they have a tendency to see things.” Did your father ever tell you that, James, that he had indeed received UFO sighting reports from missile guards at one time or another, but disbelieved them? If he did, you have never mentioned it publicly.
Gee, I wonder what else your father didn’t tell you...
So, James, the actual eyewitnesses—the ones that you are always ranting on about as being the only true witnesses—were in fact reporting the sighting of UFOs in Malmstrom’s missile field, during one alert or another, to both Col. Figel and your father. Just because the two launch officers didn’t take the reports seriously does not mean that they weren’t valid reports. (Bob Salas didn’t take his Flight Security Controller—his top guard—seriously either, when he was told of a UFO hovering over the security fence gate at Oscar’s Launch Control Facility. So, there’s another thing your father and Salas have in common.)
As you know, Col. Figel also told me that your father was sitting “two feet away” from him when he was talking to the Strike Team leader on the phone about the UFO, and was also sitting next to him back at squadron headquarters, later that day, when Figel told the squadron commanders and others of receiving reports of UFO activity at Echo Flight. In fact, Figel told me that he “told them everything everyone [at the launch facility] told me. No one made any comments or inquiries.” Figel said that his comments were not treated with disbelief or contempt but that everything he said was written down. (That’s a report, James, just like the report Figel told the Strike Team leader to make in his own log, after sighting the UFO.) Figel further told me that he is “almost certain” that your father was questioned as well but, regardless, he certainly did not contradict anything Figel was saying to the commanders about having received UFO reports from the missile maintenance man and the Strike Team leader. (When I asked your father about the phone call Figel had with the Strike Team leader, during which a UFO was reported over one of the missile sites, he first said that he “had no knowledge” of UFOs being reported, however, later on he said that he couldn’t “recall” whether there had been any mention of UFOs.)
Regardless, neither Figel nor your father were relieved of their positions as missile commander and deputy commander, despite the highly unusual nature of their report. So, the reports they made to their superiors were treated seriously, probably because such reports of UFOs near missile sites had already been generated at Minot AFB—another Strategic Air Command base, months earlier, in August 1966—as now-declassified USAF documents confirm. I also have eyewitness reports from two security guards at Malmstrom who reported UFOs at other flights in 1966-67. Consequently, your father’s commanders probably already knew about such reports and did not think of him, or Figel, or the maintenance man or the Strike Team leader, as deranged or unreliable, simply because there had been reports of a UFO hovering over one of Echo Flight’s missiles when the flight went down.
Instead, after being debriefed, Figel was told, “Thank you very much. Don’t talk about it.” Given that Figel says your father was sitting right next to him during the debriefing, he would have been told the same thing. Maybe that’s why your father didn’t tell you any of these things, James. Maybe he felt that he couldn’t tell you the truth, even decades later, because of national security. If that’s the case, his motives are understandable. Unfortunately, because of your public defaming of everyone else involved with the two separate, full-flight shutdowns at Malmstrom in March 1967, you have created a situation where I must challenge your flawed, sad, self-delusional display. But I haven’t made a fool of you, James. You did that to yourself, although you seem oblivious to that fact.
On the other hand, maybe your dad didn’t mislead you. Maybe his memory is not what it once was. That’s quite possible of course. In any case, Col. Figel seemed very sharp, intelligent and articulate when I spoke with him and he was clearly puzzled by your father’s claim of having no memory of the conversation he had to have overheard in the capsule, since he was sitting “two feet away” from Figel when it occurred.
Ah, others will ask: But what about Salas’ reconstruction of what he initially presumed to be his involvement in the Echo missile shutdown incident? James Carlson makes much of Salas later modifying his first published statements on the shutdowns, and says that proves that Salas is a liar.
Actually, Salas’ evolving account is understandable and easily explained. Well, it’s readily explainable to reasonable, unbiased, non-hysterical listeners. Here are the facts: Salas approached researcher Jim Klotz in 1995 and asked him to file FOIA requests regarding the Malmstrom missile shutdown incidents on his behalf. When part of the 341st Strategic Missile Wing history was declassified and released to Klotz, it acknowledged a full-flight missile shutdown at Echo Flight, on March 16, 1967, and also referenced UFO sightings at November Flight. Salas first assumed that he and his missile commander, now-retired Col. Fred Meiwald, had been at Echo because that was the only full-flight shutdown the Air Force would admit to.
However, at that point, Salas had not yet located Meiwald, so he had only hunches and educated guesses to go on. However, eventually the two launch officers who were actually at Echo during that shutdown, Walt Figel and Eric Carlson, were identified—as a result of Klotz’ ongoing investigation—at which point Salas assumed that he and Meiwald had actually been at November Flight, the only flight mentioned in the wing history where UFOs had been reported.
