Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Former Nuke Missile Commander, Colonel Frederick Meiwald (Ret) Passes Away at 70 | UFO NEWS

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Colonel Fred Meiwald

Editor's Note–Colonel Frederick Meiwald (Ret) succumbed to cancer on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012. Amongst his many accolades was a 28-year career in the Air Force, in part as a Missile Combat Crew Commander (MCCC), serving with Bob Salas. We salute his service to our country as well as his courage in corroborating the incident where 10 nuclear missiles under his charge (Oscar Flight, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana) became inoperative during reported UFO activity over the launch control center (LCC) in March of 1967. His full obituary may be read here.FW

In Memory of Col. Frederick Meiwald

By Bob Salas
     Col. Fred Meiwald passed away in early August, 2012 after a battle with cancer. I knew Fred only during brief periods of his life but he is someone I won’t soon forget. This remembrance is to honor a good friend and a man of character.

I first met Fred in 1966. We became linked up as a Minuteman I missile crew in October of that year, passing our evaluation with high scores. In fact, Fred and I were one of the top rated crews in the 341st Strategic Missile Wing, Malmstrom AFB, Montana.

From our first meeting, it was clear to me that he was a highly intelligent and dedicated officer. He had already served on missile crew duty with the Atlas I missile; working closely with him for nearly a year, I can attest to the fact that he was a consummate professional when it came to our duties as a missile crew.

Fred was with me at Oscar flight during our 1967 encounter with a UFO that disabled all ten of our missiles. I have documented that event in Faded Giant. Later that year, I became a crew commander and Fred was bumped ‘upstairs’ to the Wing Command Post and we sort of lost track of each other.

Fred went on to what was clearly a distinguished Air Force career. After earning a Master of Science degree in Information Science, he was assigned greater responsibilities within the Strategic Air Command (SAC) and Space Command. He later headed the Satellite System Programming Agency, with 1100 assigned personnel. This agency was responsible for real-time satellite system integration in Space Command and was used in war planning and target selection. Fred was recognized for his achievements by being awarded the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Services Commendation Medal, and the Air Force Commendation Medal, among others. He retired from the Air Force with the rank of Colonel in 1991 after 28 years of service.

In 1994, after going public with my story, I was eager to locate my commander in the capsule on the evening of the incident. Because of the long period of time that had elapsed, at first, I could not remember his name. It was not until 1996, and after speaking with many people, that I finally located and re-united with Fred. I was very relieved to have found him alive and well. Moreover, I was equally pleased to know that he had recalled the basic incident!

With his permission, I was able to record the phone conversation we had in 1996:

During this conversation [as can be heard above], Fred was very congenial and was happy to speak of the incident freely with me. However, neither of us at the time could predict how very vocal and active in telling our story to the television and print media I would become. In later years, after I had appeared on many TV programs and conferences, and it became obvious that I was quite vocal about this event, that Fred made it known to me that he was not anxious to be as vociferous as I was. I certainly understood his position in view of the fact that public witnesses have historically been ridiculed by the media. He, as we all do, wanted to protect his reputation among his peers, friends and neighbors. In my opinion, he was a modest, unassuming man who simply wanted to live a peaceful life in retirement and not be under the spectacle of being a witness to a UFO event. I tried my best to honor his request for privacy while, at the same time, I felt that his testimony was so important in validating my own testimony that I could not simply keep his name out of it completely.

To his credit, Fred never told me that he would refuse to speak to others about the incident. In fact we continued to stay in touch and he cooperated by speaking to others, such as Jim Klotz and Robert Hastings, to confirm some of the facts of our 1967 incident.

Fred never claimed to recall the entirety of the incident. Fred and I both struggled with trying to recall precise facts about what we experienced because of the passage of time and events during that time and because we were ordered to never speak of the incident. As officers who had access to classified information, we both understood the importance of not divulging classified material. From the time we were ordered not to divulge the incident we both made an effort to forget it.

In the last correspondence I received from Fred about a year ago, he said he was “thoroughly disgusted” with trying to explain why he could not recall specific details. He specifically mentioned his disgust with James Carlson and his attempts to discredit the facts as we recalled them. I too am disgusted that James Carlson hounded Fred for over a year in his unsuccessful attempt to discredit him. In that last letter from Fred, he stated again his support for what I had documented.

What will always stand out in my mind about Fred Meiwald was his integrity. I saw that integrity when we worked together as a crew in 1966-67 and again from 1996 until his passing. He was a stand-up guy in every sense. That’s how I knew him and that is how I will always remember him.

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