Tag Archives: By Paul Dean

Unreleased UFO Files Held By New Zealand Government

UFO Files Held By New Zealand Government

     On the 3rd of August, 1985, researcher Timothy Good wrote to the Air Vice Marshal Ewan Jamieson, Chief of the Air Staff, at the Ministry of Defence Headquarters, Wellington, New Zealand, asking what the New Zealand military’s official stance on UFOs was. In a 6th of September, 1985 reply to Good, Wing Commander S. D. White, writing on behalf of Air Vice Marshal Ewan Jamieson, stated:

“New Zealand’s Ministry of Defence is not specifically charged with any formal responsibility for investigating UFOs… …and neither is any other government department. The Ministry does however take an active interest in all such reports and within the limitations of its resources conducts investigations as necessary.”

Paul Dean
By Paul Dean
ufos-documenting-the-evidence.blogspot.com
7-14-17

This official statement, and quite a few others like it, was somewhat misleading.

In March, 2017, I accessed Archives New Zealand, which is that country’s official national archive and records repository, and entered a series of keywords into the “Archway” search engine. Using the keywords “unidentified flying object”, “ufo”, “unidentified flying objects”, “ufos”, “unknown object”, “unknown objects”, “flying saucers” and the like, I was surprised to see numerous hits displayed in the results. Of course, New Zealand’s government has already released numerous files, so any search results which included these items were expected. What I didn’t expect was a listing of hitherto unknown files, some of which are “restricted” from public access for decades to come. I should state that these unreleased files were not totally unknown to at least a handful of researchers. British based researcher Isaac Koi, for example, discussed the existence of these records some time ago on the internet forum Above Top Secret, and Keith Basterfield mentioned some of the items in various New Zealand focused blogposts in 2010.

Before elaborating on these unseen files, it is prudent to summarise New Zealand’s first, and only, declassification and public release of government files, and, specifically, how they were released. In December, 2010, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), who operate under, and answer to, New Zealand’s Ministry of Defence (MOD), released a number of formally classified files concerning UFO’s. Only through the determined work of Susan Hansen, the Director of New Zealand’s “UFO Focus New Zealand Research Network” (UFOCUS NZ), a civilian based research organisation, did this release occur. Hansen had worked for some fourteen months, corresponding with Lt. Gen. Jerry Mateparae, the Chief of Defence Force, NZDF, regarding the mustering, declassification and public release of New Zealand’s MOD files, some which were nearly sixty years old.

Initially, Lt. Gen. Mateparae stated that it “…would require a substantial amount of collation, research and consultation to identify whether any of that information could be released…” and that the NZDF was not able to deploy staff to undertake the task. Lt. Gen. Jerry Mateparae, however, also gave his personal viewpoint on the matter, stating:

“In the longer term, recognizing the ongoing public interest in this topic, I would like to see a summary of information held about UFO sightings produced, in much the same way as that which is produced by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence. Given the existing constraints, however, I cannot predict when that objective could be achieved.”

Months later, due largely to Susan Hansen’s continued efforts, Lt. Gen. Mateparae announced that the assessing of classified UFO files by NZDF staff had begun. In a December, 2009 letter, Lt. Gen. Mateparae stated:

“I am pleased to be able to inform you that two NZDF officers have begun the task of assessing classified files held in relation to this topic, with a view to declassification. I would expect that files which are transferred to Archives New Zealand would be subject to extensive embargo periods in terms of access by the general public.”

It was on the 22nd of December, 2010, that the NZDF finally made available nine files, which totalled 2101 pages. The files contained records dating from, at the earliest, 1952, and, most recently, 2009. Specifically, the files released were “Air 39/3/3 Volume 1, Parts 1 and 2”, “Flying Saucers”, with a date range spanning 1952 to 1955; “Air 39/3/3 Volume 2, Parts 1 & 2, “Reports on UFOs”, with a date range spanning 1956 to 1979; “Air 39/3/3 Volume 3”, “Reports on UFOs”, with a date range spanning 1979 to 1980; “Air 39/3/3A Volume 1, Parts 1 and 2”, “Reports on UFOs and Ethnology”, with a date range of 1979 to 1984; “Air 39/3/3 Volume 4”, “Reports on UFOs”, covering 1981 to 1984; “Air 244/10/1 Volume 1”, “Reports on UFOs” with a date range spanning 1959 to 1983; “Air 1080/6/897 Volume 1”, “Courts Of Enquiry – Investigation of Unidentified and Radar Sightings East Coast South Island December 1978”, with a date range spanning from 1978 to 1981; “1630/2 Volume 1”, “Reports on UFOs and Ethnology”, with a date range spanning 1984 to 1989; and, “1630/2 Volume 2”, “Reports on UFOs and Ethnology” with a date range spanning 1990 to 2009. Also worth mentioning is that some of the material in these files was redacted, and thus not visible.

While I do not attempt here to give any sort of detailed, historical treatment as to what these papers contain, it is worth mentioning that most of the records are UFO reports, of variable value, submitted by members of New Zealand’s public, and, general enquiries regarding the New Zealand government’s official stance on the UFO issue.

Most, but certainly not all.

A significant fraction of the material, in fact, comprises of internal government correspondence and enquiry, and it is most certainly not all MOD–generated. Firstly, the material that is of MOD provenance includes papers originating from such entities as the Secretary of Defence; the Minister of Defence; the Chief of the Defence Staff; the Chief of the Air Staff, RNZAF; Headquarters, Air Defence, RNZAF; the Deputy Director of Air Intelligence, RNZAF; the Director of Operations, RNZAF; and the Deputy Director of Service Intelligence, to name a few. Secondly, the material on file which is not of MOD provenance, includes papers originating from such entities as the Director of Civil Aviation, Civil Aviation Branch, Air Department; the Minister for Civil Aviation; the Deputy Director of Operations, Air Traffic Control, Ministry of Transport; the Director–General of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research; the Joint Intelligence Bureau; the Commissioner of Police, Police National Headquarters; the Director of the New Zealand Meteorological Service; and the Director of Carter Observatory.

Thus, it is established that numerous areas within New Zealand’s government, as demonstrated in these nine released MoD files, have had at least some involvement in the UFO problem. What, then, can we ascertain regarding the unreleased files? And how can they be declassified and released? All government files held by Archives New Zealand are indexed with metadata, which includes the title of the file, an item identification number, a code attached to the original controlling agency, a series number, an accession code, a box and item number, a record number, and various other pieces of information. Also, all files are listed as either being “Open Access”, “Restricted Access” or “Restrictions May Apply”. Unsurprisingly, an “Open Access” file can be made available to anyone, while a “Restricted Access” file is still in the legal custody of the original controlling agency, and, thus, unavailable. Such “Restricted Access” files are listed with a “Restrictions Expire” date which must be surpassed before automatic availability can occur. Steps can be taken, however, to have such files assessed and released earlier. Finally, files where “Restrictions May Apply” are releasable, but a final review of the item is required in case it contains sensitivities not noticed previously. These issues are important when evaluating the numerous unreleased UFO files listed within the Archives.

The first file of note, which should have been released in 2010, is titled “Intelligence – Defence – Unidentified Sightings”. The record number for this item is “244/1/7” and the date range spans from 1963 to 1976. The current controlling agency of the file is the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), but the original controlling agency, presumably, will be either a top–echelon division of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), or, one of New Zealand’s armed forces branches. Traditionally, New Zealand’s defence apparatus has, like most nations, always included an Army, Navy and Air Force. Either way, the file metadata gives no clue as to its origin. Moreover, as noted, this file is clearly a MoD item of some sort, and the NZDF is listed as the most recent controlling entity, so the notion that the NZDF released all of its UFO files in 2010 is quite incorrect. Having said that, the file is listed as “Open Access”, so someone in the NZDF has cleared it for release.

Another unseen file is titled “Political Affairs – Outer Space – Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs)” is indexed as originating from the Head Office of the New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). The record number is “NYP 3/58/13”, and the date range spans from 1977 to 1982. Thankfully, this particular item, unlike many, is classed as “Open Access”, which means copies can be made available with relative ease. MFAT represents New Zealand abroad, and conducts official communication and business with foreign governments, international organisations and other overseas bodies. One can only speculate as to what an MFAT file may contain. One possibility, given the 1977 to 1982 date range, is that the records relate to a UFO awareness raising initiative at the United Nations, led by Sir Eric Gairy, the then Prime Minister of Grenada, in the late 1970’s. This effort resulted in a series of plenary meetings and decision adoptions in late 1977, which culminated in a Special Political Committee Hearing on the 27th of November, 1978. Finally, “Political Affairs – Outer Space – Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs)” is listed as “Part 1”. This usually means, as can be demonstrated with other file holdings, that further “parts” were created, or at least planned for.

New Zealand’s atmospheric and meteorological agencies maintained UFO–related files too, The first item is titled, “Meteorological Office: Research: Meteorological – Unidentified Flying Objects”, and its record number is “42/6/23”. The date range of this file is 1968 to 1984. The originating and controlling agency for this file is the Head Office of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Limited (NIWAR). This quasi–government entity is described, in government organisational chronologies, as a “…Crown owned research and consulting company with expertise in water and atmospheric research”. The file is listed as “Open Access”. This is interesting, as the NIWAR was engaged in meteorological and atmospheric study, so any evaluation or assessment of the UFO issue by competent scientists is obviously valuable to researchers. Also, like other New Zealand UFO files, this item is listed as being “Part 1”, which implies a continuation of the file well beyond the mid–1980’s. No more “parts”, however, are listed when performing archival searches. As for the contents, one hopes that NIWAR conducted a reasonable degree of primary research into the UFO issue, possibly studying unknown cases, and dealing directly with other New Zealand agencies. More likely, however, is that the file contains low–level sighting reports, collections of local newspaper articles, and other mundane items. Previous experience suggests the contents of “Meteorological Office: Research: Meteorological – Unidentified Flying Objects” is somewhere in the middle.

Another file, presumably of the same ilk, is “Public Weather Service – Flying Saucers And Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs)”. The record number is “2/13”, and the date range is 1956 to 1988. The controlling agency for the file is the New Zealand Meteorological Service (NZMS), but judging by the title of the file, it was specifically a Public Weather Service (PWS) record. The PWS was one of three sub–components of the NZMS. Government organisational chronologies state that the primary function of the NZMS was to “…provide and advise meteorological support… …for New Zealand and the islands of the South Pacific Ocean”. The file is “Open Access”, and does not appear to be one of several “Parts” as is often the case. One can only guess what the file contains, but it is quite likely that the PWS, and its parent agency, the NZMS, acted as a clearing house for UFO reports, as was the situation in Australia. Historically, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) received UFO reports from the public, and occasionally from other government agencies. The BOM was not explicitly charged with handling UFO cases, so, typically, they would be forwarded to the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) Directorate of Air Force Intelligence (DAFI) or the Department of Air (DOA). Whatever the contents, “Public Weather Service – Flying Saucers And Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs)” will contain records not seen for decades.

