Friday, December 26, 2008

Did UFOs Cause the Shutdown of ICBMs at Malmstrom AFB, in March 1967?

UFO Near Missile Silo
By Robert Hastings

Robert Hastings     In 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.

RH: Right.

(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: Right.

WF: Uh—

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—

RH: Right

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?

WF: Right.

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—

RH: So—

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?

WF: Yes.

RH: And no one asked any questions about UFOs per se?

WF: No.

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—

WF: Yes.

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.]


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 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 . . .

See Also:

UFO Sightings at ICBM Sites and Nuclear Weapons Storage Areas
- part I -

Launch in Progress!

UFOs Seen in Great Falls Vicinity

UFOs Seen in Great Falls Vicinity - The Daily Inter Lake 3-22-1967
By The Daily Inter Lake



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  1. Dear Mr. Hastings,

    I think it's interesting that Walt Figel was so concerned that any statements made by my father might have been contrary to his own. You'll find that most people with such an interest in what other witnesses to an event may have reported are primarily interested because they want to make sure that their own statements don't fly too far off the mark -- after all (and it's ridiculous that I'm saying this in reference to a UFO sighting!), their own statements need to be reasonable in light of real history.

    He shouldn't feel that his statements are that off the wall, however. Walt Figel never reported seeing anything himself. His own statements make this clear. In light of what we already know from logs, command histories, etc., there had already been rumors of UFOs sighted at November Flight, indeed, all over the country; and a lot of these rumors began as a result of individuals finding it somehow
    amusing to mention that flying saucers were seen on their watch. Figel even reports it as a joke: “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?” This isn't a UFO report -- it's two people f***ing around on the phone, and you want to turn it into a UFO report! This is like a city inspection crew being sent down into the sewer system to find out if flammable gases are leaking in, and saying on his walkie-talkie "nope -- nothing down here; there's a crocodile -- a couple of dinosaurs, but no flammable gas."

    This is exactly the same case here, one that becomes far more likely upon our learning that after Figel laughed it off, such being the expected result of the little joke -- ha, ha, very funny guys, now get back to work -- the incident wasn't discussed further. In fact, Figel plainly states that "I was thinking he was yanking my chain more than anything else."

    And how do we know that this was a joke? Because the guy telling the joke "never said anything about it again." He got the reaction he wanted and expected: 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.”

    It's even more interesting that the only report of UFOs was verbal -- given directly to Figel. This is also typical of a joke. Had there been an actual object floating or flying or whatever above the missile system, it would have been put into the written report, which is exactly what Figel told him: “There’s two of you there, saying so, so write it down in your report.” The absence of any such written report speaks volumes. The only mention of UFOs was a verbal volley that was never put into an actual, logged report outside of the interviews the next day, and those interviews only included it because it was mentioned -- if the security chief had said there was a unicorn, this would have been included as well. Everything had to be included! This doesn't mean, however, that UFOs were actually there. If you read the actual logs and reports, you'll find the reason the system shut down to be very prosaic -- a power surge.

    There was no actual report of a UFO -- there was banter. Now, forty years later, you'd like to turn this into a UFO report, but that doesn't make it a point of fact. It just means you get another page in your book!

    You also seem to think the thoroughness and finality of the debriefing my father and Walt Figel received is indicative that something extraordinary occurred, so it must mean that there was a UFO. Well, you'd be wrong -- the event was the missiles going offline and shutting down, not a UFO -- and that's the only reason the command needed. Nothing here in any of this screams out "UFO on the scene!" Figel tells you this as well: "I told them everything everyone told me. No one made any comments or inquiries." Do you honestly believe that a debrief of this sort would be the result of an actual UFO sighting? "No one made any comments or inquiries" regarding what Figel related of the UFO comments that were made, because nobody gave a damn about the UFO comments that were made! They had nothing to do with why the missiles shut down.

    The demeanor of the guard was not "panicked, or anything [like that]." Mr. Hastings, does this sound to you like a reasonable reaction from someone who is actually reporting a large, round UFO floating over our priority national defense missile system? If this sounds remotely reasonable to you in light of the Cold War we were so seriously involved in at the time, in light of the heavy responsibility placed upon our military given its mission to defend the nation at that time and today, and in light of an environment populated by routine, unannounced SAC shakedowns and security system tests, than you've got to be brain-dead. Nothing about this says "UFO" alert!

