Just for the record
|By Billy Cox|
Something happened during USAF veteran Gerry Flood's Cold War duty in Alaska, and it had been bugging the retired military air traffic control radar operator for nearly half a century. As the years passed and turned to decades, he saw and read “a lot of bullshit UFO stories,” which got him to wrestling with his own piece of peculiar data. It was all ancient history, of course, but from his home in Birmingham, Mich., Flood recalls, “I figured I’ve got to make a record and put it out there somewhere, because this was a legitimate radar event and I would’ve been considered a trained witness.”
So in 2005, the old ATC guy decided to post his first-hand account at the UFO Evidence web site, where you can get the detailed account today. Scene-setter: Early 1958, January-February, Eielson Air Force Base outside Fairbanks, home to nuclear weapons and state-of-the-art U-2 surveillance technology, just months after the Soviet Union rattled the West with its successful launch of Sputnik. Sometime in the wee hours, 2-3 a.m., Flood was watching the scope when a target popped up and began logging speeds of up to 5,000 mph, sometimes at right angles. (NASA wouldn’t be able to reach those velocities with an experimental plane until 2004, when the unmanned X-43A managed to hit Mach 7 before exploding off California after an 11-second run.) With an assist from a search radar antenna, he was able to gauge its upper altitudes at 55,000 feet and beyond.
Flood alerted Distant Early Warning Line outposts as well as ground control approach counterparts at Ladd AFB, all of whom managed to track the bogey for up to four hours. But it stayed confined to a relatively narrow area and made no aggressive moves. Ultimately, around daybreak, a T-33 and a helicopter were ordered up for a look-see, but pilots reported only an “ice cloud” over a LAFB energy plant.
“Well, that didn’t just didn’t fit; the thing was moving all around and it was too high, it was going too fast, and it was picked up on multiple radars,” says Flood, 76. “And the right angle turns it was making — no human being could’ve survived that.”
So Flood’s report languished in virtual obscurity until recently, when he was contacted by Tampa Bay MUFON state section director Bill Schroeder.
“Gerry was great — he’d sat on this stuff for 50 years and when I talked with him he was babbling like a kid who’d just hit a home run,” says Schroeder. “He just didn’t care what people thought anymore.”
Flood’s tale was music to Schroeder’s ears. In the spring of 1967, at about the same time a Cuban MiG-21 is alleged to have been destroyed during a UFO encounter and 10 nuclear ICBM missiles at a Strategic Air Command base in North Dakota went off-line during UFO flyover, Schroeder was monitoring yet another drama from his Army post in in Key West. As a result, the retired police officer is on a quest to contact as many former military ATC personnel as he can. More on that next time.
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