The infamous Kaikoura UFO incident is the subject of a file titled “Miscellaneous Files – UFO [Unidentified Flying Object] Affair (1978 Kaikoura Incident) –The Truth Is Out There”. With a one year date range of 1979 to 1979, the file was the provenance of the Magnetic and Geophysical Observatories, based in Christchurch, and the controlling agency is listed similarly as the Geophysical Observatory. This agency is indexed as “…undertaking research into upper atmosphere physics through data collected from remote ionosonde stations…”. Oddly, there is no record number assigned to the file. Its access status is “Open”. Obviously it deals with the “Kaikoura Lights” radar–visual UFO case that occurred between the 21st and 30th of December, 1978. These events involved airborne–visual and airborne radar features, plus ground–based radar confirmation. Some of the events were filmed by an Australian television crew on route to New Zealand. The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) and the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), as well as Carter Observatory, investigated the events in early 1979. Their efforts can be found in New Zealand’s most in–depth and classified UFO file, which was released, in part, in 2010. That file is titled “Courts Of Enquiry – Investigation of Unidentified and Radar Sightings East Coast South Island December 1978”. Ultimately, the visual sightings were attributed to lights mounted on squid boats which were presumed to be reflecting off low cloud cover, as well as a handful of bright stars and planets. The primary radar hits were attributed to spurious returns created by unusually intense atmospheric conditions at the time. Whatever the conclusions, it is apparent that the newly found “Miscellaneous Files – UFO [Unidentified Flying Object] Affair (1978 Kaikoura Incident) –The Truth Is Out There” has not been openly studied.

There are three files of New Zealand Police, National Headquarters provenance. They are, “37/21/1, Part 1”, “Support Services – Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO), General”; “37/19/3, Part 1”, “Support Services – Unidentified Flying Objects – General”; and “37/21/1, Part 1”, “Support Services – Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO), General”. All three files come with a date range spanning the year of 1972 only. The fact that all three files appeared to be nearly identical made me wonder if, in fact, just one file existed, and there had been a clerical error in listing it. However, each file does a unique record number, so each file must be unique.Access to these records is restricted until 2072.

As for the contents of these files, one can only speculate. It is possible that they relate to a series of space debris re–entries which occurred near the town of Ashburton, on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island in early 1972. As is widely known, several metal “space balls” were recovered by farmers in the region, and naturally a few federal agencies, including the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) and the Joint Intelligence Bureau (JIB), showed significant interest in the discoveries, primarily from a technical and safety. Ultimately, the objects proved to be titanium gas pressure vessels from the Soviet Cosmos 482 spacecraft. American agencies, including the State Department, the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the United States Air Force’s (USAF) Foreign Technology Division (FTD) were equally as interested, and designated the events as “Moon Dust” unknown, or, initially unidentifiable, crashed space junk. These agencies relied on the United ’States small Defence Attaché in Wellington (USDAO–WEL) and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT) for their information, some of which has been released under America’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to researchers. What was less known is that the New Zealand Police were involved in handling the downed space junk. In an 15th of January, 2011 article, titled “Government Report On ‘Space Balls’ Released”, authored by Charlie Gates for “The Press” section of an online news service known loosely as “Stuff”, farmer Denis O’Sullivan, who found one of the objects, is quoted as saying:

“I picked it up and carried it back to the truck. It was sitting on my lap in the truck on the way back to the farm. We called the police and the first thing they did was get everyone to stay away from the scene and then a policeman hung his wristwatch over it to see if it was radioactive. I thought, ‘It’s a bit late for that, it has been sitting on my lap on the way back’… …We thought it was an April Fool’s joke to start with. The police came and took it away. It caused quite a stir at the time. They treated it with great care because they were afraid it was radioactive.”

Possibly related to the above Police holdings is a file titled “Unidentified Objects of Foreign Origin”. The record number is “48/65/2” and the date range is listed as 1972 to 1973. Also, the file is listed as “Part 1”. This implies that there may be more “parts” to this file, but none are listed in the Archival system.

Also, the file is falls in a “Defence Documents” accession category, and is a considered “Restrictions May Apply” item. Importantly, the agency responsible for creating this file was the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR). The DSIR provided scientific and technical services to the New Zealand government before being dissolved and reorganised in 1992. It is likely that this file relates to the 1972 space debris re–entries discussed previously. Both the date range and the title of the file are the two main giveaways. Moreover, we know that the DSIR was involved in assessing pieces of crashed space junk shortly after they were discovered. DSIR’s involvement in space debris analysis came to light in the New Zealand press, but also through documents released by America’s Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and State Department. These two agencies produced “Moon Dust” and “UFO” reports which were released in the late 1970’s through America’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). For example, a Confidential 24th of October, 1973, State Department signal, sent from the US embassy in Wellington to the Secretary of State (SECSTATE), reads, in part:

“PRESS STORY DATED OCTOBER 20 SPECULATES THAT CYLINDRICAL OBJECT FOUND NEAR KUROW, NEW ZEALAND MAY BE LINKED TO SPHERES REPORTED REF B. PRESS DESCRIPTION, BASICALLY CONFIRMED BY DSIR, IS THAT OBJECT IS TWO FEET LONG AND SEVEN INCHES DIAMETER. EXTENSIVELY SCARRED BY HEAT AND PARTS APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN BLOWN OUT BY INTERIOR EXPLOSION. ONE END BOLTED TO MAIN COMPONENT BY AT LEAST TWENTY FOUR BOLTS AROUND PERIMETER OF SCALLOPED FLANGE. THERE IS OPEN CONICAL PROJECTION AT THIS END WITH TWO SMALLER ATTACHMENTS WHICH APPARENTLY WERE CONNECTED TO OTHER UNITS. DSIR CHRISTCHURCH STUDYING OBJECT AND WILL FORWARD TO DSIR WELLINGTON ABOUT OCTOBER 31. EMBOFF HAS BEEN INVITED EXAMINE OBJECT AND OBTAIN DSIR PRELIMINARY REPORT AT THAT TIME.”

If “Unidentified Objects of Foreign Origin” is not related to crashed space junk, then one is bound to ask if the file relates to debris from a downed aircraft of unknown origin, or a meteoric event. Failing those alternatives, the only thing remaining is something even more mysterious.

Yet another file which presumably relates to unexpected space re–entries, is “Administration File – Unidentified Flying Object Seen To Explode In Western Sky”. The record number is “0070/3” and the date range is 1983 to 1983. The controlling agency is listed as the Timaru Police Department. The title of the file would indicate something along the lines of a meteoric bolide or space debris re–entry. The date range, however, certainly rules out in relationship to the 1970’s space junk events. Failing something space borne, an unsolved aircraft explosion could be the subject of the file, though one would assume that New Zealand’s Director of Civil Aviation would be in control of the file, not the Timaru Police Department. Unfortunately, the item is categorised as “Restricted Access”, so obtaining a copy will be slow, if possible at all.

Going beyond the files I have thus far highlighted, there may be far more material held by New Zealand’s government not readily obvious to the researcher. If the experience in the United States is anything to go by, there is every possibility that important UFO records will be found in non–UFO files. To be sure, researchers in America are now accessing 1940’s and 1950’s–era military records which are indexed under “unidentified aircraft reports”, “unknown aircraft reports”, “intelligence sightings”, “security sightings”, “foreign aircraft”, “aerial weapons” and so forth. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), in Washington DC, and the United States Air Force’s (USAF) Air Force History and Research Agency (AFHRA), in Alabama, literally contain hundreds of the thousands of pages of such records, which are shelved in the operational or intelligence sections of squadron or wing–level holdings. The vast majority of these records, of course, have absolutely nothing to do with UFO’s, and are merely reports foreign or hostile aircraft, along with varying administrative assessments, security evaluations and other clerical material. However, a small percentage of these records, which still equates to thousands of pages, most certainly contain papers which would be considered UFO–related.

Even a very basic search of New Zealand’s archives contain possible leads. For example, a file titled “Northern Military District Auckland – Air And Naval Co–Operation Sighting Reports And Unidentified Aircraft – Aircraft Call Signs” would be a potential source of UFO reports or evaluation. Its record number of the file is “DAZ 205/9/S/4”. No date range is listed. The original controlling agency was the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force, and the is part of a large collection of records described as “Unit War Diaries, Unit Records and Supplementary Material”. Further, this collection was “…collected by the New Zealand Army Archives Section during the Second World War…”. Its access status is listed as “Open”.

Of possibly more interest are two Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) files created during World War Two. Their titles are “Intelligence – Intelligence re Aircraft – Reports Of Suspicious Sightings – March 1942 – August 1943” and “Intelligence – Intelligence re Aircraft – Reports of Suspicious Sightings – August 1942 – November 1944”. Both have the same record number, which is “08/19/1”, so, thus, presumably make up “Part 1” and “Part 2” of essentially the same file. The date range of both items is 1942 to 1944, and their access status is listed as “Open”. The controlling agency is simply listed as “Navy Department”. However, the files are part of a group of records described as “…sensitive Navy general correspondence” related to “…operations intelligence, personnel, security and the defence of New Zealand…”. Whether these items contain any UFO–related records, be they actual sighting reports or intelligence assessments, is entirely unknown, but it would be no surprise whatsoever if UFO’s were mentioned in some capacity.

As I highlighted at the beginning of this report, I highlighted a statement made by Wing Commander S. D. White to British researcher Timothy Good. Wing Commander White stated that the Ministry of Defence was “…not specifically charged with any formal responsibility for investigating UFOs…” and “…neither is any other government department…”. This is only partially correct. It is true that New Zealand’s Ministry of Defence (MoD), nor any other government department, did not run a largescale and properly funded UFO investigation desk, but there was, for example, an official investigative committee formed in the early 1970’s. Released in 2010, “Air 244/10/1 Volume 1”, “Reports on UFOs” contains dozens of pages of administrative memoranda penned by a group called the “Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) Investigating Committee”. The scientific and technical calibre of the group speaks for itself. In August, 1972, for instance, the Chairman of the committee was the MoD’s Deputy Director of Service Intelligence, and the Secretary was a RNZAF Squadron Leader. The members included Dr E. I. Robertson, the Director–General of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR); Dr. D. C. Thompson, of the Meteorological Service; Squadron Leader A. H. Milestone, the Deputy Director of Operations, Air Traffic Control, within the Ministry of Transport; and Mr. W. J. H. Fisher, the Director of Carter Observatory. So the notion that no one within the MoD was charged with UFO investigation was misleading. It must be said that the committee never really found hard evidence for UFO’s, but that’s not the point. Rather, the group maintained a passing interest, and decided the problem was a loosely scientific matter, rather than a specific defence problem. The committee was wound up on November 4th, 1976.

As I have painstakingly aimed to elaborate on, a significant number of unseen UFO files have come to light, and some of them were maintained by agencies not known to be involved at all. The question now is one of access. On the 6th of April, 2017, I emailed the New Zealand Archives with a list of files I was interested in. On the 21st of April, 2017, Research Services Archivist Nik MacDonald–Washburn, replied, and explained the process and costs associated with file retrieval, censoring and digitisation, some of which is fairly straightforward. Unfortunately, many of the files remain in the legal custody of the original controlling agency, or whoever inherited them. Files indexed as “Restrictions May Apply” or “Restricted” need to be carefully looked at, and the researcher is tasked with approaching each individual agency to ask what can and can’t be released. This, like most government documents research, will be a slow process. The lesson learned here, yet again, is that no matter where researchers look, there are seemingly always hitherto unknown records, often classified, languishing on government shelves.

