Monday, 7 November 2016

"OPREP-3" - A Classified US Military Reporting 

Channel For UFO Incidents?

Part 7

  

In Part 5 and Part 6 of this series, I discussed the US military and intelligence community’s responses and concerns regarding a series of provocative UFO events which occurred in the mid–1970’s over United States Air Force (USAF) bases which were assigned to the Strategic Air Command (SAC). Previously, in Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3, I looked the US military’s OPREP–3 reporting system which was one of the methods used to alert top–level military commands and components of these, to put it mildly, unusual events. In Part 4, I highlighted a special category of OPREP–3 reporting which was explicitly designed for the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) and Aerospace Defence Command (ADCOM), to report general unknown radar tracks, and, “Unidentified Flying Objects – UFOs”. In summary, what started out as a dialogue about UFO’s being reported by the OPREP–3 reporting system, has expanded into a much wider appraisal of myriad declassified documents which deal with UFO case investigation, evaluation and high level concern long after the US government apparently gave up on the UFO issue.

In this Part 7, I will continue to focus on declassified records released by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and the National Military Command Center (NMCC). The release of these records came about due to the once–powerful Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), or, rather, its implementation by researchers Barry Greenwood, Robert Todd, Lawrence Fawcett, Todd Zechel and others.

As mentioned in my Part 6, on the 24th of December, 1979, Robert Todd submitted an FOI request to the Office of the Organisation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (OJCS) asking to be provided with any records which contained references to “unidentified flying objects”, “unknown objects” and “UFOs”. Todd restricted his request to only include records created from 1975 to 1979. On the 18th of January, 1980, Charles W. Hinkle, the Director, Freedom of Information and Security Review, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defence, replied to Todd, stating:

“The Office of the Organisation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (OJCS) is prepared to provide the 123 NMCC memorandums for the record…”

As I have discussed, Todd indeed saw that the OJCS release these records, and, many were subject–lined with phrases such as “UFO incident”, “UFO analysis”, “UFO sightings” and “Requests for temperature inversion analysis”. Also, involvement by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), and other senior–ranking officers, is apparent throughout the documents. The actual UFO incidents, or what were believed to be UFO incidents, which led to the production of these NMCC records, had occurred near Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, Wurthsmith AFB, Michigan, Loring AFB, Maine, Minot AFB, North Dakota and Falconbridge Air Force Station in Ontario, Canada. The time period involved was late October to late November, and, other military bases, including Plattsburg AFB in New York, experienced unidentified aerial activity during the same period of time, but release of documents relating to these locations were denied. I have already highlighted some of the NMCC records which relate to the events at Malmstrom AFB during November, 1975. Todd’s FOI requests, however, demanded the release of “UFO” records spanning all the way into 1979.

One of the National Military Command Center (NMCC) releases included a 20th of April, 1979, “Memorandum For The Record” with the dry subject–line “NORAD Unknown Air Activity”. Signed by the NMCC’s Deputy Director for Operations (DDO), Brig. Gen. Dan A. Brooksher, USAF, the memorandum reads:

“Subject: NORAD Unknown Air Activity

At 201602 EST April 1979 NORAD declared track H443 unknown. A single unidentified object was approximately 70 NM south of Homestead AFB, FL heading northwest at 170 knots. One USAF F–4 was scrambled from Homestead to intercept. Prior to intercept, the unknown faded from radar at 201648 EST approximately 90 NM southwest of Homestead. Heavy cloud cover in the area hampered successful intercept. This object will remain a NORAD unknown.”

While there is nothing to indicate this was anything but a stray aircraft, or, an aircraft failing to communicate with ground authorities, it is unusual that this particular event was released as a result of an FOI request specifically stipulating “unidentified flying object” and “UFO” records. NORAD picks up hundreds of uncooperative or unidentified aircraft every year. These are labelled “Unknown Tracks” until identified, and, if not identified, an unknown track will be tagged as a “NORAD Remaining Unknown”. As yet, we don’t have declassified NORAD unknown track data for 1979, so it is impossible to ascertain just how unusual the above detailed incident was. As a comparison however, a Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) historical publication, titled “History of the 11th Tactical Control Group, January – Septamber, 1986, Volume I of IV”, states that NORAD’s Alaskan Air Command (NORAD–AAC), logged twenty–seven “unknowns” during a nine month period alone. So, it is fair to say that NORAD assets, across the whole of the United States, log a very large number of aircraft detections which remain unknown or unidentified.