    You, Mr. Hastings, are accepting as truth a second-hand report that was originally interpreted and understood as a joke! "A" makes a joke observation to "B", one inspired by similar and equally unfounded rumors at November Flight. "B" understands the joke, and laughs it off. Forty years later, "B" tells you the joke, but you just don't get it -- you interpret it wildly as the truth -- not a joke, here. And thus, we have flying saucers bringing down our missiles in Montana, and your paycheck goes up a notch. This says more about you than it does about what happened at Echo Flight on March 16, 1967.

    Did you know that every year U.S. military commands around the world send out official, classified, flash order messages to numerous other military commands reporting on the progress of Santa Claus on his deliveries of presents for children? Does that mean that a sleigh with eight tiny reindeer is actually observed every year at Christmas, coming from the north pole, sometimes with U.S. aerial support protecting him on his journey? Of course not! But there is more reason to believe that scenario than the one you're projecting, because with that scenario there's actually some official reports to rely on -- numerous official reports. You should start collecting these reports and write yourself a little book proving to the world that Santa Claus exists -- you'd have a lot more believable data to base it on, I promise you. All you've got at Echo Flight is verbal banter that nobody at the time -- neither my father, nor Walt Figel -- interpreted as anything other than a silly bit of joking on the voice line. The fact that there are no actual security reports regarding a UFO proves that! Hell, Figel even told you that, repeatedly.

    Oh, you say, but they were ordered not to report UFOs. That's why there's no written report! Well, of course, everyone was ordered/advised not to report UFOs -- we know exactly what happens when these little, idiotic asides are repeated, because it happened at November Flight. You go through a full and needless investigation to clear up the little mess you made. And the investigation at November Flight, if you'll recall, determined that there were no UFOs -- it was a joke that resulted in a full scale investigation, one that the Commanding Officer didn't want to have to repeat! That doesn't mean, however, that "real" UFOs shouldn't be reported. To NOT report "real" UFOs in this environment would be tantamount to treason! I can't even imagine anything so ridiculous or dangerous as a standing order not to report an unidentified flying object over our missile defense systems if an actual unidentified flying object was floating over our missile defense systems. That's why we had and still have security teams at such commands. We want such reports filed if they are real, if they aren't jokes. Figel confirms this when he states “There’s two of you there, saying so, so write it down in your report.” Any Commanding Officer would be remiss in his duties if he gave them an order NOT to report an nidentified object flying over our missiles; he would quickly find himself without a viable career in the U.S. armed forces, and rightly so!

    For the record, I never said that Walt Figel was a liar -- I'm sure his career was notable and one to be admired, and I never heard anything different from that from my Dad. I believe sincerely that he gave you an honest account of exactly what happened, and I see nothing here to discount anything he said. You'll note, I hope, as any sane person would, that he doesn't report any UFOs around the missiles at Echo Flight. He reports an amusing statement made to him that he interpreted as a joke, one that was not repeated and meant less than nothing to everyone else in the world until Salas and you came along. Well, I submit that if you believe there is anything at all convincing about your interview with Walt Figel, insofar as the presence of UFOs at Echo Flight is concerned, than you will apparently believe anything. Personally, I don't think that's the best quality possessed by a serious investigator of historical events.

    What happened on March 16, 1967 has been so thoroughly investigated and picked at from a very highly classified level on down that your attempts to support your story are almost laughable! Unfortunately, there are a lot of gullible people out there who accept what you and Salas say as being an honest interpretation of those events. Well, neither one of you are being honest about this -- if Salas in particular was reporting all of this honestly, he wouldn't change his story everytime someone points out the fallacies in his argument -- and there are many.

    Contrary to some of the statements you have made regarding my opinion of American servicemen, I have always honored such Americans who give so much of themselves. My father was one, my brother is one, my wife was one, and I was one for 16 years. I don't go out of my way to accuse someone of being a liar and/or a fool unless I'm certain of it. Robert Salas is a liar, and any review of his past statements proves that. He first stated that the events he observed happened at November Flight. But then a review of reports and statements by other witnesses proved he had actually worked at Oscar Flight. Well, it looks to me like he got caught in a lie. You might ask "Why would he lie about this?" Because there is official documentation that refers to rumors of UFOs at November Flight. Some of these also refer to the missiles being shut down at Echo Flight. It sounds "alarming" when someone says "at the same time as the missles shut down at Echo Flight, there were rumors of UFOs at November Flight -- these documents prove that. Well, I worked at November Flight, and they weren't rumors. I was actually on duty when the UFOs shut the missles down." Such a statement is far less convincing if Salas wasn't at November Flight. Funny how that works -- since he wasn't. He was at Oscar Flight.