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Instructions Regarding The Photographing of UFOs By Armed Forces Personnel

UFO and Other Aerial Phenomena Imagery

     The US Department of Defence (DoD), and components of the Armed Forces, routinely produce “doctrinal” material to aid in the efficient and lawful running of the US military. Such doctrine falls into several categories, including, but not limited to, “Regulations”, “Instructions”, “Manuals”, “Directives” and “Guidelines”. Historically, the US military handled the reporting and investigation of “UFOs”, or “unidentified flying objects”, through such published doctrine, much of which has been declassified and released to the public. When the United States Air Force (USAF) terminated its long running UFO study
Paul Dean
By Paul Dean
The UFO Chronicles
5-4-14

program, Project Blue Book, on the 17th of December, 1969, it was commonly accepted that no government agency, including within the military, would further accept or investigate UFO reports. Thus, one would expect that no formal publications dealing with UFOs would be promulgated beyond 1970. We know, of course, that this is not true. Numerous examples of classified military doctrine that deal with UFOs have come to light, as I have highlighted in previous blog posts.

On the 10th of April, 2001, the Assistant Secretary of Defence for Public Affairs (ASD-PA) promulgated a DoD Instruction titled DoD Instruction 5040.6, Life-Cycle Management of DoD Visual Information (VI). Amended on the 21st of October, 2002, and totalling twenty-seven pages, it details the “life-cycle” of DoD “visual information” (VI), which includes “…still photographs, digital still images, motion pictures, analog and digital video recordings…”. The Instruction references, and works in conjunction with, a DoD Manual titled DoD Manual 5040.6-M-1, Decision Logic Table Instructions For Recording And Handling Visual Information Material (DoD Manual 5040.6-M-1). This Manual was also published by ASD-PA on the 21st of October, 2002. One page two, the “Forward” section reads, in part:

“This Manual is issued under the authority of DoD Instruction 5040.6, ‘Life Cycle Management of DoD Visual Information,’ April 10, 2001 (reference (a)). It contains guidelines for both the recording of visual information (VI) in the field by camera operators and the accessioning of such VI as VI records into a records center, such as the Defense Visual Information Center (DVIC).

The Manual applies to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Military Departments, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Combatant Commands, the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Defense, the Defense Agencies, the DoD Field Agencies and all other organisational entities within the Department of Defense (hereafter referred to collectively as ‘the DoD Components’).”

Put simply, “DoD Manual 5040.6-M-1, Decision Logic Table Instructions For Recording And Handling Visual Information Material” describes how photographs and moving images, which have been obtained by members of the US Armed Forces, must be captured, transmitted and stored. A “Decision Logic Table” (DLT) is laid out throughout the Manual, and cover myriad events and scenarios which may present to military personnel, and other members of the DoD. Within the DLT, individual tables categorize specific scenes or situations, and provide disposition instructions, including priority and importance, for imagery contained in for each category. Dozens of topics, from “POST-BATTLE ACTIVITIES IMAGERY” to “NATURAL TERRAIN AND SITE IMAGERY”, are covered.

Curiously, one of the topics listed is UFO’s and other unidentifiable aerial phenomena (see above).

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Drury UFO Incident: Cold Case Review of Sighting & Film of Unidentified Flying Object

Drury UFO - Frame of Film 1982

Introduction

      An event which happened nearly 64 years ago, continues to be cited as a visual observation, of an anomalous object, which is supported by a movie film.

At about noon, on 23 August 1953, a Mr T. P. Dury, his wife and young son, observed an unusual object in the sky over Port Moresby, New Guinea. Mr Drury used his movie camera to capture images of the object. Claims have been made that the film returned to Mr Drury had some footage of the object missing.

By Keith Basterfield & Paul Dean

By Keith Basterfield & Paul Dean
ufos-documenting-the-evidence
4-22-17

Technical Note

The intention of section 1 of this paper, is to provide a chronological account, of items about the incident, in the form of direct text quotes, or summaries where items are exceedingly long. Although the chronology is lengthy, it does provide a detailed account of what Australian government Departments, civilian UFO researchers, and other interested parties, have documented about the incident.

In any set of documents, there are inevitable errors. In some cases, the main witness is said to be T. C. Drury; C. T. Drury or T. P. Drury. T. P. Drury is in fact correct. The date of the incident is actually 23 August 1953. However, it is sometimes said to have been 24 August 1953; 23 August 1957; Christmas 1953, or 23 August 1954. The location in at least one document, is said to have been Darwin, although it actually occurred in Port Moresby. The time is generally stated as 12 noon, but in at least once instance is shown as 11 am. There are other inconsistences, which the alert reader will detect.

There are numerous references to the Drury incident, in other UFO magazines; books, and on the internet. However, none of these provide any information, not already provided below, so these have not been cited.

Due to the passage of time, many of the individuals mentioned in this paper are no longer alive. The authors advise the reader, that have not re-interviewed any witnesses to the sighting, given the age of the event. Instead, they feel that there is far more value to utilising the text of sources close to the date of the event. The authors also disclose that they have not been able to view any of the colour film, or any first generation still photographs copied from the film. However, they do cite the opinions of individuals who have done so.

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Military Reporting Channel For UFO Incidents? OPREP-3

– Part 1 –

UFO Telex - May 1978

     While going through the officially declassified and release that relate to the spooky 1975 US/Canadian border Northern Tier “over flights”, as well as other 1970’s–era UFO cases, I noticed a specific term repeatedly appearing in the documents that piqued my interest. The term was “OPREP–3”, and it was sometimes followed by other terms like “PINNACLE”, “BEELINE” or “NAVY BLUE”. Upon further study of statements of American military doctrine – both old and new – it became quickly apparent that these terms refer to a specific type of “operational reporting” system used by the US Armed Force. “OPREP”
Paul Dean
By Paul Dean
The UFO Chronicles
6-2-16

means “Operational Report”, and “3” refers to a category meaning “Serious Event/Serious Incident”. There are dozens of available publications that detail the OPREP–3 process. One such publication, promulgated by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), is an Instruction dated 1st of December, 1993, titled Joint Reporting Structure Event and Incident Reports. Page 1 establishes:

“The OPREP–3 reporting system… …is used by military units at any level of command to report significant events and incidents to the highest levels of command.”

Another publication, titled Air Force Instruction 10–206 Operational Reporting (AFI 10–206), and promulgated by the Secretary of the United States Air Force (SEC–USAF) on 15th October, 2008, states in Chapter 3:

“Command Posts use the OPREP–3s to immediately notify commanders of any significant event or incident that rises to the level of DoD, AF, or MAJCOM interests. Submit the applicable OPREP–3 regardless of whether or not the event is being reported through other channels.”

This is interesting, and we have inadvertently known about it all along. After the closure of the United States Air Force’s (USAF) Project Blue Book, no reporting channels, except the Communications Instructions for Reporting Vital Intelligence Sightings (CIRVIS) system, and the “Air Force Reporting System” (AFOREP) channel, were to be used for UFO reporting in the USA. Even knowledge of those was kept reasonably quiet. As we shall see, there is irrefutable, documented evidence that the AFOREP channel, which contained an early OPREP–3 procedures, has been used to report UFOs to higher commands.

On the night of May 14, 1978, the United States Navy’s (USN) Pinecastle Electronic Warfare Range, in Florida, endured a very unusual incident. A UFO was both visually sighted and tracked by primary radar. It was reported as displaying red, green, and white lights, and was accompanied by no sound. Also, the UFO apparently took evasive action when there was an attempt to lock radar on the object. When records relating to the case were released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), even the Public Affairs officer, N. P. Young, stationed at Jacksonville Naval Air Station (NAS Jacksonville), who processed the records, had this to say about the incident:

“I have never been a believer in UFOs, but I assure you I am convinced that a number of people witnessed an unexplainable event that night.”.

Five pages of records were released relating to the incident, including a two page telex sent from NAS Jacksonville to the Commander–in–Chief of the USN’s Atlantic Fleet (CINCLANFLT) at Norfolk, Virginia. Classified CONFIDENTIAL, one line states:

“NAS JACKSONVILLE /OPREP–3 NAVY BLUE 1718002 MAY 78/006”

Note the term “OPREP–3”. Further, beneath this line, the telex reads:

“REPORTS OF UFO DISPLAYING RED, GREEN AND WHITE LIGHTS”

Two more lines down the telex states:

“INITIAL REPORTED UFO SIGHTING BY TWO UNIDENTIFIED CIVILIANS”

Note the term “UFO” is openly used here. This is indisputable proof that a UFO event, of some sort, caused the sending of an OPREP–3 to the CINCLANFLT. I have imaged the page above, top.

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‘UFO Problem’ During The Vietnam War -Pt 2-



UFOs Over Saigon - Spot Report (1) 4-17-1967

     Recently, in Part 1 of this series, I discussed the discovery of US military records which comment liberally on “unidentified flying objects”, usually shortened to just “UFOs”, during the Vietnam War. These records, discovered by myself and Boston based research Barry Greenwood, were originally created by all four branches of the US armed forces. The sorts of records we have found include “Histories” and “Chronologies”, “Mission Reports”, “Patrol Logs”, “Daily Staff
Paul Dean

By Paul Dean
The UFO Chronicles
9-21-16

Journals”, and so-called “Lessons Learned” publications. Also represented in these finds are “Project CHECO” publications, specific to the United States Air Force (USAF). Most of these records have come from either the Defence Technical Information Center (DTIC) or National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). This came on top of other ongoing work which dealt specifically with unresolved questions around the USAF’s accidental strike on Australia’s warship, the HMAS Hobart. Part 1 and Part 2 of that work is complete, and there will be a third installment at some point in the future.

One of the issues I have raised is a question of terminology. It should easy to write off the term “UFO” as some sort of lazy “catchall” for unknown, unidentifiable aircraft. Helicopters, especially seen at a distance, or only briefly plotted on primary radar, would have fallen into the the “UFO” category. However, the problem is rather more complex than that. Time and time again in official military documents we have seen the term “UFO” being alongside, or distinct from, “unidentified aircraft”, “unknown helicopters”, and the like. This is both inconsistent and unexpected in such a wide range of military records. Still, is it possible that these references to, and reports of, “UFOs” or “unidentified flying objects” in Vietnam were merely bumbling enemy helicopters and tricks of light in the jungle? Unfortunately, simple explanations fail to solve the issue to my satisfaction.

Though not found by either Barry Greenwood or myself, it is worth taking a look at a 17th of April, 1967 UFO report made by US Army Specialist (SP4) Robert M. Harkinson who was assigned to Headquarters, 524th Military Intelligence Detachment, Saigon. Harkinson’s typed report was submitted on a two page US Army “Counterintelligence Spot Report” form, with a “Subject” line reading “Sighting of Unidentified Flying Objects”. He states that at around 2:20am:

“…I observed five large, illuminated oval-shaped objects, traveling in close formation and at a very high rate of speed across the sky. At that time, I was on the roof of the Saigon Field Office of the 524th MI Detachment… …I first saw these objects near the horizon to my left and watched them cover the entire field of my vision in what I believe to be less than five seconds. During that period of time, the objects travelled from where I first saw them, near the horizon to my left, passed almost directly over me at what seemed to be a very great height, and then moved out of sight behind a cloud formation at the horizon to my right. The sky was partly cloudy but, at the time of the sighting, the area of the sky over which they travelled was very clear, with the exception of a few small patches of scattered clouds, which they seemed to be above. As the objects passed over these clouds, they were obscured from my vision until they emerged on the other side. I also observed that, as they passed between my line of sight and a star, they covered the star and blocked out its light until they had passed. This indicated to me that the objects were not transparent.”