Why the NMCC’s 20th of April, 1979 memorandum was especially selected as a UFO–related record is somewhat uncertain. Probably, however, the record was included as responsive to Robert Todd’s FOI request simply because it contained the term “unidentified object”. Also, during 1978 and 1979, Todd submitted dozens of FOI requests to the 20th NORAD Region (20NR) for copies daily “Senior Command Directors Logs” which specifically contained the terms “UFO” and “unidentified flying object”. Based at Fort Lee Air Force Station, Virginia, the 20NR was responsible for air defence and aerospace surveillance across the south–eastern United States. Todd’s dogged FOI submissions to 20NR’s Director of Administration, Brig. Gen. F. A. Humphrey’s, did reveal numerous “UFO” cases held in 20NR Senior Command Director’s files, but the above mentioned 20th of April “NORAD Unknown Air Activity” case revealed in the NMCC memorandum is not one of them. Finally, whatever the actual flying “object” was, it unquestionably represents an occasion where combat jets were scrambled to intercept something that falls into the “UFO” category. The NMCC memorandum is imaged below.



Three years beforehand, in 1976, the National Military Command Center (NMCC), received a report from Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico on January the 21st. Signed by the NMCC’s Deputy Director of Operations, Rear Adm. J. B. Morin, is a “Memorandum For The Record” which states:

“Subject: Report of UFO – Cannon AFB NM

Reference: AFOC Phonecon 2105 EST Jan 76

The following information was received from the Air Force Operations Center at 0555 EST:

“Two UFOs are reported near the flight line at Cannon AFB, New Mexico. Security Police observing them reported the UFOs to be 25 yards in diameter, gold or silver in color with blue light on top, hole in the middle and red light on bottom. Air Force is checking with radar. Additionally, checking weather inversion data.”.”

There isn’t enough information here to speculate on what these objects were. Taken at face value though, the security police personnel were obviously alarmed enough to report the sighting, and, the report was taken seriously enough to be logged with the USAF’s Operations Center at the Pentagon, who then forwarded it to the NMCC. In the 1970’s, Cannon AFB hosted the huge 27th Tactical Fighter Wing (27thTFW), which was assigned to the USAF’s Tactical Air Command (TAC). The fact that “two UFOs” were ostensibly active right where the 27thTFW’s five squadrons of F–111 fighter–bombers operate from is clearly of grave concern, and must have generated paperwork. Further FOI requests by Robert Todd, however, met with denials. Also, the NMCC memorandum states that the Air Force was both “checking with radar” and “checking weather inversion data”. In other words, some level of investigation was being performed. The NMCC memorandum in question is imaged below.




Just ten days later, on January 31, 1976, the NMCC handled a UFO report from Eglin AFB, Florida. Yet again, a “Memorandum For The Record” was immediately produced and signed by Fred. Brig. Gen. A. Treyz, USAF, the NMCC’s on–duty Deputy Director of Operations (DDO). It reads:

“Subject: Unidentified Flying Object Sighting

1. At 310805 received phoncon from AFOC: MG Lane, CG, Armament and Development Test Center, Eglin AFB, Florida, called and reported a UFO sighting from 0430 EST to 0600 EST. Security policemen spotted lights from what they called a UFO near an Eglin radar site.

2 Photographs of the lights were taken. The Eglin Office of Information has made a press release on the UFO.

3. The temperature inversion analysis indicated no significant temperature inversion at Eglin AFB at that time. The only inversion present was due to radiation from the surface to 2500 feet. The Eglin surface conditions were clear skies, visibility 10–14 miles, calm winds, shallow ground fog on the runway, and a surface temperature of 44 degrees F.”

While interesting at first glance, this sighting appears to have been stimulated by something far less provocative than a flying object or other unfamiliar phenomenon. An extract from the NORAD Headquarters “Command Director’s Log”, obtained by both Todd Zechel and Barry Greenwood under the FOI Act, contains further information not presented in the NMCC memorandum:

“The Command Post received a UFO report from Eglin, FL, that Duke Field personnel saw a row of lights with a central white light at 1043. The lights were about 2° above the horizon at a zenith of 350°, range unknown. A later report (1245) states that further investigation in daylight indicated that the lights were probably on a building.”