    He tells an interesting story full of great dialogue and well-written description -- one individual with serious injuries being taken to the hospital, the loss of 6-8 missiles at Oscar Flight, etc., etc. But he gives no evidence of this; no medical reports have popped up, no investigation of the lost missiles -- nothing; just a nice poetic description more appropriate for a TV screenplay. There's a lot of data left over from the missiles going down at Echo Flight, so why was no equivalent investigation conducted at Oscar Flight? Maybe this is because nothing happened there on March 16, 1967.

    Salas has said "I was a U.S. Air Force officer stationed at Malmstrom AFB, Montana, working as a missile launch officer from 1966-1969. On March 16, 1967 I was on duty at one of our Launch Control Facilities monitoring the status of ten nuclear missiles." He stated later that this is a reference to the Echo Flight losses and he again dated it at March 16, 1967, but it simply isn't true that he was there. The investigation into the losses at Echo Flight was full, and very definitive, and we know exactly what caused those missiles to drop offline becasue there was a very thorough investigation of the incident -- and it had nothing to do with UFOs and it didn't happen at Oscar Flight and Salas wasn't on duty!

    Salas states now that when he and Jim Klotz were researching the story, they came across the now declassified messages wherein "The Echo incident, as related in one of those messages, is described as loss of strategic alert of all ten missiles within ten seconds of each other for no apparent reason and a "...cause for grave concern... [to SAC head quarters]". The date of the Echo incident is March 16, 1967. When we received this information, I assumed that I was in the Echo capsule during this incident because the events of the incident were very similar to my recollection." Well, he wasn't. And who the hell doesn't remember where he was during a personally witnessed UFO flyby that shut down the national defense grid -- the most important and lethal missile system on the planet? He just forgot the incident, where he was, what he saw and what was reported? An incident that has amazed people like you since you first heard about it? An incident that resulted in an injury requiring an immediate evac of security personnel on his watch? An incident that nobody else who was involved with ever discussed or referred to when discussing other events? Are you for real? You really expect people to swallow this load of codswallup instead of the fully investigated event that really happened?

    But then Salas recalled another new memory: "I recalled something my commander had said during our incident. After we reported the incident to the command post, he had received a call from another LCC. After that call he turned to me and said, "The same thing happened at another flight." With this new recollection, I began to question if I was at Echo during the time of our incident since I knew I was assigned to the 490th Squadron, which did not have responsibility for Echo Flight. We did however, occasionally, man LCCs outside our own squadron." Wow, a correction! How stunning!

    Well, now he remembers that he wasn't at Echo Flight. And that, of course, means he can't say there were UFOs at Echo Flight on March 16, 1967. Well, that's ha ha funny, because some people have been saying that for years. So tell me, please, Mr. Hastings, why are you insisting that the Echo Flight losses on March 16, 1967 were caused by UFOs? Because we know what Salas now says...

    "With some assistance, I was eventually able to contact on old friend who had served with me at Malmstrom. He recalled the Echo incident and was certain that I was not in that LCC at the time of the incident." He had to find someone else who was with him to tell him that he was not there! Eye witness one gets crossed off as undependable. Just a bad memory for details, I guess -- like the date and the command.

    Salas adds, though, that "With some additional effort, and a lot of phone calls, I was able to locate and speak with both crew members of Echo, the commander of the Echo relief crew, and my own commander. As a result of these conversations, more information was revealed."

    This is the fun part: "The Echo MCCC [my father, Eric Carlson] related to me that prior to the shutdown of all his missiles he had received more than one report from security patrols and maintenance crews that they had seen UFOs, one was directly above one of the LFs in Echo Flight. The Echo crew confirmed that they had spoken to my commander that day and told him of their incident. They also told me that they were flown to SAC Headquarters, Omaha, Nebraska the next day and had to brief CINCSAC (Commander in Chief Strategic Air Command) about their incident. The Echo DMCCC [Walt Figel] also informed me that he had written an extensive log of the Incident and turned that over to staff officers at SAC headquarters. They certainly did report the UFO sightings and their guards and maintenance personnel were interviewed about their sightings by Air Force investigators. The MCCC of the crew that relieved the Echo crew also confirmed that the Echo crew had spoken to him about the UFO sightings during the time immediately preceding their shutdown incident."