Following on, the witness attempts to compare the objects to known aircraft, and conveys limitations in describing the objects in detail:

“It was apparent that they were not any form of conventional aircraft due to their size, shape, rate of speed and the fact that they made no noise audible to me. Prior to the sighting of these objects, I had been observing conventional aircraft, both propeller and jet-powered, and there is no question in my mind that they were a great deal larger than any craft I have ever seen in the sky. They were also traveling at a rate of speed which I would estimate to be at least five times greater than any jet-powered aircraft I have ever seen. They were too distant and traveling too fast for a detailed description to be possible. I was only able to see that they were definitely oval in shape and glowed a steady white…”

Finally, Harkinson states:

“I have never held any opinion concerning unidentified flying objects. Neither have I ever seen any, previously. However, I believe that these objects were spacecraft of some kind. I am convinced that they were not reflections, conventional aircraft, meteorites or planets.”

Whatever SP4 Harkinson witnessed, or believed he witnessed, it certainly had nothing to do with North Vietnamese helicopters. The report was submitted to the USAF’s Air Force Systems Command’s (AFSC) Foreign Technology Division (FTD) which controlled Project Blue Book, but, as far as we know, wasn’t investigated. In the covering letter to the FTD, the witness was described as “…a stable, mature member” of the Army’s military intelligence community in Saigon. Astronomer and Project Blue Book consultant J. Allen Hynek took interest in the case, writing to Maj. Hector Quintanilla, the head of the flawed Blue Book UFO investigation project, on the 20th of November, 1967, about acquiring more details from the US Army in Saigon. In the letter, Hynek stated, amongst other things, that:

“As reported, this case is completely unidentified and much additional information is called for. It is inconceivable that military intelligence would not have looked further into this case, and therefore I should like to request that any further information gathered… …be forwarded to Project Blue Book”

Any follow-up investigation is yet to come to light. Harkinson’s two-page “Sighting of Unidentified Flying Objects” Counterintelligence Spot Report form is imaged above top and below.

UFOs Over Saigon - Spot Report (2) 4-17-1967

As I have frequently pointed out, the terms “UFO” and “Unidentified Flying Object” are used alongside terms like “unidentified aircraft”, “unknown aircraft”, “unidentified helicopter” and the like. This would imply that the unknown objects being commonly witnessed by military forces were not fitting into more mundane categories. Who would want to use the term “UFO” over, say, “unknown helicopter”? Numerous United States Marine Corps (USMC) “Command Chronology” publications exemplify this conundrum.

One such example comes from Command Chronology, Headquarters, 3rd 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 and pages of raw, tabulated text which discuss the daily activities of the 3rd Marine Division’s 1st Amphibious Tractor Battalion while they were patrolling the southern edge of the demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in 1968. The entries logged on the 18th of June, between 8:35pm and 9:09pm, state:

“Tower at AmTrac CP reports two UFOs at 2 o’clock, 8000m

Co ‘A’ at C–4 position reported unidentified aircraft due east of C–4 position.

Elms Co ‘A’ at Oceanview reported 6 UFOs vic of the mouth of the Ben Hai River

Co ‘A’ at C-4 position reported AA fire at UFO in vic of Gio Linh.

Tower at AmTrac CP reported helicopter flying north over the peninsula.”

The terms “unidentified aircraft”, “UFO” and “helicopter” are used in a very short period of time indeed. Startlingly also is the reference to reported anti-aircraft fire “at UFO”. I have imaged this page below:

Sequential Listing of Significant Events (Vietnam)- June, 1968

The same USMC battalion, by September, 1968, was reporting UFO’s to the USAF’s regional Direct Air Support Center (DASC) at Dong Ha Airfield. Such is stated in the “Sequential Listing of Significant Events” in “Command Chronology, Headquarters, 3rd Marine Division, 1st Amphibious Tractor Battalion, 1 September, 1968 to 30 September, 1968”. The entries logged on the 17th of September, between 8:15pm and 9:00pm, state:

“Co ‘B’ platoon, at Oceanview, (YD 2917151), reported sighting 4 UFO’s at an azimuth of 6200 mils, approximate distance 8000 to 10000 meters. Notified Da Nang DASC.

“Co ‘B’ platoon, at Oceanview, (YD 2917151), reported sighting 10 UFO’s from azimuth 5900 mils to azimuth 6200 mils, approximate distance 8000 to 10000 meters. Notified Da Nang DASC.”

The page is imaged below:

Sequential Listing of Significant Events (Vietnam)- Sept, 1968

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington DC have released thousands of pages of “Daily Staff Journal Or Duty Officer’s Log” records which were compiled by the ground forces of the US Army’s 4th Infantry Division. One such set of logs, penned by the 14th Infantry Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Brigade, contains numerous references to radar contacts and visual observations, including landings, which, one would think, should be referred to as “helicopters” or “aircraft”. But, instead, they are listed as “UFOs”. For instance, on the 13th of January, 1969, starting at 1:13am, the 14th Infantry Duty Officer writes:

“To NCS from Radar… …radar picked up UFO moving east.”

An hour later, it is stated:

“To NCS from Radar. Spotted UFO circling, two landings…”

These sorts of entries continue, and include numerous “sightings”, plus a “touch down”. Also listed is the firing of five rounds of 105mm Howitzer fire. The log goes on to state, at 4:01am, that:

“Spooky 23 will be in vicinity of LZ Laura for any possible engagement of UFO’s. Spooky arrived at 0407.”

“Spooky” was the name given to the USAF’s AC-47 gunship aircraft employed for low level ground attack and light air-to-air combat. In this case, apparently, the “UFOs” were gone by the time “Spooky 23” arrived. But, just before 5am, radar picked up the unknown intruders for another half an hour before they vanished. Finally, at 7:30am, it is written that:

“Brigade wants 1/14 to check out the area where artillery was employed… …where UFOs were fired upon this morning.”

The log entries for the rest of the day make no mention of anything being found “where UFOs were fired upon”, so evidently nothing was. The above detailed page is imaged below:

Officers Log (Vietnam) 1-13-1969

The above log entry is but just one example. With ample time and space, I could highlight similar events, with a detailed summary of each page, but there are simply too many. Suffice to say, some entries are more noteworthy than others. On the 14th of January, for example, at 4:30am, it is said that:

“…Radar reported visual sighting over LZ Chara Bde… …In the 1st ten minutes, there have been 4 landing… …also there is electrical interference coming from that area.”

Electrical interference? This is an effect often reported during localised, close range UFO incidents. Whatever the specifics, and there unfortunately isn’t enough of them, these 14th Infantry logs are loaded with unsolved, unidentified entries about “UFOs”. Helicopters are never mentioned, and, in fact, some of the “UFO” sightings specifically discuss the total lack of sound. None of the sightings end up being actually solved. Also not mentioned, ever, are hostile aircraft, contrails, flak or flares. It’s always “UFOs”. Maybe the wartime environment, plus unpredictable enemy activity, could be responsible for the inability to identify these objects. However, again, there seems to be no association between the “UFOs” and, say, helicopter activity or the sounds of engines. Needless to say, whatever the objects or phenomenon were, the USAF was not taking reports from the 14th Infantry, nor anyone else in the 4th Infantry Division.

Since the early 1950’s, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have promulgated a series of “Merchant Ship Intelligence” (MERINT) instructions which contained a standardized process for reporting unusual, unidentified or potentially hostile aircraft or vessels. While promulgated within “Joint Army Navy Air Force Publication 146” (JANAP 146) doctrine, MERINT instructions were by both non-military maritime professionals aboard US and Canadian flagged ships. Usually running at twelve pages or so, they were often published alongside the more well-known “Communications Instructions for Reporting Vital Intelligence Sightings” (CIRVIS) procedures, and, in fact, some shortened versions of JANAP 146 have both the MERINT and CIRVIS sections combined into one chapter.

Specifically, MERINT instructions requested the reporting of unidentified aircraft, or, formations of unidentified aircraft, missiles, hostile or unidentified submarines and surface vessels, and other unusual or unexpected air or waterborne activity. Also specified are “unidentified flying objects”. A submitted MERINT report would include a description of the sighting, including the object(s) shape, size, color, any discernible features, associated sound, direction of travel, length of sighting, etc. Historically, addressee’s included, to name a few, the Commander-in-Chief, North American Air Defense Command (CINCNORAD), the USN’s Chief of Naval Operations, (CNO), the USN’s Director, Naval Ocean Surveillance Information Center, (D-NOSIC), and the Canadian Navy’s Commander, Maritime Command.

The US Navy (USN) was serious about the promulgation of MERINT instructions through a document titled “Military Sea Transportation Service, Far East, Instruction 3360.1A”. The four page document, distributed in June, 1967, was sent from the Commander, Military Sea Transportation Service, Far East, San Francisco, to various USN Naval Communication Stations (NAVCOMMSTA) in the Asia-Pacific region. Starting on Page 1, the subject line of the document is “Reporting of Vital Intelligence Sightings from Seaborne Sources (SHORT TITLE – MERINT)” and highlights JANAP 146(E) in the reference list. In the “Purpose” section, it is stated:

“To emphasise the importance of prompt and accurate reporting of intelligence sightings by USNS ships under the operation control of the Commander, Military Sea Transportation Service, Far East (COMSTSFE)”

Following on, the “Background” section discusses the significance of “intelligence sightings” reporting, and the importance of complying with the established procedures in the interests of national security. The next section, titled “Action”, states:

“All USNS ships under the operational control of COMSTSFE are directed to report the following intelligence sightings by message:

a. Hostile or unidentified single aircraft or formation of aircraft which appear to be directed against the United States forces.

b. Missiles.

c. Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO)

d. Hostile or unidentified submarines.

e. Hostile or unidentified group or groups of military surface vessels.

f. Individual surface vessels, submarines, or aircraft of unconventional design, or engaged in suspicious activity or observed in an unusual location.

g. Unidentified objects of either scientific or warlike appearance seen submerged or floating on the surface of the water.”

Note here that a distinction is drawn between “Unidentified Flying Objects”, or, “UFOs” and “missiles”, “unidentified single aircraft or formation of aircraft”, etc. Thus, UFOs do not seem to mean the same thing. I have imaged the page below:

Military Sea Transportation Service (Vietnam) 6-7-1967

While it is probably unnecessary to reproduce the rest of “Military Sea Transportation Service, Far East, Instruction 3360.1A” here, I should mention that the second page lays out what exactly should be contained in a report, including items such “Date and time of sighting”, “Altitude of object expressed as Low, Medium or High”, “Direction of travel of object”, “Speed of object” and “Conditions of sea and weather”. Clearly, MERINT instructions, as well as the more familiar CIRVIS procedures mentioned before, are primarily for the reporting of unidentifiable aircraft or vessels which could be hostile. However, unusual UFO events have indeed been reported using MERINT and CIRVIS procedures. The USAF’s Project Blue Book case files contain a significant number of them, as do Canada’s UFO files, formally held by the Department of National Defence (DND). And these are only the cases we know about…

It is easily argued that significant MERINT and CIRVIS reported UFO cases never even made it to Blue Book or the DND, and, in fact, stayed well within operational areas of air defence, air intelligence and so forth. The infamous “Bolender Memo”, which was actually an USAF “Air Staff Study”, and not a memorandum as such, stated that “…reports of unidentified flying objects which could affect national security are made in accordance with JANAP 146… …are not part of the Blue Book system.”. Signed on the 20th October, 1969 by Brigadier General Carrol H. Bolender, Deputy Director of Development, USAF, the document also went on to state that “…reports of UFOs which could affect national security would continue to be handled through the standard Air Force procedures designed for this purpose.”. Thus, it is established that JANAP 146, which contained CIRVIS and MERINT reporting procedures, was one of a number of ongoing examples of doctrine that allowed for, even demanded, the reporting of “UFOs” which “could affect national security”. CIRVIS and MERINT reportable events have continued to be submitted with urgency. Canada’s Department of Transport (DOT) has released some of these reports, but the USAF and NORAD have not, and Freedom of Information requests have been knocked back time and time again.