So it appears that the “UFO” may well have been nothing more than lights on a building. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that the NMCC “Memorandum for the Record” is dated several hours after NORAD was notified that “…further investigation in daylight indicated that the lights were probably on a building…”, yet makes no mention of this apparently simple solution. In all likelihood, some sort of miscommunication or bureaucratic lethargy at the NMCC was the cause of this oversight. Another issue worth noting is that the lights–on–a–building explanation isn’t entirely definitive. The NORAD extract states that daytime investigation “indicated” that the lights were “probably” on a building, and, one may ask why a row of lights on a building, unless brand new, had never been noticed before. Without more records, or detailed witness statements, one will never know. The NMCC memorandum also refers to photographs being taken of the lights, but when Robert Todd submitted FOI requests to the Air Force Office of Special Investigation, Detachment 710, which was based at Eglin AFB, as well as the Eglin Command Post, there was a total denial that any photographs even existed. The NMCC “Memorandum For The Record” is imaged below.



In the early hours of the morning, on the 30th of July, 1976, the Command Post (CP) at Fort Ritchie, Maryland reported a series of UFO sightings to the Alternate National Military Command Center (ANMCC) in Pennsylvania. The ANMCC called the NMCC to inform them of the situation. The events were summarised in a two–page NMCC “Memoraundum For The Record”, and signed by USMC Brig. Gen. L. J. Leblanc, the on–duty Deputy Director of Operations. It states:

“Subject: Reports of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs)

1. At approximately 0345 EOT, the ANMCC called to indicate they had received several reports of UFOs in the vicinity of Fort Ritchie. The following events summarize the reports (times are approximate).

a. 0130 – Civilians reported a UFO sighting near Mt. Airy, Md. This information was obtained via a call from the National Aeronautics Board (?) to the Fort Ritchie Military Police.

b. 0255 – Two separate patrols from Site R reported sighting 3 oblong objects with a reddish tint, moving east to west. Personnel were located at separate locations on top of the mountain at Site R.

c. 0300 – Desk Sgt. at Site R went to the top of the Site R mountain and observed a UFO over the ammo storage area at 100–200 yards altitude.

d. 0345 – An Army Police Sgt. on the way to work at Site R reported sighting a UFO in the vicinity of Site R.

2. ANMCC was requested to have each individual write a statement on the sightings. One individual stated the object was about the size of a 2 1/2 ton truck.

3. Based on a JCS memorandum, subject: Temperature Inversion Analysis, dated 13 November 1975, the NMCC contacted the Air Force Global Weather Central. The Duty Officer, LTC OVERBY, reported that the Dulles International Airport observations showed two temperature inversions existed at the time of the alleged sightings. The first extended from the surface to 1,000 feet absolute and the second existed between 27,000 and 30,000 feet, absolute. He also said the atmosphere between 12,000 and 20,000 feet was heavily saturated with moisture. A hard copy message will follow.”

It is very difficult, on this limited information, to assess what the witnesses were seeing. For the purposes of my study here, the sightings themselves are of secondary importance. What is important, yet again, is that “unidentified flying objects” and “UFOs” were being reported and collated by a number of top–echelon commands, and, moreover, there was immediate weather analysis performed by Air Force Global Weather Central (AFGWC) for the NMCC. Furthermore, the ANMCC was asked “…to have to have each individual write a statement on the sightings…”. Requests under the FOI Act for further documentation, however, were met with suspicious denials. The fact that “…one UFO was the size of a 2 1/2 ton truck…” and three “oblong objects with a reddish tint” strongly indicates that a full collection of reports, written and signed by the many witnesses, would be most interesting. No wonder nothing more was released. The fact that one witnesses “observed a UFO over the ammo storage area”, seemingly at close range, is especially provocative, and reminds us of the spooky events at Loring AFB, Wurthsmith AFB and Malmstrom AFB nine months earlier. As for prompt investigation, the memorandum states that two temperature inversions were reported over the area at the time. Such weather activity, however, occurs ceaselessly, and does not produce endless and specific sightings, and certainly not from various defined locations. I have imaged the two–page NMCC “Memorandum For The Record” below.