    And none of that is true. Walt Figel mentions that he gave a verbal report regarding what happened during his debrief. He also adds that "I didn’t sign anything, I can tell you that. If that's true, why did Salas report that "The Echo DMCCC [Walt Figel] also informed me that he had written an extensive log of the Incident and turned that over to staff officers at SAC headquarters. Incident logs, as you must realize, are required to be signed by the person logging the entry. But Figel told you that he signed nothing. Didn't that strike you as odd? Also in reference to Salas' report of the events, my father never confirmed to anybody at any time that UFOs shut down the ten Echo Flight missiles. There was screwing around on the voice line that had nothing to do with the missiles dropping offline -- the same kind of screwing around that happens as a matter of course every day all over the world. And that's why I think Salas is a liar -- he's done so repeatedly and changed his story repeatedly. We're supposed to believe that he only found out about the "real" UFO story after being notified on two prior occassions that the "fictional" UFO story he originally reported could not have happened as he originally reported, because he has a poor memory of the events.

    So, now he's got missiles dropping off at both Echo Flight and Oscar Flight because of UFOs. But there's nothing to document anything at Oscar Flight, where he actually served. Why? All sorts of documents are available to detail the investigation of the missiles dropping offline at Echo Flight, although, granted, there's nothing to say UFOs did it. We're supposed to believe, however, that the same thing happened at Oscar Flight, on the same date, and even that one individual was badly injured there, but nobody documented anything? Are you serious? Why didn't they investigate the Oscar Flight losses like they did at Echo Flight? This doesn't stink to you? I'm not the only one in the world who says this, by the way.

    Retired Air Force colonel Bill Coleman -– the Air Force's chief public relations officer during the early 1970s -– has stated that in his opinion, upon reviewing the case, the absence of any records whatsoever supporting Robert Salas’ contention is probably due to the fact that Salas was rattled by a routine SAC shakedown. "SAC was famous for running all kinds of tests to challenge security systems -– they did it all the time," adding that it "could easily have been a test created by the SAC commander to neutralize the weapons site to gauge the response measures. These are the kinds of things SAC does routinely. This captain should've known it was a test. Either that, or he's lying about it."

    Salas states that "Further discussions with individuals from Boeing who had provided technical assistance and performed additional tests during the investigation into the cause of these shutdowns, confirmed that there was never a resolution as to cause or explanation for these incidents." Well, that's also a lie (or maybe he just misremembered again). The investigators at Boeing actually completed a "full engineering investigation" at their own facility. It was a requirement that such an investigation be made in order to prevent such failures happening in the future. In this particular case, both civil and military investigating teams determined that a 10 volt pulse injected onto a data line leading into the logic coupler would repeat the shutdown effects 80% of the time. To say, therefore, that no explanation could be found for the failures is arrogant and foolish, when anyone who takes the time to look into the matter can easily figure out the truth of what actually went on. But that's only at Echo Flight. Apparently no investigation was ever conducted when it came to the Oscar Flight missiles. They aren't even mentioned in the Echo Flight investigation reports. It's almost like they never even failed at all!

    What else do you present to prove this ridiculous story? Well, let's see. Henry "Hank" Barlow was part of an Electro-Mechanical Team (EMT); he told you, in part: I was on Electro-Mechanical Team 24 at the time [the Echo Flight shutdown] happened. We had to go out to Mike-1 for about four or five days. We had to stay out there and cover the sites. The day we were supposed to return [to base,] my team chief called Job Control to see if we could come in because it was really starting to snow. It was really miserable out, windy and all. Job Control said, ‘Yeah, come on in, there’s nothing going on, everything seems okay.’ So we packed up and started back to the base.

    Then Job Control called us on the radio and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got a problem here, part of Echo Flight has shut down, so we want you to go to the nearest site.’ I think that was Echo-6, but I’m not sure. Anyway, somewhere around that area, We checked VRSA and there was nothing on it. [That] was a unit in each launch facility, with something like 19 or 20 channels on it. [Actually, VRSA or Voice Reporting Signal Assembly had 23 channels, one for each problem area.] If the missile went down for any reason, or if there was some other problem, Job Control back at Malmstrom would know about it, know what is was, from the kind of signal it sent. But when we got to the site, there was nothing on [VRSA] to indicate the reason for the missile shutting down. That in itself was unusual. I had never seen that before.

