Foo Fighters, revisit your namesake
||By Billy Cox
Psst Dave Grohl –
Since you’re a “UFO fanatic” – obviously nobody in the biz knew what foo fighters were until you came along – just wanted to tip you off to some new cool stuff online about your band’s namesake. OK, check that, it’s not new, right, we’re talking Second World War. But it’s the latest accessible material from Keith Chester, posted in December at “U.F.O Historical Revue.”
You did read Chester’s book, right? Back in ’07? Strange Company: Military Encounters with UFOs in World War II?
Um, maybe not, you’re pretty busy. Anyway, this guy, Keith Chester, he pays about a hundred visits to the National Archives and Records Administration over the years. He collects, like, two shelf-feet of pertinent military records and comes back with a gold mine, man: official memos, debriefing accounts, after-action reports, you name it. I mean, who does this stuff anymore?
Now, dude, I know you know how foo-fighter encounters first broke in the U.S. press big-time in late 1944-early 1945, and how the guys on the front lines thought official attempts to blow it off as ball lightning and/or St. Elmo’s fire was a big joke. (Hell, a 415th Night Fighter Squadron veteran right here in Sarasota chuckled in contempt a few years back when he recounted the contortions …) But were you aware that what the Allies began referring to as “phenomena” started turning heads from the very beginning of the war? And that before they were dubbed foo fighters late in the game, there were reports of “stove pipes,” “cylinders,” “orange crates,” “pie-plate discs,” “flying doughnuts,” “fire extinguishers,” “ball and chains,” “egg shapes,” “soap bubbles,” “resembling Zeppelins” and “balloons,” even when they moved against the wind? Thank god foo fighters was the name that stuck, ay? I’m guessing you wouldn’t have gone from Nirvana to The Flying Doughnuts.
Anyhow, the documents Chester recovered are loaded with so many incidents of bombers and fighters trying unsuccessfully to shake their spooky and infuriating maneuverability, you start losing track after awhile. If I were going to Hollywood this thing, I’d cast Richard Pryor – yeah, I know it’s not accurate or feasible – as an excitable ball turret gunner finding the range – “Whoa mother*#!%errrrr! My turn now, MY turn!” – and raking the sky with twin .50s. Then I’d zoom in on the bug-eyed disbelief. Because shooting these things was useless.
While crossing Holland on 6/25/42, RAF bomber pilot Lt. Roman Sabinski tells his tail-gunner to “Give it a blast” when a full moon-sized copper-colored object jumps from just off the left wing to the right at instantaneous speed; tracer rounds indicate direct hits, to no effect. Shortly after D-Day, British Lancaster bomber pilot George Barton reports being followed home following a raid over Germany by a cluster of “spheres”; neither evasive tactics nor gunfire deter the ultimately harmless pursuers (if that’s indeed what they were).
In August 1944, after striking oil refineries in Sumatra, numerous crews with the 468th Bombardment Group are rattled by what they regard as “a bizarre and confusing type of new weapon.” One bomber reports being “under continuous attack for 1 hour and 10 minutes” by a swarm of baseball-sized reddish-orange spheres that tend explode into four to five smaller balls without inflicting any damage. No ground or ocean flashes are detected, and “on one occasion,” states a report, “the course was altered sufficiently to allow tail guns to bear in the direction of the bursts, but 20-mm and 50-cal. fire from the B-29 had no visible effect.”
Anyway, man, I’m guessing if any foo fighters had killed any our guys, you might’ve chosen a different name for your band. But De Void likes the title of this report: “Additional Information On The Observation Of Silvery Colored Discs On Mission to Stuttgart, 6 Sept. 1943,” prepared by the 384th Bombardment Group for the 1st Bombardment Wing. During an air battle with German planes, two B-17 crews watched as a third was descended upon by a “cluster” of silver colored objects that may have been as long as 75 feet, and 20 feet wide. Nobody saw attack planes dropping ordnance. They noted only that some of it collided with a B-17 and “the wing immediately started to burn,” which resulted in the loss of the bomber.”
Nazi tech or something else, this stuff couldn’t be ignored, and by January ’45, a secret report, subject matter “Night Phenomenon,” reached XII Tactical Air Command from one of the Air Force intelligence officers: “We have encountered a phenomenon which we cannot explain; crews have been followed by lights that blink on and off changing colors etc. The lights come very close and fly in formation with our planes. They are agitating and keep the crews on edge when they encounter them, mainly because they cannot explain them.”
On and on it goes. Bottom line, the latest installment of the history nobody knows is available online now at http://greenwoodufoarchive.com/uhr/uhr17.pdf It describes another couple of futile shooting incidents, but De Void likes the part where U.S. pilots tried to turn the tables and gave chase to the Foo Fighters, which then tried to lure the warplanes into “a concentrated flak area.” Those who suggested the airmen were being duped by St. Elmo’s fire invited this pilot response: “Well, let the sons of bitches come over and fly a mission with us.”
Want more links?
Getting a little long-winded here, Dave. Sorry. Only reason I bring it up is that with Hillary Clinton and campaign manager John Podesta stating they want to “get to the bottom” of this UFO thing, the Foo Fighters should consider contributing an anthem to nudge it along. It doesn’t really matter who you’re voting for. It’s about reminding them to keep their eyes on the ball. ‘Til then, see you at the Devil’s Tower.
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