As I have highlighted, Robert Todd had the Office of the Organisation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (OJCS) release these NMCC records through the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defence. He was not the first, however. Barry Greenwood had already accessed most of them a full two years earlier. Greenwood was originally denied many of the records, especially the NMCC “DDO Talkers” and “DDO Updates” that I presented in Part 6 of this series. With persistence, Greenwood used the FOI Act Appeals process to gain access to most of the previously withheld records. It is possible, of course, that other sensitive record were found, but not admitted to at all. Considering what had been released up until the beginning of 1980, Robert Todd attempted to take matters one final step further. In the two years of furious FOI requesting, researchers had not yet asked the OJCS for UFO records dated before 1975. Also, Todd wondered, for reasons unknown, if the NMCC’s file searching for the period of January 1976 to June 1977 had been adequate. So, on the 13th of February, 1980, Todd submitted an FOI request to the OJCS asking that another series of searches be conducted. Rather than asking for the entire OJCS file archive to be searched, Todd stipulated that only NMCC and CJCS files be examined. His most bold requirement was that a search of all records, no matter what the date, created before February 1976 be examined. This meant, firstly, that 1975 files would be searched again, and, secondly, that files dating to as far back as the NMCC and CJCS actually store files before custody is relinquished to permanent archives.

On the 25th of February, 1980, Charles W. Hinkle, the Director, Freedom of Information and Security Review at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defence, replied to Todd’s request in a two page letter. The letter states, in part:

“a. As stated in the response to 79–DFOI–1071, the OJCS searched NMCC records for the period 1 January 1976 to 30 November 1979, and all documents pertaining to UFOs and aircraft scrambles against unknown air aircraft were identified and released. Repetition of a search of NMCC records dated between January 1076 and June 1977 to identify records on aircraft scrambles is therefore unnecessary.

b. There are 23 linear feet (roughly 80,000 pages) of NMCC records dated prior to February 1976. To identify documents relevant to the request would require a page–by–page review and would consume at least 400 hours. The costs would probably be between $2200.00–$4400.00, depending on the actual time taken and the pay grade of the individuals available to conduct the search.

c. A search of the approximately 542 linear feet of CJCS records (1.8 million pages) for references to UFO’s could take as much as 10,000 hours, and would cost over $50,000.00.”

Understandably, the OJCS did not want to search records already looked at previously. More importantly, it was identified that the NMCC held 80,000 pages of records dating back to an undisclosed time, and the CJCS held 1.8 million pages. In his reply, Charles W. Hinkle didn’t elaborate on just how long either the NMCC or the CJCS retained records for, but chances are, from experience with other government organisations, it would have been many years. If Robert Todd could have afforded the cost of such a lengthy examination of such files, who knows what would have been found. Page 1 of the Charles W. Hinkle’s reply is imaged below.



In summary, I have highlight, both here and in Part 6 of this series, myriad records of Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and National Military Command Center (NMCC) origin, which incontrovertibly demonstrate an on–going and high–level concern over “UFO” and “unidentified flying object” incidents in the vicinity of sensitive military installations. These are terms they used, and they used them explicitly and frequently, to put it mildly. It is amazing many of these records were revealed at all. Through 1977 and 1978, internal OJCS memoranda recurrently reveal that a trio of officials wanted as little documentation released as possible. Thomas B. Ross, the Assistant Secretary of Defence for Public Affairs, as well as USMC Lt. Gen. Philip D. Shutler and USAF Gen. James E. Dalton, who both held the role of Vice Director of the Joint Staff at various times, personally dealt with the mounting FOI requests, and subsequent appeals, slung at the OJCS by Barry Greenwood, Todd Zechel and Robert Todd. The provisions of document declassification and public release, outlined in the FOI Act, were enough to force the OJCS to surrender a very significant quantity of material, as we have seen.

As for the actual UFO’s, there is rarely enough information in these brief records to establish what, if anything, was actually flying around. Certainly, though, those on the bases, and up the chain of command, thought that intrusive, unpredictable craft were actually active over some of America’s most strategically vital military installations. Moreover, not a single released document has even remotely pointed to a solution. If helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, bright stars and the like were somehow responsible for every single UFO report, then those whose job it is to solve the matter and out it to rest, failed profoundly. The resources of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), the Air Force Office of Special Investigation (AFOSI), the 8th Air Force (8thAF), the Air Force Intelligence Service (AFIS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and a not–insignificant number of other alarmed government entities, were obviously no match for whatever was apparently making somewhat of a mockery of the most sophisticated armed forces in human history.

This has been, and will continue to be, the main focus of my research for some time. The often repeated statement that the US government, especially the military, was not handling and investigating serious UFO cases after the closure of Project Blue Book in 1970 is, in the face of the documents I continue to present, is puerile and embarrassing. In Part 8 of this series, I will move on to how the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) and Aerospace Defence Command (ADCOM) handled the weird “over flights” of 1975 and 1976. 