    So Job Control said, do a start-up, which takes about four hours. After you initiate the startup, you can back out of there and leave because it's automatic after a certain point. Usually, if there was nothing else going on, we would stay at the site to make sure everything was working fine. But that night, Job Control said go to the next site, whatever that was. So we did that, and [restarted] three or four missiles before going back to [Echo-1]. Of all ten missiles that went down, only one wouldn’t come back up, but that was due to something that was going to [fail] anyway, like a Logic Coupler Drawer, or something like that. But none of the missiles had anything on VRSA.

    [When we got back to Echo-1] we heard what happened. At Echo-2, there was a team in there earlier that afternoon that could not get the security [telemetry] to set-up, through the parabolic antenna or the soft support building or something like that. So, they put an Air Police team out there, in a camper, two guys. Anyway, one of the guys went out to take a leak, and he noticed that it wasn’t snowing over top of his head. The perimeter lights were on and he could see the snow coming down all around him so he looked up and saw a ring of lights right over top of him. He was scared stiff, so he went back to the camper and woke up his team partner.

    When this other guy came out, he had a camera with him, which they weren’t supposed to have, but guys would do stuff like that. By then this thing had moved off the perimeter fence and he took pictures of it. [When the security team was debriefed back at the base,] the Air Force confiscated the camera and film. I was told all of this back at Echo-1. We had passed our ‘timelines’ because we had worked 16 hours, or something like that, and could not go back to the base so we had to go back to Echo. [During that era, maintenance teams were left out in the field for four to five days, working a maximum of 16 hours per day—the timeline. If a team got close to reaching that limit, it was sent to the nearest Launch Control Facility for Remain Over Night, or RON status.] When we got back there, there was brass all over the place. They were from Offutt AFB -— SAC Headquarters -— they had brought them in. There were just a lot of high-ranking officers there.

    First of all, you'll notice, I hope, that he never saw anything himself -- another of your non-witness witnesses that you love to pull out of your pocket. This one even mentions photographs being taken -- sadly these are now missing. You rely on a surprising amount of hearsay testimony to get your outlandish story out, don't you, Mr. Hastings? Anyway, Barlow's story sounds all very dramatic and theatrical, what with the snow and all, and how "he noticed that it wasn’t snowing over top of his head. The perimeter lights were on and he could see the snow coming down all around him so he looked up and saw a ring of lights right over top of him. He was scared stiff, so he went back to the camper and woke up his team partner." It's like something right out of the X-Files -- wait a minute! It actually was a scene from TV's X-Files! This guy's imaginary story doesn't even come from his own imagination! Here's a new interjection:

    If you check the U.S. Weather records for Malstrom AFB, you'll note that there was no snow at all for at least a full week before and after March 16, 1967, and that the reported average recorded at the airport was only 0.4 inches for the whole month. Even Salas' report states that it was a cold, clear night -- no snow or rain or anything -- just flying saucers, apparently. So, which story do you believe the most -- Barlow's, with all of the snow and the drama, or Salas', your proverbial starting point? Forgive me if I don't give either one a whole lot of credence.

    You've also wheeled out the testimony of Henry Psolka, who was on a Combat Targeting Team at Malmstrom AFB in 1967. Unfortunately, all he says is that he heard someone else say that UFOs shut down the missiles at Echo Flight. Oh, and he also agrees that it was snowing outside. Funny thing, that snow. Do you think maybe it came out and then left in symbiosis with the UFOs, and that's why nobody else in a 60 mile radius reported it? In any case, Psolka reports that he didn't see anything himself -- another non-witness witness -- but he does confirm that an overvoltage event was the cause of the missile shutdown. Oh, and I'm sure you remember, of course, how Barlow's dramatic tale mentions that "when we got to the site, there was nothing on [VRSA] to indicate the reason for the missile shutting down. That in itself was unusual. I had never seen that before." Why is it, do you think, that Psolka describes going out to the Echo missile site and subsequently reporting that the shutdown was due to "overvoltage", an identification that he learned from the VRSA trouble-shooting system? I guess the VRSA works for some people, but not for others. Not that it matters -- neither one of them actually saw a UFO.