Actual MERINT instruction booklets, like the example referred to in “Military Sea Transportation Service, Far East, Instruction 3360.1A”, have been released, and are quite clear in textual and graphical presentation. While there have been different versions released since the 1950’s, a good example of a Vietnam War-era MERINT booklet is “OPNAV 94-P-3”. Signed off by Admiral James S. Russell, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, USN, and promulgated in July, 1959, this version of MERINT was current until January, 1967. Page 6 contains the typical “What To Report” section. It is stated, “Report all airborne and waterborne objects which appear hostile, suspicious, or unidentified…”. Examples such as “guided missiles” and “aircraft or contrails…” are listed as distinct from “unidentified flying objects”. Also displayed are shaded illustrations next to each example. Next to “unidentified flying objects” is a somewhat classic flying saucer craft, as well as a Buck Rogers type rocket. So, again, there is certainly a requirement here that UFO’s were to be reported. Below is the page in question.

What To Report section Navy Vietnam - January 1967

In March, 2015, researcher Barry Greenwood discovered that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) had made a previously unknown collection of Vietnam War-era records partially available. Titled “Combat Air Activities Files” (CACTA), these records were originally controlled by the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s (JCS) J-3 (Operations) Directorate, and contain vast amounts of tabulated data regarding combat missions flown over southeast Asia. The CACTA database is keyword searchable. Using the search term “UFO”, dozens of records populate the results display. Furthermore, the term “UFO” is often accompanied by other terms. The results are as varied as “UFO CHASE”, “SUS UFO” and “UFO SEARCH”. The actual missions that contain these terms include “Air Interdiction”, “Visual Reconnaissance”, “Flare Drop”, “Strike” and “Airborne Alert”. Amazingly, although the raw data in these records are available, the actual hardcopy records at NARA are still classified SECRET. So, even after five decades, the controlling authorities have not seen fit to make them fully available. Barry Greenwood, probably the world’s leading expert on government UFO records availability, says:

“There would seem to be no good reason to withhold the reports if a FOI request were filed. These events were fifty years ago. Invoking “National Security” for a war that ended in the distant past would not be convincing.”

Still, what little we see in these summarised CACTA records is enough to, once again, conclude that the US military, was using the term “UFO” regularly, and, it was being used as a standard descriptor. This should not have been the case. Project Blue Book was being finalized, and the Colorado UFO Study had actually ended when some of these aerial missions over Asia were evidently still listing some events as “UFOs”. Below is one of the digital results pages from the online CACTA database.

Combat Air Activities Files CACTA

To conclude, there is undoubtedly far more Vietnam War-era documentation yet to be declassified and released. We have only seen a fraction of the administrative records painstakingly produced by all four branches of the US military. We have, likewise, only scratched the surface when it comes to operational records – records we know exist by category or title, but have yet to be made available to researchers. There are “Strike Reports”, “Air Interdiction Results”, “After Action Mission Reports”, “Base Alerts”, “Reconnaissance Reports”, “Bombardment Reports”, “Daily Staff Journals”, “Air Traffic Control Logs”, and myriad other groupings of day-to-day paperwork. If the comparatively tiny number of released records, so far, are littered with references to “UFOs”, then the rest of them will hardly be any different. Experience tells us that these current discoveries will not be a freak statistical fluke.

More importantly, considering that “UFOs” were being reported distinctly from other aerial activity, Project Blue Book investigation, with only a handful of exceptions, was absolutely nowhere to be seen. Researchers are well area that the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD), Aerospace Defence Command (ADCOM), and the old Strategic Air Command (SAC) were not submitting UFO cases to Project Blue Book when they should have been, but now we can safely say that American forces in Vietnam were no better. Congress, the press and the public were being regularly told that Blue Book was the final word in UFO case collection and study.

Even the most extremist, most boneheaded debunker cannot fail to see dishonesty and inconsistency here. Astoundingly, when America’s leaders specifically ask about the UFO matter, they are told untruths. In a reply letter to Senator Patty Murray, dated August 25, 1993, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Shubert, USAF, stated:


“As information, the Air force began investigating UFOs in 1948 under a program called Project Sign. Later, the program’s name was changed to Project Grudge and, in 1953, it became known as Project Blue Book. On December 17, 1969, the Secretary of the Air Force announced the termination of Project Blue Book… …As a result of these investigations, studies, and experience, the conclusions of Project Blue book were: 1) no UFO reported, investigated and evaluated by the Air Force has ever given any indication of threat to our national security…”

Compare this with the contents of the Bolender Memo, which stated “…reports of unidentified flying objects which could affect national security are made in accordance with JANAP 146…”. As I have highlighted, JANAP 146 laid out CIRVIS and MERINT procedures, which, needless to say, specifically ask for the reporting of “unidentified flying objects”. Moreover, actual copies of CIRVIS and MERINT reports held in America are still classified, despite the fact that some are thirty or forty years old. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), while powerful, has not yielded anything. The Canadian government has done better, releasing interesting CIRVIS reports as they see fit. Apparently though, Canadian MERINT reports are not available. Below is a copy of the reply letter to Senator Patty Murray:

Letter to Senator Patty Murray 8-25-1993

As for Vietnam, whatever the situation – UFO’s, helicopters, unknown aircraft, whatever phrase or term used, there is an awful lot of questions that need to be answered, and an gigantic quantity of military records which need to be seen. We are making progress on the latter.

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‘UFO Problem’ During The Vietnam War

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Operational Report of HQ - Period Ending April, 10, 1969 (5-15-1969)
On Page 18, it is briefly stated that: “During Feb, there were 173 Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO) Sightings” in the Operational Report – Lessons Learned, Headquarters, I Field Force Vietnam, Period Ending 30 April 1969. The report chronologically lays out the activities of the Army’s sizeable I Field Force in Vietnam’s Central Highlands during the months of February, March and April, 1969.

     Recently, I completed the first two parts of an ongoing series regarding the United States Air Force’s (USAF) accidental missile strike on the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Hobart guided missile destroyer off the coast of Vietnam. The incident occurred on the 17th of June, 1968. Part 1 and Part 2 of that series discussed my discovery of numerous US military records which state that both “enemy helicopters” and “UFOs” were intensely active at the time of the incident. However, during my research phase into this matter, I also found a great number of other Vietnam War-era records, quite aside in time and place than those detailing the with HMAS Hobart. This work
Paul Dean
By Paul Dean
The UFO Chronicles
7-29-16

adds to the discoveries made by Boston based researcher Barry Greenwood. While I was trawling America’s huge Defence Technical Information Center (DTIC), he was dealing with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The actual items we have found include “Histories” and “Chronologies”, “Mission Reports”, “Patrol Logs”, “Daily Staff Journals”, and so-called “Lessons Learned” publications. Also, these records come from all four branches of the US Armed Forces, which is fairly unusual.

The question, which I have grappled with previously, is a one of terminology. Is the term “UFO” a “catchall” for anything unknown and flying? One would ask, why wouldn’t military personal simply use terminology like “unknown helicopter” or “unidentified aircraft” or “suspected flak”? The fact of the matter is, they often did. Interestingly though, these more routine terms occurred alongside with, and distinct from, the term “UFO”. But, without more information, we just don’t quite know what fits into the “UFO” basket and what doesn’t. It has been argued that “UFOs” reported during the Vietnam War must have all been North Vietnamese helicopters. With this in mind, it is worth highlighting a United States Army “Daily Journal” entry which was found in the records of the 23rd Infantry Division’s Chu Lai Defense Command. Dated January the 6th, 1969, it says:

“Twr 72 rpts object flying into their area about 700m infront of them, AZ 310°. Object came in slow over the ASP & landed. When object moves it has a glowing light. It is about 15 – 20 ft across. It is shaped like a big egg. Control twr rpts their radar did not pick anything up. Object also does not seem to have any sound to it when it moves.”

This record was actually found, not by us, but by Joe Gillette, a NARA archivist in Washington DC. It was submitted to their official blog, The Text Message – The Blog of the Textual Archives Services Division at the National Archives.. This is reasonable example of something very peculiar being witnessed and reported by military servicemen, in the vicinity of a military installation. Whatever it was, the notion of a deafening, lumbering North Vietnamese helicopter being responsible is puerile. Without more information, however, we can only treat it as another odd anecdote of wartime history.

During the Vietnam War, the United States Army produced so-called “Lessons Learned” publications. Categorized as a form of “Operational Report”, these special documents were written for the purposes of chronologically recording major operational, in-the-field activities of all the major Army entities – from Field Force echelon down to Battalion level. Now declassified, it turns out that a not-insignificant number of these publications contain interesting references to UFO activity.

One such “Lessons Learned” publication is titled Operational Report – Lessons Learned, Headquarters, I Field Force Vietnam, Period Ending 30 April 1969. The report chronologically lays out the activities of the Army’s sizeable I Field Force in Vietnam’s Central Highlands during the months of February, March and April, 1969. Originally classified CONFIDENTIAL, it was distributed by the Department of the Army, Office of the Adjutant General, on the 4th of August, 1969, after being signed off by Maj. Gen. Kenneth G. Wickham. On Page 18, it is briefly stated that:

“During Feb, there were 173 Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO) Sightings.” (See above top)

Not to be outdone, Page 25 of the report lists an even higher figure of “UFO sightings” for March, 1969. It reads:

“During Mar, there were 190 UFO Sightings.” (See below)

On Page 27, there is another entry regarding UFOs, and it applies to the month of April, 1969. It is important here to note that there appears to be a mistake in the author’s text. Instead of correctly listing April as the time period being discussed, they have written March. As I said above, March had already been covered with its apparent 190 sightings. To quote exactly, it states:

“During Mar, there were 46 UFO Sightings.”

Of course, “Mar” means April, thus, the sentence should read, “During Apr, there were 46 UFO Sightings.”. Far more interesting, though, is the passage of text immediately following the above sentence. It states:

“During the entire reporting period, concerted efforts were made to identify UFOs. Further discussion of these efforts is precluded by the classification of this report.”

This is something we seldom see. What “concerted efforts” were made “to identify UFOs”? And with what results? Clearly, whatever efforts were undertaken, the details must have been too sensitive to be laid out, even scantly, in a CONFIDENTIAL Army publication. This would imply that the matter was, at minimum, classified SECRET, which is one level of security classification above CONFIDENTIAL. There is, of course, a chance that the matter was classified TOP SECRET, but, without more to go on, we simply do not know. Imaged below is the page in question.