Now, here is something else James does not seem to know, even though it has been public for years: Because 341st SMW Historian David Gamble explicitly told Jim Klotz that “the UFO aspect” of his report in the wing history had later been rewritten by his superiors—that is, the sighting reports at November were officially portrayed as unfounded “rumors”—Salas reasonably concluded that this amounted to a cover-up and that UFOs had indeed been sighted at November Flight and, therefore, that was the flight he had been at. However, this second assumption about the flight in question also proved to be incorrect later on when Salas’ former missile commander, Col. Meiwald, was finally located and interviewed by both Salas and Klotz. Meiwald himself (not Salas, as James Carlson erroneously claims) insisted that the second full-flight shutdown—the one he and Salas had been involved in—was at Oscar, not November Flight. Given this development, Salas understandably deferred to Meiwald’s recollection of the flight’s designation.
Significantly, with the exception of the number of missiles that malfunctioned at Oscar, Col. Meiwald completely endorses Salas’ account. (Moreover, as we now know, missile targeting officer Bob Jamison had already gone on-the-record about having responded to a UFO-related, full-flight shutdown at Oscar, probably in the early hours of March 25th—a fact unknown to both Salas and Meiwald at the time they were reunited and began comparing notes.)
Salas has written, “With regards to how many birds went down at Oscar, I have always deferred to my missile commander Miewald [who recalled] something less than ten. However, my own gut tells me it was all of them. I just can’t remember for sure and Miewald seems to be certain.”
Meiwald also told Salas that when he had reported the Oscar shutdowns to the missile command post by phone, he had been told that the same thing had happened “earlier” at another flight. It was this recollection that initially led Salas to believe that another flight had shutdown earlier that day. Because the wing history mentioned a large-scale shutdown at Echo, on March 16, 1967, Salas reasonably assumed that Echo had to have been the “earlier” flight Meiwald was told about. In fact, Salas held this view for years, until I presented him with former targeting officer Bob Jamison’s testimony regarding a full-flight shutdown on the night of March 24/25. Armed with this new information, Salas made further inquires on his own:
In another email to me, Salas wrote, “I recently spoke with Dick Evans...who I also knew back in the days of Malmstrom. He was also a DMCCC at the time of the Echo shutdowns. In fact he told me he was at Kilo Flight the morning of the Echo Shutdown...Kilo Flight was the 'Command Flight' for the 490th Squadron, which included Oscar Flight. [Evans] told me that he has no recollection of Oscar shutting down or having any problems on that morning. He would have certainly been notified. I just received this information a few days ago...[my emphasis –RH] That info plus the other witnesses already mentioned [primarily Jamison --RH] make for a strong case that Oscar did not go down on [March] 16th.”
In other words, as more and more information became available to Klotz and Salas over time, their knowledge of the facts—the flights involved, the dates they went down—understandably changed. James Carlson would have you believe that this is somehow sinister, and that Salas is lying about, well, everything. Why does James insist on this? Well, first and foremost, Salas had the unmitigated gall to publicly state that Col. Walt Figel had confirmed to him and Jim Klotz that a UFO was indeed reported at Echo Flight on March 16, 1967, and since James’ father, Eric Carlson, had told him otherwise, well, Salas just had to be a liar. That started the ball rolling...
In any case, James, and everybody else, that is the actual chain of events regarding Bob Salas’ evolving public account of the Oscar shutdown incident. In short, James Carlson’s supposed “facts” are incorrect and his “logic” is flawed when he emotionally interprets Salas’ actions and motives. This is an excellent example of an armchair expert’s inept and tainted use of logic—rather than actually interviewing witnesses—resulting in a wrong conclusion. Even as I write this, James is refusing to contact Walt Figel, to hear the facts about the Echo shutdowns from the man who actually received the UFO sighting reports from one of his own Strike Teams, even though I have repeatedly offered Figel’s phone number to James. This is the type of irrational stubbornness James Carlson brings to this debate. His blind acceptance of his father’s version of events is all he needed before commencing his wild tirade online, attacking anyone who disputes what his daddy told him. Unfortunately, in the process, James has smeared the reputation of a number of honorable former or retired Air Force officers.
True, James was/is working under a handicap: His father, Eric Carlson, either intentionally misled him about the actual UFO-related events at Echo, as divulged ten years ago to Klotz and Salas, and more recently to me, by his father’s deputy missile commander, Col. Walt Figel, or the elder Carlson’s memory is now somewhat impaired regarding the events at Echo Flight.
The alternative to one of these two possibilities is this implausible scenario: Eric Carlson has a great memory nowadays and he was entirely truthful when he told his son James that no UFOs were involved at Echo Flight. Therefore, Col. Walt Figel lied, Col. Fred Meiwald lied, former Lt. Bob Jamison lied, former Captain Bob Salas lied, missile technician Hank Barlow lied, wing historian David Gamble lied, researcher Jim Klotz lied and, last but not least, I have been lying.
