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|In Part 1 of this series, I discussed the accidental missile strike on the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) HMAS Hobart by a United States Air Force (USAF) F–4 Phantom Fighter–Bomber in the early hours of June 17th, 1968. Specifically, I aimed to highlight that there has never really been official confirmation and consensus on what the jet was supposed to be firing on, and, that there was a possibility that the aerial targets it had in its sights were unusual and unidentifiable. The most sensible hypothesis has generally been that North Vietnamese M–14 Hound helicopters were flying in the vicinity of the Hobart, and that the F–4 Phantom made a dreadful targeting error.|
Of course, no serious research project falls back on a single document. Anyone who knows my work will be well aware that I ceaselessly bring forth more, and more, and more, unseen government UFO records to the table. In this Part 2, I aim to present new, or barely known, records which relate to the HMAS Hobart incident. Moreover, there may be, unsurprisingly, a great deal more still–classified records relating to the incident that we simply do not have access to.
An important question which must be asked is that of terminology. Is the use of the term “UFO”, when used in Vietnam–era military records, merely a “catchall” for anything which is airborne and simply unknown to the observer? It would be easy to assume such is the case. However, time and time again we see the term “UFO”, or “Unidentified Flying Object” as distinctly referenced alongside terms like “unidentified aircraft”, “unknown aircraft” and the like.
One of the many examples of this distinction can be found in the individual line items found in a United States Marine Corps (USMC), Command Chronology” publication, titled “Command Chronology, Headquarters, 3erd Marine Division, 1st Amphibious Tractor Battalion, 1 June, 1968 to 30 June, 1968. In the “Sequential Listing of Significant Events” section of the document, there are pages of raw, tabulated text which discusses the daily activities of the 3erd Marine Division’s 1st Amphibious Tractor Battalion, in June, 1968. An entry for the 18th of June states:
Co "A" at C–4 position reported unidentified aircraft due east of C–4 position.The very next line item states:
Elms Co "A" at Oceanview reported 6 UFOs vic of the mouth of the Ben Hai RiverNote the distinction between the terms “unidentified aircraft” and “UFO”? Presumably, military observers would desire to use anything but the term “UFO”, yet we see it used time and time and again throughout all manner of such records.
Another (USMC) “Command Chronology” publication makes reference to ongoing UFO activity in the precise vicinity of where HMAS Hobart was patrolling, and only two nights beforehand. Titled III Marine Amphibious Force, Air Ground Team, Command Chronology, June 1968, it was printed by Headquarters, III Marine Amphibious Force, Military Assistance Command on the 9th of August, 1968. Originally classified “SECRET”, and only downgraded to “UNCLASSIFIED” in 2014, it is held, among thousands of similar publications, at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington DC. In a chapter titled “Intelligence”, there is this curious statement on Page 17:
During the late evening hours of 15 June approximately 15 unidentified aircraft, believed to be enemy helicopters, were reportedly sighted in the DMZ area. Since that time there have been numerous sightings, both visual and by radar, of unidentified, slow–moving UFO’s in the DMZ area and seaward toward Tiger Island. No hard evidence of these aircraft has yet been received.So, even this USMC historical record – which was authored by utilising raw and classified records – states that “unidentified aircraft” on the 15th of June were only “believed” to be enemy helicopters. Beyond that, “numerous sightings” – seen both visually and on radar – of “unidentified, slow–moving UFO’s” around Tiger Island obviously were of concern. The date–range of these sightings, of course, lead right up to the accidental missile strike on HMAS Hobart. I have imaged the page above top. ...
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