    So once again, all we've got is a meaningless statement from the audience that UFOs did it. If that's all you've got, your book must be pretty thin -- or maybe that's just the general concept before you've surrounded it with a bunch of fluff.

    You guys have got nothing, and you've always had nothing. Why you believe you can take this dog out for a walk and call it "hunting" is beyond me, but you've all obviously made a few bucks from it, so at least your motivation is pure. Good luck with that, though -- always fun to put one over on people and make them give you money for the honor and thrill of it. Just please leave my family out of your little nuclear nightmare -- nobody named "Carlson" ever "confirmed" this crap, and every one of us takes the mission of our nation's defense seriously, so please quit turning it into an unbelievably pathetic and nonsensical little sideshow for your own regrettable amusement. Please believe me -- it's too damn insulting just to let it slide by. My father had a long and very honorable career, and now you've managed to publically reduce it in the minds of many to a single night that you fictionalized for a paycheck. Thanks so much.

    Most sincerely,
    James Carlson

  2. Mr. Hastings,

    I have one slight retraction to make here: I came across a weather database that notes snowfall for part of March, 1967, so I can't say with complete confidence that there was no snow at Great Falls, although other reports I've accessed indicate notably rare low levels of snow for most of that month. Regardless, however, the discrepancy between Salas' story and the ones related by Barlow and Psolka are still very evident, as are the discrepancies between Barlow's and Psolka's own tales. And since nobody that you've mentioned agrees fully with the other non-witness witnesses you've brought out into the light of day, or is even willing to go on the record that they themselves actually SAW a UFO, I am still confident that you guys are all full of beans.

    Best of luck for the New Year,
    James Carlson

  3. Dear Mr. Carlson,

    I've deleted your last comment; ad hominem and or vitriolic attacks won't be tolerated nor published; your arguments are welcomed, please make them based on salient points and in a civil tone; name calling and verbal assault does nothing for your disputation, (or character) and only makes the reader question the strength of your position.

    Frank Warren

  4. Mr. Hastings and Mr. Warren,

    (1) I've retracted the snowfall argument already, so the argument you've made to me via your last email doesn't have a whole lot of bite in it (also, why did you not post your arguments on this forum? Do you lack the courage of your convictions?)

    (2) Salas stated that it was cold, clear night -- no snow -- so the discrepancies reported regarding the weather are still notable ones.

    (3) I don't need a weather report to prove that Salas is a liar; he does a nice job of that himself. It would help your case, however, if the news clippings that you sent me actually had dates on them. Frankly, you've still said nothing that disputes in any way the statements I've made on this forum. If nothing else, I would have expected an intelligent researcher to have been more prepared for such claims, since you're the one who called me out. I wouldn't even know your name had you not called me out and challenged the claims I made on another website about a year ago.

    (4) The presence of snow does very little to improve the veracity, authority, and trustworthiness of your arguments; there are still far too many discrepancies in the statements you rely on as "proof" that UFOs shut down anything on March 16, 1967.

    (5) I don't need to spin anything to show that your non-witness witnesses can't be trusted; each of them does that by reporting different events and situations contrary to those maintained by your other non-witnesses; their own statements do nothing to enhance belief. It isn't science when you go on a public forum accessed by millions of people and invite them to send you their most outrageous and unbelievable tales of aliens from outer space. It isn't even remotely sensible to follow this up by believing every word these people say.