Operational Report of HQ - Period Ending April, 10, 1969 (Pg 27) (5-15-1969)
– click and or right click on image(s) to enlarge –

There is no more discussion of UFOs in Operational Report – Lessons Learned, Headquarters, I Field Force Vietnam, Period Ending 30 April 1969. In total, during the three months in question, there was a total of 409 UFO sightings made from within the US military. This, by anyone’s measure, is an extremely high number, and, the situation was evidently taken seriously. The fact that these UFO sightings continued to go unresolved must have been troublesome, from a security point of view if nothing else, for the military’s field commanders and other top brass staff. Only a few months later, on the 17th of December, 1969, the Secretary of the USAF, Dr. Robert C. Seamans, Jr, famously announced that, “No UFO reported, investigated and evaluated by the Air Force was ever an indication of threat to our national security.”. This is understandable, as he was paraphrasing the hogwash he was being fed by Project Blue Book staffers, as well as various other USAF entities. Needless to say, a thorough inspection of the USAF’s Project Blue Book records – both administrative papers and case files – turns up nothing on the 409 UFO sightings listed by the Army’s I Field Force in Vietnam. For those unfamiliar with Project Blue Book, it was the USAF’s flawed twenty-year effort to collection and analyse UFO sightings the world over.

Another US Army “Lessons Learned” publication has mention of UFO’s, and, it is in fact the edition that chronologically leads up to one I detailed above. Titled Operational Report – Lessons Learned, Headquarters, I Field Force Vietnam, Period Ending 31 January 1969, the entire document dryly discusses the operational activities of the I Field Force in the Central Highlands of Vietnam for the months of November and December, 1968, and January 1969. It was distributed by the Department of the Army, Office of the Adjutant General, on the 14th of April, 1969, after being signed off for distribution by Maj. Gen. Kenneth G. Wickham. As is standard, it was originally classified CONFIDENTIAL. On Page 17, various field activities for the month of January are laid out, and the UFO issue is taken rather seriously:

“Current action on UFOs was initiated in Nov 68 when the 4th Inf Div requested a Restricted Flying Area/Defense Identification Zone in order to aid in the identification of unidentified flying objects. In early Jan 69, a message was received from COMUSMACV directing that HAWK acquisition radars would be furnished by the 6th Bn 56th Arty, to aid in UFO detection and identification. On or about 25 Jan the following radars were received accompanied by operating personnel: (1) Pulse Acquisition Radar; (2) Continual Wave Acquisition Radar; and (3) Illumination Radar. These were placed in operation the night of 31 Jan with the radar CP located at LZ Oasis. The Air Force provided a liaison officer at the CP. Presently, the Air Force and the 4th Inf Div are gathering data for analysis; the Air Force will not grant engagement clearance while objects are in the air as positive identification as hostile has yet to be determined.”

This unequivocally says that the US Army’s 4th Infantry Division was concerned enough about “unidentified flying objects” to request implementation of strict air identification processes. Furthermore, the Commander, US Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (COMUSMACV) ordered that three types of primary radar systems would be furnished to the 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery Brigade to “…aid in UFO detection and identification”. The USAF provided a liaison officer at the central LZ Oasis Command Post (CP), and the “…gathering data for analysis” was underway by the end of January. Finally, and maybe most importantly, the “objects” were not being readily identified. While there is every possibility that these “UFOs” or “objects” were merely North Vietnamese helicopters, there seems to be an awful lot of confusion about the matter. Again, why not simply use terminology such as “unknown helicopter” or “unidentified helicopter”? Also, if the objects were indeed enemy helicopters, would there not be intelligence from the worst affected areas stating such? The sound of military helicopters in flight, or, the discovery of functional bases from where to operate them from, must surely have been known to someone in the US Army. I have imaged the page below.

Operational Report of HQ - Period Ending April, 10, 1969 (Pg 17) (5-15-1969)

Some of the most informative records I have located are from the USAF’s “Project CHECO” collection. These detailed reports examined the USAF’s aerial operations in South East Asia. “CHECO” stands for “Contemporary Historical Examination of Current Operations”, and each report has a standard introduction, which states:

“Project CHECO was established in 1962 to document and analyze air operations in Southeast Asia… …Project CHECO and other US Air Force Historical study programs provided the Air Force with timely and lasting corporate insights into operational, conceptual and doctrinal lessons from the war in SEA.”

Previously, in Part 1 of my report into the accidental USAF missile strike on Australia’s HMAS Hobart warship, I discussed a Project CHECO publication titled Project CHECO South East Asia Report: Air War In The DMZ September 1967 – June 1968. It was produced by the 7th Air Force’s (7AF) Directorate of Tactical Evaluation, Headquarters, Pacific Air Forces (HQ PACAF), and was published on the 1st of August, 1969. It was signed off by Col. Warren H. Peterson, and was originally classified SECRET/AIR FORCE EYES ONLY. On Page 45 there is mention of a “joint service conference on the UFO problem”, which I discussed at length. Furthermore, on Page 47 and 48 there is detailed discussion on the attempted photographing, radar tracking and aerial engagement of “UFO targets”, which I also highlighted. I believe though, that some aspects of this need further discussion. On Page 47, it is stated:

“Another facet of target identification involved confirming the many visual, radar, and infrared sightings. No ‘hard evidence’ such as photographs or wreckage was obtained. On three successive August nights, RF–4s flew a total of 12 sorties against 34 radar–plotted UFO targets. The photos showed no helicopters despite several runs which, according to the radar, passed directly over the targets. On 28 August, an RF–4C using photo flash cartridges ran controlled tests to photograph a friendly helicopter at night. Of 38 exposed frames made on four passes, only two frames showed the helicopter. The summary of results to the 7AF Command Section said…”

The author then quotes directly from a classified USAF record:

“This test confirms previous opinion by DOCR that chances of photographing one of the UFOs in the DMZ is extremely remote… …Even the two successful exposures required last minute flight correction by a DOCR representative riding in the lead helicopter.”

The page continues with:

“Two special projects were established to observe the UFOs from Con Thien, the highest hill in the eastern DMZ area. The primary mission of project HAVE FEAR did not concern the helicopter reports, but this Air Force Weapons Laboratory project had laser range finders and night observation devices (NOD) that offered some chance of identifying the sightings. HAVE FEAR personnel saw red lights and got video blips. The UFOs usually traveled at speeds from 30 to 80 mph at altitudes from 1,200 to 1,600 feet. After several days of tracking, the red blinking lights would extinguish when under HAVE FEAR surveillance. The project ran from 4–12 August 1968 and resumed from 18–31 August.”

This topic carries over into Page 48, which states:

“In mid-August, HAVE FEAR was joined by Project LETHAL CHASER, which used manpack radar. From 18 August through 3 September 1968, the several observation systems conducted a joint, integrated search that also employed Waterboy radar. The criteria for a valid track included the UFO being within 11 miles of Con Thien, being unidentified by Jazzy Control, having a track of at least two minutes duration, and traveling at less than 180 mph. This joint effort got 67 valid tracks, but no conclusive identifications.

By late August, the helicopter situation dwindled away into occasional sightings and little new technical data. Several times the peculiarities of the tracks and the lack of confirmation where expected (such as from troops in the plotted area) defied adequate explanation. The 7AF Commander decided the results could not justify continuing the projects and MACV concurred.”

As we can see, there are a number of endnotes in the above text. Endnotes 132 and 135 are listed as a document titled Msg, 7AF to COMUSMACV, “Summary Report of UFOs in DMZ,” 19 Sep 68.. Endnote 133, is listed as Memo, Col Michael J. Quirk, DOC, 7AF, “Test–Night Photo of Helicopters,” undated (About 30 Aug 68). Endnote 134 is listed as Msg, Det 1, 620th TCS to 7AF, “HAVE FEAR,” 25 Aug 68; (S/NF) Memo, “Intelligence Annex (Enemy Helicopters),” undated (Late Aug 68). This leaves no doubt that the information conveyed in these pages was gleaned directly from raw, established USAF authority.

It should be stated that one particular statement in the above passages of text does argue in favour of “UFOs” being nothing more than “helicopters”. That statement is “By late August, the helicopter situation dwindled away into occasional sightings and little new technical data…”. This is stated after the term “UFO” had been used repeatedly, so one has to take into strong consideration that the terminology used could be all-encompassing. Whatever the situation, we don’t often see records that describe such intense efforts to engage unknown, unidentifiable aerial targets, which are repeatedly labelled as “UFOs”. Firstly, steadfast attempts to detect and track very elusive arieal targets, using the resources of the USAF’s WATERBOY Control and Reporting Post at Dong Ha, were, apparently, unsuccessful. Secondly, two special projects, HAVE FEAR and LETHAL CHASER, used laser range finders, night observation devices and mobile radar systems. Yet, they got “no conclusive identifications”. Usually, we only have anecdotal and subjective reports to rely on. But here, we see instrumented efforts to assess unusual aerial activity. Seemingly, these airborne mysteries were never solved. The above mentioned pages are imaged below.

Project CHECO South East Asia Report - Air War In The DMZ September 1967 – June 1968 (pg 47) (8-1-1969) Project CHECO South East Asia Report - Air War In The DMZ September 1967 – June 1968 (pg 48) (8-1-1969)

Another Project CHECO publication I discovered is titled Project CHECO Report, Direct Air Support Centers in I CORPS, July 1965 – June 1969. It was produced by the 7th Air Force’s (7AF) Directorate of Tactical Evaluation, Headquarters, Pacific Air Forces (HQ PACAF), and was published on the 31st of August, 1969. Originally classified SECRET/AIR FORCE EYES ONLY, the report was declassified on the 13th of June, 1989. On Page 58, it is stated:

“An additional function mentioned in this report was that of monitoring UFO reports. Information was relayed from forward observation posts through counter-battery intelligence channels to the FSCC, where the liaison team gathered all necessary information into the proper format and passed it on to the appropriate air defense agencies.”

As detailed in the glossary of this Project CHECO report, the term “FSCC” stands for “Fire Support Coordination Center”. Also, the above sentence finishes with the endnote “8”, which is listed as Rprt, 20th TASS, Maj W. F. McMillen, “End of Tour Rprt,” 3 Dec 68 (Microfilm S-188), Doc. 31. During the late 1960’s, I CORPS was an allied field force organised within the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). The ARVN was the Army component of the South Vietnamese military, and functioned alongside the United States Army, as well as the USAF and US Marine Corps (USMC). The USAF’s 7AF provided air support to I CORPS through its “Direct Air Support Center” (DASC) at Da Nang Airfield. Judging by the passage of text I’ve highlighted above, an “End of Tour” report by one Major McMillen contained information about the monitoring of UFO reports.

A further study of this bulk Project CHECO report reveals, on Page 57, that Major McMillen was the 7AF’s Liaison Team Chief at Headquarters, I CORPS. Evidently, the 7AF were processing UFO case data. The statement “…gathered all necessary information into the proper format” before passing it on “…to the appropriate air defense agencies” can mean nothing else. There was certainly a clear paper trail going on here. Myriad questions come to mind. Just how classified was the 7AF’s collection and dissemination of UFO case data to the “appropriate air defense agencies”? Was there any agreement on what these reports were actually caused by? North Vietnamese helicopters? US reconnaissance on sensitive, unacknowledged missions? Or something else more unsolvable? The page in question is imaged below.

