Saturday, September 22, 2012

On Breaking 40 Years of [UFO] Silence

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By Billy Cox
De Void
     Yes, it’s ancient news, but the old codgers testifying about UFOs shadowing American missile fields just keep stepping up.

The latest is former USAF Capt. Dave Schindele, retired in Washington state. UFOs and Nukes author Robert Hastings interviewed him in 2010, but released the details just this week. In fact, if you visit Schindele’s website, you discover a man so moved by an incident that rattled the 742nd Squadron of the 455th Strategic Missile Wing, he felt compelled to unburden himself of a secret he kept for 40 years.

The first thing his page tells you — and he really backs into the UFO stuff, like he doesn’t want you to think he’s a freak from the get-go — is that Schindele’s a space buff. Schindele professes his love of astronomy. He recounts with fondness his career as a senior experimental engineer with Hamilton Standard, when he tested orbital hardware for the Gemini program. He informs visitors he helped tweak the life-supporting backpacks for the Apollo moonwalkers.

But keep scrolling down and the trail leads to North Dakota, summer 1966, Minot AFB, where Schindele was an ICBM launch control officer at a complex called November Flight. He prepares for his morning shift by tuning into the local news, where residents of a nearby town are buzzing over UFO sightings overnight. Before dispatching the airmen to their silos, a briefing officer tells them about “unusual circumstances” at November Flight, where a number of America’s deadliest weapons have gone “off alert.” Before descending into the silo, Schindele chats it up with the site manager and topside security, who tell him about the approach and hovering of a large silent object with flashing lights during the wee hours.

Down below, he talks with two console-board officers, shaken by the “helplessness” of losing control of the nukes, perhaps as many as 10, which are still off-line. Mindful of periodic drills designed to test security firewalls, he states, “in no way could we fathom that they would be using UFOs to accomplish their mission.” Final admonition from Schindele’s commander: Never discuss this.

Hastings’ report offers a 1966 Minot Daily News clipping of UFO events at the nuke base, as well as declassified military documents confirming yet another UFO incursion at Minot that summer, but at a different silo, Mike Flight. However, the security issues didn’t end there. UFOs scouted Minot’s WMD again two years later, and those eyewitness accounts — complete with radar analysis — are available at Tom Tulien’s extraordinary online reconstruction.

The 2010 National Press Club testimony of half a dozen veterans at various nuke weapons sites in the 1960s and ‘70s created only a brief media stir. Schindele’s contribution will do less than that. But someday, inevitably, perhaps against their own biases, historians will revisit that era. Thanks to patriots like Dave Schindele, there will be words to flesh out the records.

“Even though I have never seen such a flying object,” he emails De Void, “the incident I was involved with truly did have a profound effect on me, but it was probably far less than on those who were witness to and actually saw the object. Even though I was only exposed to the ramifications of the incident, I saw the unforgettable emotions on the faces of topside personnel as they related to me their frightening up close encounter.”

How many more are there?

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