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Top Ten UFO-Military Encounters

Updated on October 14, 2015

Some people believe in aliens. Some do not. What's virtually indisputable is the existence of UFOs: a sitting president talking about "flying saucers" to the national media, high-ranking military officials being unable to explain interactions with military fighter jets, military admissions of flying disks. Unidentified flying objects exist, whether that means aliens are behind them is another matter, and military interactions with them are well-documented. So, let's look at the top ten military encounters with UFOs.

10) Wurtsmith Air Force Base

This incident received no real news coverage or explanation. What makes it important is where it happened. Wurtsmith Air Force Base, located in Michigan, was a military installation that housed nuclear weapons. Invading airspace over a facility that houses nuclear weapons is a major breach of security. A little after 10 pm, a low-flying craft was observed coming up over the back gate of the base. A KC-135 tanker was returning from a refueling mission and the tower asked the plane to attempt to identify the unknown craft. The tanker followed the object and confirmed it's presence visually and with radar. According to the incident report, the KC-135 followed the craft over Lake Huron where, "the aircraft appeared to be joined by another aircraft (with its lights on also). Tanker reports that both aircraft then turned out their lights simultaneously, as if on signal." After losing sight of the craft and turning away, the craft reemerged and began to follow the tanker. This incident was never explained.

9) Gorman Dogfight

George Gorman was a flight instructor and veteran of WWII. He returned home and settled in as a construction manager and lieutenant in the North Dakota Air National Guard. On October 1, 1948, upon returning from a standard, cross-country flight in his F-51, Gorman decided to log some night flying while the rest of the squadron landed at Hector airport. He finally decided to land and upon receiving clearance from the tower, Gorman was advised of a small passenger plane in the area. The experienced acknowledged the other plane, but saw something else as well. "It was about six to eight inches in diameter, clear white, and completely round," Gorman reported. He gave chase for 27 minutes, climbing and diving, speeding up, moving left and right, to no avail. The light was confirmed by the officers in the control tower and the aforementioned small plane pilot, Dr. A.E. Cannon.

A military document showing the summary, and confirmation, of the UFO in the Gorman dogfight by an independent aviator and doctor.
A military document showing the summary, and confirmation, of the UFO in the Gorman dogfight by an independent aviator and doctor. | Source

8) Battle of Los Angeles

Less than three months after Pearl Harbor, the West Coast of the United States was understandably wary of enemy attacks on it's shores. In the early morning hours of February 25, 1942, those fears seemed to be realized. A flying object appeared over Los Angeles and the U.S. military opened fire. They fired approximately 1500 anti-aircraft shells at the object for at least 1 hour. They were unable to bring the object down and six people died in the fallout. Was this an ace Japanese fighter pilot on a reconnaissance mission in a "round, domed shaped object" as reported by eyewitnesses? The military's official position is that it was a weather balloon. This holds little water as it would seem nearly impossible to fire that much artillery, over the course of an hour, at a weather balloon and still not bring it to the ground. Unless you believe that Battle of Los Angeles occurred over a weather balloon, then this was definitely an unidentified flying object.

Spotlight shine on an object in the L.A. skies.
Spotlight shine on an object in the L.A. skies. | Source

7) Mantell UFO Incident

This incident captured the nation's attention because Captain Thomas Mantell was the first person to die in pursuit of a UFO. The Kentucky State Police responded to a call in afternoon of January 7, 1948 about an unidentified craft hovering near Maysville, Kentucky. Godman Army Air Field also produced multiple witnesses, including base commander Guy Hicks. The staring went on for more than hour until, by coincidence, a four plane flight of F-51s from Marietta to Louisville flew over Godman. The tower requested the four pilots attempt to identify the object. The 30+ minute pursuit saw three of the four planes return to base. (The regulations at that time prevented pilots from climbing higher than 14,000 feet without oxygen.) Mantell, a decorated WWII pilot with over 2,000 hours of flight time, did not return to base and continued to climb higher, despite no oxygen. His plane eventually crashed to the ground, almost exactly two hours after the first reports of the sighting. Again, the official stance was that experienced Mantell was chasing a weather balloon despite his radio transmission that the object was "metallic and it is tremendous in size."