The reader may draw his or her own conclusions about the merits of James Carlson’s arguments and charges, relative to the information I have presented here.
Now, as if any more testimony were actually needed to support the idea of UFO-involvement in the Echo Flight shutdown incident, after Col. Figel’s statements on the matter, I will now excerpt a February 1, 1997 letter written by Robert Kaminski to Jim Klotz. Kaminski headed-up the team of Boeing engineers who were responsible for investigating the Echo malfunctions. (Despite what James Carlson says, the team never concluded that a failing logic coupler had caused the shutdowns—nor did power failures, nor any other prosaic cause, as Kaminski himself clearly states below.) He writes:
“Since this was a field site peculiar incident, a determination was made to send out an investigation team to survey the LCF [Echo Launch Control Facility] and the LFs [Launch Facilities, or silos] to determine what failures or related incidents could be found to explain the cause. The team was made up of qualified engineers and technicians headed by scientific person who was a glaciologist. There were about 5 persons in all that were sent out. After a week in the field the team returned and pooled their data. At the outset the team quickly noticed a lack of anything that would come close to explain why the event occurred. There were no significant failures, engineering data or findings that would explain how ten missiles were knocked off alert. This indeed turned out to be a rare event and not encountered before. The use of backup power systems and other technical system circuit operational redundancy strongly suggests that this kind of event is virtually impossible once the system was up and running and on line with other LCF's and LF's interconnectivity.
[After months of investigation,] the team met with me to report their findings and it was decided that the final report would have nothing significant in it to explain what happened at E-Flight. In other words there was no technical explanation that could explain the event. The team went off to do the report. Meanwhile I was contacted by our representative at OOAMA (Don Peterson) and told by him that the incident was reported as being a UFO event—That a UFO was seen by some Airmen over the LCF [sic] at the time E-Flight went down.
Subsequently, we were notified a few days later, that a stop work order was on the way from OOAMA to stop any further effort on this project. We stopped. We were also told that we were not to submit the final engineering report. This was most unusual since all of our work required review by the customer and the submittal of a final Engineering report to OOAMA.”
I have a copy of Kaminski’s letter. So, James, the Boeing engineers were told to stop their work, and not to submit a report—an unprecedented request on the part of the Air Force. And what was the reason given to Kaminski for this unusual situation? Why, there had indeed been UFO involvement in the Echo Flight shutdowns!
I know, James, I know: Kaminski is lying too. Right?
Because of the extreme sensitivity of these two missile shutdown incidents, even now, formal Air Force reports—from the Strike Team leader, from Carlson and Figel’s squadron commanders, from SAC headquarters, from the Pentagon—will obviously not be forthcoming for the foreseeable future. James Carlson will cling to this last straw and continue to claim that no evidence, that is, no official reports of UFO involvement in the Echo and Oscar Flight shutdowns, exist to prove what Walt Figel, Fred Meiwald, Bob Salas, Hank Barlow and the others have now finally revealed. Other debunkers will undoubtedly be satisfied with this faux argument as well and continue to hold up James Carlson’s, ahem, astute statements on the issue as reasonable and informed debate. Such is life…
One of these days, James, you really ought to apologize to Salas, Klotz, Meiwald, and the others you have so recklessly and needlessly defamed. But I won’t hold my breath. Actually, I still have a lot of research to do, relating to other UFO activity at Malmstrom and other former SAC missile bases, from the 1960s up to nearly the present day, so I won’t continue this public exchange, except when it pleases me to do so. So rant on, James. And, for Pete’s sake, call your father one of these years.
ROBERT C. JAMISON October 27, 2004
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The following is the best of my recollection regarding the Malmstrom AFB Missile-UFO incident of March 1967. This incident occurred 37 years ago and time can compress and warp memories. However, I remember this incident quite well and offer the following:
In 1967, I was a Second Lieutenant in the USAF, later promoted to First Lieutenant by the time of the UFO incident. I was assigned to the 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron (MIMS) at Malmstrom AFB in Montana as a Missile Targeting Officer. Essentially, my job was to point the missile in the right direction. In addition, we were dispatched to restart a missile which, for any reason, went off strategic alert or was down for other maintenance, such as replacement of missile, the guidance and control systems, RV (re-entry vehicle or war head) or any other activity requiring the missile to be taken off alert status. Missiles must be on alert status at all times, ready for immediate use if necessary. Alert status meant the gyros in the guidance section are on and other functions remain active.
We were mostly on stand-by status and ready to respond whenever needed. On certain occasions we would be dispatched on a scheduled task. These would primarily be target related missions (usually retargeting). We were on a six day schedule. The first day we would be on stand-by, or dispatched, in the mornings, the second day in the afternoon and the third day in the evenings which usually extended into the fourth day. The remaining two days were either days off or training days. In the event we were not dispatched we may be required to report for other house cleaning type duties.