    (6) Some questions: how do you explain the absence of any investigation into the Oscar Flight missile shutdown; how do you explain the statements made by Salas that he was at Echo-Flight -- statements he later retracted; how do you explain the statements made by Salas that he was at November-Flight -- statements he later retracted; how do you explain his story that Figel wrote out and signed an incident log of the UFO event, while Figel denies he ever signed anything; how do you explain the absence of any information whatsoever involving an injured individual and his medical evac from Oscar-Flight on March 16, 1967 -- an incident that would have been logged and treated at the hospital if no where else; how do you explain the fact that Salas reports Boeing could find no cause for the missile shutdown, while Boeing's investigation proves that they did find a cause and even published it in their report; how do you explain the fact that Salas offers nothing to show that Oscar-Flight missiles shut down on March 16, 1967; how do you explain the fact that Salas can't even show that he was on duty March 16, 1967 -- there's no verification for anything he has ever said on the subject, but he does change his story a lot -- everytime someone tells him he's wrong; how do you explain the fact that nobody, at any time ever interpreted the statements you base your baseless conclusions on as a genuine report of UFOs -- supposed witnesses being calm and collected, continuing their jobs as if nothing had happened, while the guards at Oscar-Flight who supposedly witnessed the same sort of thing were "quite frightened"; how do you explain the fact that the matter was never brought up again by the supposed witnesses to a supposed extraordinary event, that the very idea of UFOs as Malmstrom on March 16, 1967 was apparently dismissed by everybody concerned as unimportant, background noise in the same way that we would dismiss a joke that fell flat; how do you explain the fact that no written report was ever initiated by these witnesses, even after Figel told them to do so; How do you explain the fact that there exists at best only eyewitness testimony of this supposed event, but that such witnesses have never been named, have never been located, have never come forward, and have never confirmed anything regarding the incident they supposedly witnessed; how do you explain the fact that VRSA worked fine for Psolka, and that it gave him a cause for the missiles shutting down that Boeing later confirmed, but that VRSA did not work at all for Barlow, which he claims was unusual in itself; how do you explain the fact that Barlow and Psolka apparently spent a lot of time with the Echo-Flight missiles, but never saw anything themselves -- Barlow in particular even claims that he was outside at the time, yet he saw nothing unusual; how do you explain the fact that there are absolutely no eyewitnesses to any UFO at Malmstrom on March 16, 1967, and that all of your non-witness witnesses can only claim that they heard from someone else that UFOs had shut down the missiles at Echo-Flight, just rumors really, the sort of thing mentioned in the command history; how do you explain the fact that my father, to this day, says there weren't any UFOs when the missiles shut down -- that your entire story is disputed by the one man who was actually in charge of the watch in question; and how do you explain the fact that you have never put forth any substantive argument whatsoever to support your pathetic tale, choosing instead to rely on petty insults, name calling, and sarcasm, after promising "a series of responses to Carlson’s wild and inaccurate charges"?

    You will never have an argument with any substance to it until you can explain all of these characteristics -- all based on the statements you yourself have used as proof for this ridiculous story that you are being paid to tell. Bottom line, here? You have absolutely zero credibility, and apparently believe that you can substantiate an event that did not occur simply by backing the stories of witnesses who saw nothing and report events contrary to everybody else around them.

    Seriously, guys -- is this is all you've got? Because right now you look pretty foolish -- I mean, Salas in particular comes across as not just a liar -- but a really bad liar. Please, tell me why somebody should believe you, because you've yet to offer any real evidence, or believable testimony. Hell, there are comic books that are more believable than the story you're trying to push. If you can explain all of this, I might be able to conjure up some measure of respect for you -- but so far you're just ignoring everything but my mistake regarding the snow -- a mistake I myself admitted and brought to your attention before you even tried to impeach its worth. I've already admitted that I can't use the weather to impeach Barlow's and Psolka's testimony. I can, however, use it to impeach Salas' testimony, because his story says that it was a cold, clear night. It was either snowing, or it was not -- you simply can't have it both ways, because if you do, you're talking about two different dates, and that also ruins your argument. If you have an answer to these charges, let me have it. Right now, all you've done is send me a couple of sarcastic, personally insulting emails that reveal you as a coward with no real power behind your supposed convictions. People like you make me sick, and you should be ashamed of yourself for playing this pathetic little game. At the end of the day, you're just a buffoon making a lot of noise, because a lot of noise is all you have.

    I have no intention of carrying on a flame war with you for the rest of my life. If you ever have anything intelligent to bring to the table (and it becomes increasingly evident that you don't), than show a little backbone and post it in public on this forum, instead of removing my own comments responding to the verbal assaults you send to me in personal emails. By doing so, you only prove yourself unwilling to examine contrary points of view, even when your own lacks the merit to withstand sane examination.

    James Carlson

  5. Dear Mr. Carlson,

    Mr. Hastings is having problems posting directly, and has asked me to post the following on his behalf:

    I will post my response shortly, James. I have scheduled a second interview with your father's deputy missile commander at Echo Flight, now-retired Col. Walt Figel.

    I have sent him your posts. I intend to ask for his comments regarding them, especially your charge that he was carefully choosing his words when he spoke to me so as not to stray too far from the known facts, or as you put it:

    "You'll find that most people with such an interest in what other witnesses to an event may have reported are primarily interested because they want to make sure that their own statements don't fly too far off the mark...[because] their own statements need to be reasonable in light of real history."