6) Malmstrom Air Force Base Missile Incident

Malmstrom Air Force Base, located in Montana, was the home to ten nuclear missiles. On the morning of March 16, 1967, they all became inoperable, one after the other. They were all "shutdown with a No-Go indication." There were initial reports of UFO sightings at the base before the shutdown but the investigation determined those were baseless. This is at odds with interviews that Robert Salas has given over the years. Salas was working at Malmstrom that morning as a Deputy Missile Combat Crew Commander. He was underground with the missile controls when a security officer above ground called down to him about UFOs over the base. Salas initially dismissed the report as a joke. A few minutes later, the same officer called back saying the UFO was just outside the front gate. At that point, the missiles devolved in to No-Go status.

Robert Salas talks about the incident at Malmstrom Air Force Base

5) Portuguese Air Force 1957

On September 4, 1957, a team of four F-84 Thunderjets took off for a routine training exercise. The excursion, led by Captain Jose Lemos Ferreira, came upon an "unusual source of light." After a few minutes he began to talk to the other pilots about the light and they could come up with no "reasonable explanation." The light expanded and contracted and maintained a position of 90 degrees to the left of the plane's formation, even after the F-84s made a 50 degree turn. At that point, with the object below them, Ferreira and his men observed other small circles of light coming out of the larger, orignial sphere. The larger sphere seemed to be "ten to fifteen times greater than the yellow circles and was apparently the director of operations." Then, the large object seemed to "dive, followed up by a climb in our direction." After they crossed over the lights, the objects disappeared quickly. The whole ordeal lasted 40 minutes.

4) Rendlesham Forest

Two Air Force bases connected by the Rendlesham Forest, RAF Woodbridge and RAF Bentwaters, contain a large stockpile of NATO's nuclear weapons. The incident in question took place outside of the west gate of RAF Woodbridge on December 26, 1980 at approximately 3:00 am. Three security officers on the base go out and investigate a possible crash in the forest. They report back about a "strange glowing object in the forest - metallic in appearance and triangular in shape (2 meters by 3 meters across the base and 2 meters high)." After the initial check on the crash, "an intense red light moves and pulses through the trees and breaks into five separate white objects and disappears. Three star-like objects are then seen in the sky, moving rapidly in sharp, angular motions and displaying red, green and blue lights." This is often referred to as Britain's Roswell.

Sketch by United States Air Force patrolman John Burroughs
Sketch by United States Air Force patrolman John Burroughs | Source

3) 1976 Tehran UFO Incident

After multiple reports of bright lights in the sky, General Yousefi sent an F-4 jet out to identify the object. The Iranian fighter jet approached the object and at one point attempted to fire a missile and mysteriously lost all use of it's electronic devices. A second, smaller light was sent from the initial object directly at the jet. The pilot took evasive maneuvers and upon turning away from the object, his instruments regained power. A second F-4 jet was sent to engage the object and the same power failures occurred. Adding to the remarkability of this story is the report issued from the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which is a military version of the CIA. In regards to the Iranian sighting and report their reports states, "An outstanding report. This case is a classic which meets all the criteria necessary for a valid study of the UFO phenomenon."

2) Sao Paulo UFO sighting

For about five hours, on the night of May 19, 1986, glowing lights appeared over the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil. For about one hour, the Brazilian Air Force engaged up to 21 UFOs. Six different fighter jets were sent to engage the glowing lights at speeds up to 850 miles per hour. Ground radar, both military and civilian, and the in-plane radar were able to track the objects. The UFOs shifted from white to green and sometimes red. They even once surrounded one of the planes and then began to follow it. As if this weren't spectacular enough, the Brazilian Air Force Minister, Brigadier General Octavio Moreira Lima made the events public at a press conference and allowed the pilots involved to field questions from the media. For his part, the General was very frank in his explanation to the press, "But the answer? We can't give you, since we don't have one."

1) Washington D.C. Incidents

On two consecutive weekends in July 1952, several UFOs appeared over the nation's capital. The first round, occurring on July 19-20, was underreported. Stories of the disks didn't hit the papers until July 22. But almost exactly one week later, the same thing happened again. This time it was an enormous deal. It forced the Truman administration in to action demanding answers from top military officials. Fighter jets had orders to shoot down the objects. General Samford was forced to have a national press conference. He had few answers to the many questions but ultimately settling on the unfulfilling answer of temperature inversion. Dr. John Hagin, who was the chief radio astronomer at the Naval Research Laboratory has this to say about the temperature inversion explanation, "Even with a heavy inversion, condition would have to be very, very unusual to cause effects like that. I'd say it was impossible, with blips pinpointed by three different radar stations and lights seen simultaneously at the same points."

The front page of the Washington Post after the second weekend of UFO incidents.
The front page of the Washington Post after the second weekend of UFO incidents. | Source

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