Project CHECO South East Asia Report - Air War In The DMZ September 1967 – June 1968 (pg 58) (8-1-1969)

“UFOs”, “helicopters”, or otherwise, the records discovered and detailed here, prove, beyond any shadow of any doubt, that there are still very significant quantities of information completely unseen by researchers. In Part 2 of this series, I will highlight an even wider array of US military documents that were created during the Vietnam War, as well as try to offer some conclusions.

Finally, below, I have imaged the front pages, or, descriptive covering letters, that verify the information I have detailed. Specifically, they are, Operational Report – Lessons Learned, Headquarters, I Field Force Vietnam, Period Ending 30 April 1969, Operational Report – Lessons Learned, Headquarters, I Field Force Vietnam, Period Ending 31 January 1969, Project CHECO South East Asia Report: Air War In The DMZ September 1967 – June 1968” and Project CHECO Report, Direct Air Support Centers in I CORPS, July 1965 – June 1969.

Operational Report – Lessons Learned, Headquarters, I Field Force Vietnam, Period Ending 30 April 1969 (8-4-1969) Operational Report - Lessons Learned, Headquarters, I Field Force Vietnam, Period Ending 31 January 1969 (4-14-1969)
Project Checo Report - Air War in The DMZ 1967-1968 (8-1-1969) Project Checo Report - Air War in The DMZ 1967-1968 (8-31-1969)

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USAF Records Confirm ‘UFO Activity’ -Pt 2-

Air Force Records Re UFOs and HMAS Hobart (4)
-click and or right click on image(s) to enlarge-

     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.
Paul Dean
By Paul Dean
ufos-documenting-the-evidence.blogspot.com
8-11-16

However, in light of a series of recent discoveries, by both myself and Boston based researcher Barry Greenwood, this may not be the case. I have already gone to considerable length highlighting some never–before–seen information in one particular USAF record, which is titled Project CHECO South East Asia Report: Air War In The DMZ September 1967 – June 1968. Again, Part 1 of this series is worth looking at for those who haven’t.

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 River

Note 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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USAF Records Confirm ‘UFO Activity’ During Aerial Assault on The HMAS Hobart

Pt 1
Air Force Records Re UFOs and HMAS Hobart (1)
Air Force Records Re UFOs and HMAS Hobart (2)
– click and or or right click on image(s) to enlarge –

     On October the 16th, 1973, the United States Air Force’s (USAF) Chief of Staff, General George S. Brown, who was later appointed as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivered a press conference in Illinois. When the UFO matter was raised, Gen. Brown curiously stated:

“I don’t know whether this story has ever been told or not. They weren’t called UFOs. They were called enemy helicopters. And they were only seen at night and they were only seen in certain places. They were seen up around the DMZ in the early summer of ’68. And this resulted in quite a little battle. And in the course of this,

Paul Dean
By Paul Dean
ufos-documenting-the-evidence.blogspot.com
8-11-16

an Australian destroyer took a hit and we never found any enemy, we only found ourselves when this had all been sorted out. And this caused some shooting there, and there was no enemy at all involved but we always reacted…”

Candid statements like this were somewhat of a rarity in the 1970’s. The USAF had announced the closure of Project Blue Book in January, 1970, officially closing the doors in the Spring of 1970. But over in Vietnam, UFO reports were consistently being collected and investigated, in various forms, with the primary purpose being to determine whether or not these events were related to enemy activity. Often they were not.

Of all the reported sightings of unusual aerial activity, none have proved more controversial than those of June the 17th, 1968. There has been much written about this event, so further narrative is not needed beyond this brief summary. During the early hours of the morning, a Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) guided missile destroyer, the HMAS Hobart, was patrolling the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) near Tiger Island. A USAF F–4 Phantom Fighter–Bomber fired three missiles on unknown aerial targets, suspected to be North Vietnamese M–14 Hound helicopters. The missiles, however, struck HMAS Hobart, killing Ordinary Seaman R.J. Butterworth and Chief Electrician R.H. Hunt and wounding several others. This was, it seemed, a classic case of “friendly fire”, but rumours started filtering out that the F–4 Phantom hadn’t merely mistaken HMAS Hobart for offensive enemy helicopters, and, that unusual, unidentifiable aerial activity was the intended target. Some of those who were there even use the term “UFOs”.

Finding official USAF or RAN records which discuss this event is not too difficult. Finding the term “UFO” in such records is nigh impossible. Luckily, like so many pieces of history, nothing stays hidden for ever.

Recently, while painstakingly scouring through the online archives of America’s huge Defence Technical Information Center (DTIC) holdings, I honed in on a series of USAF publications which specifically discuss the UFO topic in relation to aerial activities during the Vietnam War. It’s no surprise that few unusual records – whether administrative in nature, or, actual reports – would be hiding in Vietnam War–era military documents. In fact, it would be very odd if there wasn’t – especially when one considers the gigantic quantity of material already begrudgingly released by the US government over the last forty years. Just last year, researcher Barry Greenwood discovered that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) had made available myriad Vietnam War files, including US Army records and thousands of pages of USAF “Combat Air Activities” (CACTA) papers – many of which contained references to UFO’s. The records Greenwood and I are finding are a variety of “Daily Staff Journals”, “Histories”, “Chronologies”, “Mission Reports” and so–called “Lessons Learned” publications. These files have only been declassified recently. We know there is much more which is apparently too sensitive to be released, even after forty years or more.

In the 1960’s the USAF ran “Project CHECO” which produced hundreds of detailed reports examining the USAF’s aerial operations in South East Asia. “CHECO” stands for “Contemporary Historical Examination of Current Operations”. Most of these reports have a standard introduction, which states:

“Project CHECO was established in 1962 to document and analyze air operations in Southeast Asia… …Project CHECO and other US Air Force Historical study programs provided the Air Force with timely and lasting corporate insights into operational, conceptual and doctrinal lessons from the war in SEA.”

The report that mentions the HMAS Hobart is titled Project CHECO South East Asia Report: Air War In The DMZ September 1967 – June 1968. It was produced by the 7th Air Force’s (7AF) Directorate of Tactical Evaluation, Headquarters, Pacific Air Forces (HQ PACAF), and was published on the 1st of August, 1969. Signed off by Col. Warren H. Peterson, the report was originally classified SECRET/AIR FORCE EYES ONLY, the report was only declassified on the 17th of August, 2006. In relation to the HMAS Hobart and UFO’s, on pages forty–five and forty–six it states:

“The several direct hits or near misses on friendly vessels by the Air Force missiles obviously raised the question of what went wrong with target acquisition. The pilots, based on their radar and visual sightings, fired at what they thought were helicopters. The joint service conference on the UFO problem took note of one possibility…”

This passage ends with an endnote, namely, number “128”. The next passage of text is a quote taken directly from raw USAF records, and it states:

“It is important to note that only in the case of the Hobart were the recorded targets in close proximity to ships. It is possible that targets fired on were airborne and that missiles subsequently [were] guided on the stronger radar return from ships in the vicinity.”

(I have imaged, above, top, the two pages that contain this startling text).

It is important to reiterate that the information used by the author of this Project CHECO report was sourced directly from two raw USAF documents. These are listed under endnote 128 at the end of the report. They are titled “20 June Helicopter Conference” and “Memo, Brig Gen George W. McLaughlin, TACC, 7AF to Comdr, 7AF, ‘Air Attacks on Naval Surface Vessels’, 18 Jun 68”. Both are listed with an “(S)” next to them, meaning they were, and probably still are, classified SECRET.

As for the text itself, the first sentence highlights the issue of faulty target acquisition and the accidental hits on HMAS Hobart. The second sentence indicates the pilots of the USAF combat jets had a mix of “radar and visual sightings” and fired on “what they thought were helicopters”. But it is the third sentence where things get interesting. Note that it reads, “The joint service conference on the UFO problem took note of one possibility…”. Clearly stated here is that there was a “conference” on the “UFO problem”, and a “joint services” conference at that. This may mean that all branches of the US armed forces attended, not just components of the USAF. More importantly, the “UFO problem” strongly indicates that there was an ongoing issue with UFO’s in the region; which is what weary UFO researchers have been saying for years.

The next passage of text, quoted from raw administrative records, discusses HMAS Hobart directly. Key here are the sections that read “…only in the case of the Hobart were the recorded targets…” and “It is possible that targets fired on were airborne…”.

Questions need to be raised here. The USAF’s official UFO study, “Project Blue Book”, which closed in 1970, was not being informed of this “UFO problem”. We know this because Project Blue Book files have been publicly available since 1976, and there are comparatively few Vietnam War sourced cases or investigations. As for the “UFOs” themselves, it could be argued that the term “UFO” was a catchphrase for all aerial oddities and unknown aircraft, but ’researchers experience with other caches of military documents often tells us the opposite. “UFOs” are often dealt with as distinct from helicopters, planes, flak, etc. Barry Greenwood’s work last year shows that there the term “UFO” was being used very regularly, including instances where the phrases “UFO landing” and “UFO chase” are used within combat and intelligence assessments.

Other questions must also be asked. Did the “joint service conference” on the “UFO problem” include Royal Australian Navy (RAN) officers? After all, it was an Australian ship that was struck. If so, where are those records? Were any technical studies completed by the USAF’s 7AF science and technology directorates? What about the source documents used in compiling this Project CHECO report, which, I state again, are listed on Page as “20 June Helicopter Conference” and “Memo, Brig Gen George W. McLaughlin, TACC, 7AF to Comdr, 7AF, ‘Air Attacks on Naval Surface Vessels’, 18 Jun 68”? One can only imagine how many records like this must be languishing – still classified – in permanent archives across the continental United States.

There are other overt references to UFO’s amongst the pages of Project CHECO South East Asia Report: Air War In The DMZ September 1967 – June 1968. On Page 47, it is stated:

“Another facet of target identification involved confirming the many visual, radar, and infrared sightings. No ‘hard evidence’ such as photographs or wreckage was obtained. On three successive August nights, RF–4s flew a total of 12 sorties against 34 radar–plotted UFO targets. The photos showed no helicopters despite several runs which, according to the radar, passed directly over the targets. On 28 August, an RF–4C using photo flash cartridges ran controlled tests to photograph a friendly helicopter at night. Of 38 exposed frames made on four passes, only two frames showed the helicopter. The summary of results to the 7AF Command Section said…”

The author then quotes directly from classified USAF records, which reads:

“This test confirms previous opinion by DOCR that chances of photographing one of the UFOs in the DMZ is extremely remote… …Even the two successful exposures required last minute flight correction by a DOCR representative riding in the lead helicopter.”

The page continues with:

“Two special projects were established to observe the UFOs from Con Thien, the highest hill in the eastern DMZ area. The primary mission of project HAVE FEAR did not concern the helicopter reports, but this Air Force Weapons Laboratory project had laser range finders and night observation devices (NOD) that offered some chance of identifying the sightings. HAVE FEAR personnel saw red lights and got video blips. The UFOs usually traveled at speeds from 30 to 80 mph at altitudes from 1,200 to 1,600 feet. After several days of tracking, the red blinking lights would extinguish when under HAVE FEAR surveillance. The project ran from 4–12 August 1968 and resumed from 18–31 August.”

