||By Robert Hastings
Since 1973, I have interviewed more than 150 U.S. military veterans regarding their involvement in, or knowledge of, UFO incursions at nuclear weapons facilities. Those who have read my book, UFOs and Nukes, know that 98% of my sources are identified by name in it.
However, I was recently approached by a former U.S. Air Force captain, who wishes to remain anonymous for now, who related his participation in a very dramatic incident at Malmstrom AFB in 1974, involving the unauthorized launch activation of one of his Minuteman-II missiles—twice—apparently by those aboard a UFO hovering over it.
I possess this individual’s DD214, or service record, which verifies his nuclear missile launch officer status, at that base, during that year.
He told me, “This incident occurred sometime Between 01 Jan 74 and 30 Jun 74, and my best guess is in the March time-frame. I know this because of who my crew commander was during the event, and this is the time I was crewed with him.”
I was at Malmstrom AFB Montana, a member of the 564th Strategic Missile Squadron, and that night I was on alert at Romeo Flight. The missile that activated was at Launch Facility Romeo-29.
It happened during the first shift of a 40-hour alert—I’d say between 20:00 and 22:00 hours (8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.). There was no [missile] maintenance activity going on at the time, and I don’t recall anything else out of the ordinary.
The event lasted more than 30 minutes but probably less than 90 minutes. There was a situation with Outer and Inner alarms going off. Outer means the security fence has been penetrated somehow; Inner means the missile silo itself has been compromised in some manner.
A Security Alert Team was dispatched. Upon arrival, the team reported a large self-illuminated object hovering over the Launch Facility. The light was so bright that the shape of the craft could not be determined.
Suddenly, [down in the launch control capsule], a launch enable / inhibit / no-go shutdown event took place. In other words, the missile went into countdown mode and was preparing to launch! I quickly flipped the Inhibit switch, which disrupted the missile-enabled status. Then we got a no-go shut down, which is what is supposed to happen. The launch system was offline.
This was extremely unnerving. I mean, that missile had been preparing to launch. I later learned where it had been targeted—its destination—and it was a major target. I don’t plan to discuss the specifics with you because I don’t want that information made public. Meanwhile, as all of that was happening, the Security Alert Team at the site indicated that the UFO was still hovering over it.
Just as my missile commander and I were collecting our wits and wondering what all of this was about—the object, the launch enable—we got a spontaneous restart, which shouldn’t have been possible after the no-go shutdown. Then [on our consoles] there came another launch enable, followed by another inhibit procedure—which didn’t work!
Now we were panicking. We watched the read-outs which proceeded to launch-commanded, launch-in-process, and all the way through missile-away! In other words, as far as we knew, the missile had left the launch facility and was heading to its target. We couldn’t believe it!
My commander quickly called the SAT team and asked whether the missile was airborne. They said, ‘No sir.’ So, in reality, the missile-away code was false and the missile was still in the ground. Then we finally got another no-go shutdown code.
Shortly after that, the team said that the UFO had left, straight up, at high speed. There was no noise. They also reported observing an F-106 interceptor flying in the squadron area and then unsuccessfully trying to intercept the object.
After-the-fact, it was learned that the object was tracked by weapons controllers in the 24th NORAD Region SAGE Center at Malmstrom AFB. They recounted that they could see the object on radar as well as the F-106’s unsuccessful attempts to intercept it.
We also later learned that all of the ground electronics in the launch facility were ‘fried’ as though the system had been destroyed by a massive electrical surge.
The former launch officer then said, “A couple of years later, when I was stationed at NORAD headquarters in Colorado Springs, as a public information officer—an assignment I didn’t ask for or want—I was in the ‘approval-loop’ for an FOIA request about this incident.”
He continued, “I was surprised that part of the information which was being provided in response to the request was my crew log, with all of my handwritten notes, although much of the relevant information had been redacted. This means that NORAD was the apparent destination, at least one of them, for paperwork related to the incident.”
Two other former USAF Minuteman missile launch officers, Captains David Schuur and Larry Manross, had previously discussed with me their own involvement in very similar incidents at Minot AFB, North Dakota, in the late 1960s.
Moreover, documents smuggled out of Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union by television investigative reporter George Knapp confirm that one such incident—a UFO-initiated, temporary missile activation-for-launch—occurred at an ICBM base in Soviet Ukraine, on October 4, 1982.
Consequently, in addition to the now-widely publicized UFO-related missile shutdown incidents—such as the Echo and Oscar Flight incidents at Malmstrom AFB, Montana, in March 1967—we now have a number of ICBM activations being reported by former nuclear missile launch officers—on both sides of the ocean during the Cold War era. Predictably, Washington and Moscow continue to remain silent about these dramatic and perhaps ominous disclosures.
Shortly after I revealed this case on the Coast to Coast AM radio show (11/30/14), bloggers began discussing and dissecting it. One of them, MUFON’s chief photo and video analyst, Marc D’Antonio, skeptically challenged the scenario provided by the former missile launch officer, writing, “Was it confirmed to be OVER the silo and not possibly a distant object brightly lit in the sky and seen past the silo? If so it could have been mistaken as being OVER the silo especially at night where precious few reference points are available for observations. Was it possibly the moon seen through clouds and in the excitement mistaken for a bright UFO over the silo? Were the proximity alerts a malfunction which led to a security team seeking an ‘intruder’ and thus self-primed to ‘find one’ unconsciously?”