    Figel's phone number is still available to you, James. Just send me an email and I will happily provide it to you.

    --Robert Hastings

  6. You do whatever you have to do. Unless you've got access to a time machine, there's not a whole lot you can do to change the facts, so I'm unconcerned. I am kind of surprised that you need to re-interview your sources to answer some of the pretty basic questions I've put to you, but you go ahead and do that -- just don't waste my time once you've decided how best to spin any new information you might get.

    James Carlson
    (still in the real world)

  7. Okay, I realize this is a complex subject -- a difficult concept for you to get your head around -- so I'm going to explain it to you using the easiest terms I can.

    You can send me newspaper reports, magazine articles, or whatever you like regarding the witnessing of lights in the sky or possible UFO sightings on March 24, March 25, or March 29, or pretty much any of the other dated reports you've emailed to me, and none of them will ever, in a millions years, prove that UFOs knocked our missile systems offline on March 16, 1967. Never.

    You might as well quit wasting my time with all of this glitter and fluff, because it means nothing. My God, man, you wrote a book on the subject -- is it so difficult for you to defend your own position? You've stated that you have to re-interview those you already interviewed when writing your book. Wasn't your first interview sufficient enough to answer a few basic questions? And, if not, why? Did you not care about the facts you were writing about, or you just a lazy author? You promised in this forum that you would "return in the near future with the facts" that would "serve as an antidote" to my "uninformed, biased, and inaccurate mutterings". This was well before Christmas. Since then, you have given me lights in the sky, witnesses that report contradictory observations -- but not eyewitnesses, of course; your eyewitnesses cannot be contacted because you not only don't know their names, you can't even provide evidence that they ever existed.

    Salas, your original source, apparently could not remember the command he worked at, settling finally on Oscar-Flight after originally claiming to be at both Echo-Flight and November-Flight, he could not remember whether his command had reporting authority for the missiles in question, the names of any of the eyewitnesses he worked with, notarized statements by anybody he worked with supporting his story, including his own commander, and just about everything that applies to the incident at Echo-Flight, most of the "facts" and statements he collected having been disputed by the only people who were actually there on March 16, 1967. The only reason he's given for settling on March 16, 1967 is a late recollection regarding a statement by an unnamed individual at the command post who supposedly said that the missiles also went offline at another Flight, which he assumed must have been Echo-Flight. He got everything else wrong -- why is everybody so certain that he got the date right? Of course, this recollection of his only surfaced after he was told that he had never worked at Echo-Flight, and that his command was not even responsible for it. This was, in fact, while he was still claiming to have been at November-Flight, which was also untrue. Oddly enough, he claimed at the time that he had been provided with a document that mentions the injury of one of the security personnel who was on duty. When he finally settled on Oscar-Flight as the actual system he served at, this injured individual either floated along with him to Oscar, or there was a different person who was also injured while looking into the UFOs.

    Even the folks at were forced to admit that their only conclusion was that "it is difficult to conclude," primarily because Salas gave them nothing that could be independently verified, and those incidents that could be verified were found to be other than what he declared them to be.

    Frankly, your own argument, adapted from the Book of Salas, is basically an abortion of what a standard investigation is supposed to be -- you've offered nothing, not even a decent reason to believe the drivel that's been reported.

    So, I'm done with you. Your defenses are non-existent, your facts are either unconfirmed or untrue, your story is full of holes, and you are unable to support, defend, or conclude anything involving the Echo-Flight shutdown on March 16, 1967. You keep promising to provide "a series of responses to Carlson’s wild and inaccurate charges", and you give nothing, raising instead only one possible question: why would you refer to my statements as "wild and inaccurate" when they dictate the only issues or statements that can actually be confirmed?"

    You're just wasting my time, and it's obvious that you're done.

    James Carlson

  8. James,

    Robert's rebuttal to your latest comments may be found here:



Dear Contributor,

Your comments are greatly appreciated, and coveted; however, blatant mis-use of this site's bandwidth will not be tolerated (e.g., SPAM etc).

Additionally, healthy debate is invited; however, ad hominem and or vitriolic attacks will not be published, nor will "anonymous" criticisms. Please keep your arguments "to the issues" and present them with civility and proper decorum. -FW


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