Within the above text there are three endnote listed. Endnote 132 is listed as a document titled Msg, 7AF to COMUSMACV, ‘Summary Report of UFOs in DMZ, 19 Sep 68.”. Endnote 133, is listed as “Memo, Col Michael J. Quirk, DOC, 7AF, ‘Test–Night Photo of Helicopters,’ undated (About 30 Aug 68).”. The final endnote, 134, references a document titled “Msg, Det 1, 620th TCS to 7AF, ‘HAVE FEAR,’ 25 Aug 68; (S/NF) Memo, ‘Intelligence Annex (Enemy Helicopters),’ undated (Late Aug 68).”. This leaves no doubt that the content of the page was gleaned directly from raw, established USAF authority. The page in question is imaged below.

Air Force Records Re UFOs and HMAS Hobart (3)
– click and or right click on image(s) to enlarge –

So what can we take from this? The fact that USAF attempted to make sense of these elusive “visual, radar, and infrared sightings”, by organising the photographing of them, is something that we scarcely see in the established official record. The statement “…On three successive August nights, RF–4s flew a total of 12 sorties against 34 radar–plotted UFO targets” demonstrates clearly the urgency of the situation. The statement about the “…chances of photographing one of the UFOs in the DMZ is extremely remote…” indicates that a fair degree of discussion must have taken place over the matter. If that is not enough, note the passage of text which states “…two special projects were established to observe the UFOs…”. There is no question that something odd was going on. To use the frowned–upon term “UFO” so readily implies that US forces had few clues as to what they were visually witnessing and plotting on radar systems. Also, as I mentioned at the beginning of this entry, the term “UFO” is utilised as distinct from terms like “hostile aircraft”, “flak”, “rocket barrage”, “formation of planes” and so forth.

Most compelling is the fact that the author of this Project CHECO report was able to reference a classified document which, again I want to highlight, titled Msg, 7AF to COMUSMACV, “Summary Report of UFOs in DMZ,” 19 Sep 68. Quite simply, this means that there was a 7th Air Force “Report Of UFOs in the DMZ”. There is most definitely no mention of this is the Project Blue Book files, which were supposed to be the last word on UFO’s by the USAF. It would be amazing if this was the only record of its type. Where are these raw records, and, more importantly, in what volume are they? As I have raised before, there was also a “joint service conference on the UFO problem” at nearly the same time.

These situations – where sensitive UFO–related records are found far outside Project Blue Book – keep coming up all the time. Anyone who clings to the notion that there is nothing more to be found, no more mysteries, no more classified files, is living in the early 1970’s. There always seems to be some recorded fact, some official opinion, or some unseen report that departs massively from the USAF’s public relations stance that UFO’s have never been an issue for national security or something worth seriously considering in future policy or plans.

In Part 2 of this series, I will present another bevy of US military documents, as well as some Australian records, that relate to the UFO matter in Vietnam, including, specifically, the strike on HMAS Hobart. Finally, I have imaged below the front page of Project CHECO South East Asia Report: Air War In The DMZ September 1967 – June 1968 to further establish the provenance of this hitherto classified paperwork.

Project Checo Report - Air War in The DMZ 1967-1968
– click and or right click on image(s) to enlarge –

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Never-Before-Seen Australian Government UFO Policy -Pt2-

Unusual Aerial Sightings Policy (Cover Page)

     In 1994, the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) policy of accepting and investigating UFO sightings, or “Unusual Aerial Sightings” (UAS) as they called them, was downgraded to virtually no policy at all. But, like all things in modern government, there had to be a paper trail. In September, 2015 I submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Department of Defence (DOD) for any material that “went into” this policy downgrade, and I was recently provided with never-before-seen administrative records from that era. I have discussed some of these records in Part 1 of this series, which can be found here.
Paul Dean
By Paul Dean
The UFO Chronicles
1-29-16

In this Part 2 of the series, I aim to continue providing imagery and discussion regarding this important release of information. In Part 1, the main item I studied was Wing Commander (later Group Captain) Brett Biddington’s (ret) lengthy draft of background information and suggestions which would soon morph into the 1994 downgrade of their UAS policy. One surprise was the level of security classification on much of this material. I also emphasized that some of it remains classified, and has been redacted (blacked out) so it could be released to me.

So what of RAAF Biddington’s final draft for the Chief of Air Staff? At 7 pages long, it differs somewhat from the first draft that Biddington wrote. Firstly, it has a cover page as one may expect, and is somewhat more formal, as we shall see. Firstly, the front cover page has “COVERING SECRET” stamped squarely in place. The title states “BREIF FOR CAS” – “CAS” is the acronym for Chief of Air Staff. Below this is “UNUSUAL AERIAL SIGHTINGS POLICY”. And in the bottom left, is the all-important “Brief prepared by WGCDR B. Biddington.” I have imaged this above.

The next page is has SECRET stamped at the top, as well as “Page 1 of 7” directly underneath. Below that is “DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE” and “(AIR FORCE OFFICE)”. A line of text referring to the existing UAS policy states “Ref: AF 84 3508 Pt l (14)” and is followed by a center-of-page heading “BRIEF FOR CAS” and “UNUSUAL AERIAL SIGHTINGS – POLICY” underneath. The first sub-section is headed here, not surprisingly titled “BACKGROUND,” along with the remaining pages below:

Unusual Aerial Sightings Policy (Background)

Unusual Aerial Sightings Policy (pg 2 of 7)
Unusual Aerial Sightings Policy (pg 3 of 7)
Unusual Aerial Sightings Policy (pg 4 of 7)
Unusual Aerial Sightings Policy (pg 5 of 7)
Unusual Aerial Sightings Policy (pg 6 of 7)
Unusual Aerial Sightings Policy (pg 7 of 7)
– click and or right click on image(s) to enlarge

Now that I have presented the final copy of the massive policy change material that the Chief of Air Staff saw and approved, it is worth having a look at the differences between WGCDR Brett Biddington’s draft and the final product. The draft, which can be examined in my Part 1 of this series, is shorter in regards to page numbers. This is because the line spacing and text is more tightly packed. Also, the final product for the Chief of Air Staff came with a front cover. The level of detail that Biddington goes to in the two products is somewhat different, also. Most importantly for us is the text that discusses RAAF interest in Unusual Aerial Sightings, especially around what I believe to be discussion on re-entered space debris and new (at the time) long-range aerospace surveillance.

For example, in relation to an “extra-terrestrial threat” to Australia, the draft version states on Page 2:

I think that an extra-terrestrial threat to Australian security is not likely to develop without some foreknowledge from astronomical and other surveillance systems. X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X The means by which such searches might be conducted are numerous and will vary with particular circumstances.

Compare that to the same topic in the final version, on Page 6:

Should unambiguous extra-terrestrial contact with earth occur (which may or may not be associated with UAS), however remote that possibility might be, levels of organisation well beyond the RAAF will be interested and involved. Should the RAAF be required respond, how we do so will be defined not by extant UAS policy but by instructions from Government. It follows that there is no valid reason for the RAAF to retain a formal interest in UAS.

In the draft version the redacted text is, I believe, most likely discussing long-range radar systems (and possibly other aerospace monitoring technologies) that were being evaluated or in initial stages of operation back in the early 1990’s. In the final version, the “extra-terrestrial threat” isn’t mentioned until Page 6. Also in the final version, there is an extra segment in the “RAAF Interest” sub-section which is worth an extra look and comprises lightly of material in the draft, as well as new discussion:

The enormous improvements in surveillance technologies in the past 20 years make it possible to predict when large items of space junk are likely to fall to earth and where they are likely to fall; this occurred with SKYLAB in 1983. Civil and military aviation communications in Australia are highly developed and initial indications that an aircraft is in difficulty are increasingly likely to come from within the system and not be dependent on external observation of flaming wreckage and falling debris. Witness observations of such events remain important but not from the UAS perspective.

Another difference between the two versions of this policy change material, although small, is the reference to the vanishing of pilot Frederick Valentich and logistical concerns. Paragraph 5, Page 2, of the draft version reads:

At a more mundane level, the UAS mechanism has provided information about missing and crashed aircraft. The disappearance of the pilot Valentich into Bass Straight (flying a Cessna) is a case in point.

Paragraph 8, Page 3, of the final version reads:

At a more mundane level, the UAS mechanism has provided information about missing and crashed aircraft.

I can’t see any meaning to this variance in content. The audience (the Chief of Air Staff), one presumes, expects rapid-fire information with minimum distractions. However, it will be of mild interest to those who have studied the Valentich disappearance. Speaking of the Chief of Air, an additional sentence found in the final version, which may have been tailored especially for him, can be found on Page 2 within the “Community Interest” sub-section:

Neither accusation has caused the RAAF serious embarrassment or concern.

Another difference between draft and final versions, which could be easily missed, is within the mention of probable downed space junk. The draft says:

The most recent example known to me occurred in the late 1970s/early 80s when a RAAF SQDLDR was dispatched at short notice to central Queensland..

The final version says:

The most recent example is thought to have occurred in the late 1970s/early 80s when a RAAF SQDLDR was dispatched at short notice to central Queensland.

See that? The passage of text “…example known to me occurred…” and “example is thought to have occurred” is subtly dissimilar. What meaning this has, keeping in mind the audience who was to review this material, is unknown to me. There are many other variances between WGCDR Brett Biddington’s draft policy review and the final product. Significant work would go into detail every single one. Even then, so little meaning can be attributed to many of them that attempting to do so scarcely seems worth the effort some twenty-two years later. In my next, and final, part of this series, I will discuss some of the other pages in the 42 page PDF that makes up this significant release by our Department of Defence.

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Australian UFO Cases Galore

Was Strange Object in the Sky Near Sydney a 'Flying Saucer' – The Evening Advocate (Australia  5-26-1950)

Paul Dean By Paul Dean
ufos-documenting-the-evidence.blogspot.com
1-10-16

      Recently, a very impressive quantity – a total of 33 in fact – of digitally scanned newspapers have been added to the National Library of Australia’s (NLA) “Trove” archive. Like most other newspapers of old, these new editions are contain articles, editorials and opinion pieces about UFO’s and other unusual aerial phenomenon, Including material that appears to be new to us. Some of these newspapers date back to 1910. For those of you who don’t know, “Trove” is an online library “database aggregator” and “free faceted-search engine”. It successfully brings together content from libraries, newspapers, museums and other research organisations and helps users explore them. For us, Trove’s digitised newspaper section is what is most valuable. The NLA states:

The digitised newspaper zone is the most heavily-used part of Trove, and no wonder – more than 100 million newspaper articles, documenting more than 150 years of Australian history. And it’s growing all the time. All digitised, all free, all for you.

Searching Trove, and presenting some of the material, even if it is just a small fraction, has become a recent habit of mine. Again, I present some new material using 40 different keywords, or combinations of keywords, that I used tonight to discover some novel hitherto unseen newspaper articles.

The first one that jumped out at me was a 1954 article, Monday the 18th of January, titled “TO BE BELIEVED, PEOPLE MUST DEFINE SAUCER’S NOISE”. The newspaper this appeared in “The Evening Advocate” based in Innisfail, Queensland. […]

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