D’Antonio continued, “Was it possible that the F106 and the ‘bolting’ UFO were actually the same object misinterpreted? Missile folks and security personnel are not people who are trained to discern situations outside of their expected purview and this situation whether actual or mistaken was clearly outside all of their training regimen. Intruders on foot or in a helicopter they can manage. But if they thought that the light WAS over the silo and the other members agreed with the lead person who made that potential observation, then all of them would report as observed by the lead in all likelihood.
Could it have been the F 106 flying through clouds that night that caused them to mistake the light as a more nearby object entirely? Jet exhaust in [military] planes really lights up clouds. I have seen this personally quite a bit.”
At my request, my ex-U.S. Air Force source responded to this attempt to debunk the case:
I think Marc D’Antonio is overlooking or disregarding one key element of this situation, that being that the object over R-29 was visible on the radar scopes in the 24th NORAD Region SAGE Center (blockhouse) at Malmstrom AFB. Further, the controllers in the SAGE Center were directing the F-106 in pursuit of the object. Also, the F-106 pilot observed the object ‘bolting’ straight up.
The SAGE Center controller involved in this situation lived in my neighborhood on base and after this was all over, he commented to a friend of mine (who had been on alert at the adjacent Quebec Launch Control Center and watched this all take place) that the object definitely did not behave like any aircraft that NORAD was familiar with.
So no, the security team members weren’t mistaking the F-106 for the object because the F-106 was scrambled to intercept the object after it appeared on radar in the vicinity of R-29. And while Mr. D’Antonio can discount the ability of us missile types to accurately discern flying objects, I don’t believe he can make the same statement about a combat-qualified F-106 interceptor pilot.
In his critique, D’Antonio had also written, “Isn’t it quite possible that the fried electronics could have actually occurred FIRST and subsequently caused all of the observed electrical malfunctions? The mistaken proximity alarms, the launch go-no-go, and the strange on/off sequencing, could all have been generated by a cascading systems failure that occurred beforehand.”
He continued, “This actually may be much more likely given electrical systems propensity for failure. Lest anyone think that these systems are bulletproof, search for the records of electrical maintenance and failure and you will be surprised to find how fragile our missile launch systems really have been. Given a failure-as-cause as potential, albeit of course unprovable at this point, the UFO sighting could have been a mistaken identity and would then be the only strangeness associated with the case.”
To which my ex-Air Force source responded:
The electronics that were ‘fried’ were the ground electronics in the launch facility which could have accounted for the MISSILE AWAY indication. I would go further and conjecture that this is what likely did cause the MISSILE AWAY display.
All of the other status reports, however, are generated and reported by the missile guidance computer. (Point of technical information: The missile guidance computer ‘runs’ the launch facility. That it, it monitors and reports status, responds to all commands for ground and missile tests and alignment sequences, etc. Of course, after launch, the guidance computer actually flies the missile to its target and then deploys the weapons.)
The missile guidance computer at R-29 was not damaged like the ground electronics. Further, the ground electronics have nothing to do with generating the launch-sequence commands and status, and, therefore, would not have the capability to falsely report on launch events. More importantly, the sequences and timing of all the launch indications were ‘spot-on’ to what would be reported in an actual launch for that particular sortie and the target for which it was set.
I would argue that if these indications were all a result of cascading electronics failure, they would be random. The statistical odds of a random equipment failure causing a 100-percent-accurate sequence of status-changes is astronomical. (It would be like putting a monkey in a room with a typewriter and having it produce a perfect copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica, or the collected works of Shakespeare!)
One final point: What we (the launch crew) observed at R-29 was totally isolated from the ‘unknown’ that NORAD detected and launched an interceptor on. We did not call NORAD; the F-106 appeared in the area while we were dealing with our security situation and the subsequent (false) launch indications. Two completely separate sequences of event—with the object over R-29 as the common element.
D’Antonio also wrote, “Who saw [this alleged UFO event] and where are they now? It’s now public so they can speak…where is the F106 pilot, tower and crew who would recall chasing a UFO if that is in fact what happened?”
My own response to D’Antonio’s last comment involved pointing out that one demanding the appearance of corroborating witnesses—in any given decades-old UFO case—is easier said than done. While I am hopeful that the guards who participated in the incident will be made aware of the former launch officer’s recent candid remarks and subsequently come forward to add their own statements to the public record, the likelihood of even one of them learning about this development, and doing so, is low. Only rarely do such cases have multiple, corroborating witnesses.
(For example, in the March 24, 1967 full-flight missile shutdown incident at Malmstrom’s Oscar Flight, former Minuteman targeting officer Captain Bob Jamison has corroborated former launch officer Captain Bob Salas’ account of a UFO-involvement in the event. Jamison discussed his participation in the retargeting of those missiles during his appearance at my UFOs and Nukes press conference in 2010. A video of CNN’s live streaming of the event may be viewed at my homepage.)
One declassified USAF document discusses yet another case at Malmstrom, in November 1975, involving as many as seven UFOs maneuvering near ICBM sites, as well as the radar tracking of those objects—which hovered at times—before being chased from the missile field by F-106 fighters. In short, the newly-reported, dramatic event at Romeo Flight, in 1974, was only one of many such incidents, although reports of missile activations are still rare.
Marc D’Antonio is not the first—and will not be the last—skeptic to try to evaluate these cases in terms that they are comfortable with. At least he was attempting to raise legitimate questions, unlike those deluded debunkers who call the veterans who report the incidents “liars and frauds”.
Nevertheless, there are now so many of these nuclear weapons-related UFO cases on record that for skeptics to attempt to explain them all away as due to misidentified manmade aircraft or natural phenomena, or the result of fallible human perceptions, only demonstrates the degree to which they are in deep, deep denial.
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