On the day of the UFO events in Oscar Flight in March 1967 I was on evening stand-by, I received a call from Job Control (they are the unit that keeps track of the missile status and dispatches maintenance teams as needed). I was told that a missile in Oscar Flight had gone off alert and required a restart. No other information was given, which was not unusual. I called my team members (two enlisted personnel: an NCO and an Airman). Upon arriving at the MIMS hanger to prepare for the dispatch, a friend (I don't remember who) approached me and asked me if I knew what was happening. I did not. I was told a UFO was seen over Oscar Flight and the whole flight went off alert. I then went to job control to find out what was going on. They confirmed what I had been told and that I would have to restart 3 or 4 missiles that night but stick around until they were sure that the event was over.
I mentioned that I thought that was unusual, or something to that effect. They told me something even more unusual. A truck driver reported a UFO going into a canyon south of Great Falls. At this location, near a town named Belt, was a long, straight down grade fill section with steep sides. On the south side was a small canyon. I was told that several people from the base, including either the Base Commander of the Wing Commander, I don't remember which, was also on site. They reported strange lights on the floor of the canyon. The sides of the canyon were rather steep and not safe for scaling until, at least, daylight. Also two helicopters were dispatched to the area to keep their eyes on the thing until daylight. Again, because of the steep sides and narrowness of the site, they were not permitted to descend in the dark. I was told that I could possibly get more information at a temporary Command Post set up in the Daily Briefing Room. I was let in but didn't get much information as nothing much was going on at the time. They were in radio communication with those at the scene. I did hear descriptions of lights on the bottom of the canyon. Other than that, it was pretty boring. I stood in the back of the small room as I had no input to offer. I was there for probably 45 minutes when one of my crew members came in and told me that no new incidents have occurred and that we were to dispatch. Prior to dispatch I was told to attend a short briefing, involving only my crew (other crews were given the same briefing, separately, when they were dispatched). We were told to keep our eyes open for any unusual aerial activity. If anything was seen en route to or from any of the sites, report immediately by radio. If we were at the site and the site was open we were to enter the silo with the targeting tapes which we carried to the site and close the personnel hatch. (Although the missiles were more or less "pointed" in the right direction we had to program the missile's computer, using the tapes, with other information such as the launch code (partial), range data and blast type. The tapes were optically encoded and classified secret/crypto. They were to be guarded at all times). The SAT guard (accompanying us to the sites at all times) was to be left outside. At that time, he was the only one armed. Later, the Targeting Team members (officer and NCO only) were issued .38s (but not as a result of the UFO activities). The missiles in Oscar Flight averaged about 160 miles from the base. With the Air Force vehicles, we spent 7 to 8 hours traveling time and about two hours for each restart procedure but no activities were seen and the remainder of the night was uneventful.
Upon return to the base, about mid-day the next day, I reported for trip debriefing. All dispatches, including those prior to the incident required a debriefing upon return to the base. Not surprisingly, the main topic was the UFO incident. I reported that I saw nothing unusual. I also inquired about the trapped UFO. I was told that at daybreak the UFO in the canyon rose up out of the canyon, between the two helicopters, and sped away. Later I found out that the area in the canyon was investigated. Weeds and brush in the canyon appeared to have been disturbed but I don't know how much or to what extent or the nature of the disturbance.
I talked to several people, mostly SAT members, who personally witnessed these events. They obviously saw something and were visibly shaken. I remember one telling of seeing two small red lights off at a distance. They then began to close in toward the missile site, then he broke down so I don't know what happened. I thought it best not to pursue the matter further. I never even mentioned it to him later. Rumor had it that several people went bonkers, but I don't know who and I seriously doubt it. In these types of events, exaggeration and fancy take their toll.
A short time following these events (I don't remember how long) a UFO was seen over India Flight and several, but not all, missiles went off alert. As in the Oscar event, I was called upon to restore alert status to these missiles. I also heard that a similar event occurred over Echo Flight. I don't remember this event. This may have occurred during one of my off-duty days when I try to have as little contact with MIMS as possible. These are the days I reserve for myself and my family.
Several weeks after the above events, I was assigned to accompany Boeing technicians to visit the sites to query the guidance and control sections. They were not permitted to be at the site unless accompanied by authorized personnel. I asked then to include the UFO incident in their final report and they said they would! The final report was classified and I can't confirm that this was done.
I hope this helps. I apologize for the delay in getting this to you. Not only was I involved in wringing the last bit out of the summer vacation period I wanted to give this report plenty of thought so that the information is complete and correct to the best of my recollection. My signature below gives you permission to use the above information in any way which may assist you in your endeavors. Keep in touch,
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