Monday, 24 October 2016

"OPREP-3" - A Classified US Military Reporting 

Channel For UFO Incidents?

Part 6

  

Previously, in Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this series, I highlighted a number of occasions, during the 1970’s, where the US military’s OPREP–3 reporting system has been used to alert top–level military commands and components of provocative UFO activity near military bases. In Part 4, I highlighted a category of OPREP–3 reporting which was specifically designed for the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) and Aerospace Defence Command (ADCOM), to report general unknown radar tracks, and, “Unidentified Flying Objects – UFOs”. In Part 5, I moved on from the actual OPREP–3 reporting of UFOs, and into the fallout that some of these post–Project Blue Book UFO events caused within the US military and intelligence community. In summary, what started out as a brief appraisal of the OPREP–3 reporting system, specifically in relation to apparent UFO incidents, has morphed into a wider study of declassified documents which deal with UFO case investigation, evaluation and high level concern long after the US government relieved itself, publicly, of the UFO headache.

In this Part 6, I will continue my study, this time focusing on records released by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and the National Military Command Center (NMCC) in relation to a series of possible UFO events over Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana. These events, which occurred in November, 1975, followed similar aerial intrusions over Wurthsmith AFB, Michigan, Loring AFB, Maine, and Falconbridge AFS in Ontario, Canada. Minot AFB in North Dakota, and other bases were likewise affected by unidentified activity during the same period. Most of these bases were assigned to the United States Air Force’s (USAF) Strategic Air Command (SAC), and, had nuclear weapons. This unusual chapter in UFO history only came to light after researchers Barry Greenwood, Robert Todd, Lawrence Fawcett and Todd Zechel used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain pertinent records from military agencies and commands.

On the 24th of December, 1979, researcher Robert Todd submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Office of the Organisation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (OJCS) asking to be provided with any records which contained references to “unidentified flying objects”, “unknown objects” and “UFOs”. Todd also asked for possible weather analysis records which related to reported UFO events. It may be important to note that Todd didn’t ask that the entire OJCS and all its components be searched. Rather, he restricted his request to records held only by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), and, the National Military Command Center (NMCC), which was, and still is, part of the JCS Operations Directorate. Also, Todd stated that he was already in possession of some JCS and NMCC records, obtained previously by researcher Barry Greenwood, and that he wanted the same material released, plus a new search conducted for anything missed.

On the 18th of January, 1980, Charles W. Hinkle, the Director, Freedom of Information and Security Review, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defence, replied to Todd, stating:

“The Office of the Organisation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (OJCS) is prepared to provide the 123 NMCC memorandums for the record upon receipt of payment for search and reproduction. Three of the memorandums will be sanitized to delete currently classified information that reveals military tactical capabilities.”

While still extraordinary, the figure of “123 Memorandums for the Record” was somewhat inaccurate. Firstly, Todd did eventually receive 123 documents, but many were near–identical duplicate copies of one another. Secondly, some of the documents were not technically “Memorandums for the Record”, but were actually NMCC “Deputy Director of Operations Talker” messages, or, “DDO Talkers”. Whatever the specifics, Todd had acquired about forty unique NMCC records involving “UFO incidents”, “UFO analysis”, “UFO sightings” and “unusual phenomena”. Also contained in Charles W. Hinkle’s reply letter to Todd was the statement:

“With reference to your request for copies of requests for temperature inversion analysis, and message responses to such inquiries, the OJCS advises that no documents have been found that would be responsive.”

This final statement was wholly incorrect. The NMCC, in fact, did have “temperature inversion analysis” records, and, they specifically related to “sightings of unusual phenomena” and “UFOs”, as we shall see in due course. Charles W. Hinkle’s reply letter to Todd is imaged below.



Dated the 8th of November, 1975, and signed by the NMCC’s DDO, Brig. Gen. Wilman D. Barnes, is a two page “Memorandum For The Record” which concerns persistent radar and visual sightings around Malmstrom AFB. The events were still occurring at the time the NMCC memorandum was authored. It is important to note that Malmstrom was the home of the 341st Missile Wing which controlled silo–based Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) equipped with nuclear warheads. The memorandum reads:

“Subject: Unidentified Sightings

1. 0308 EST FONECON from NORAD Command Director: at 0253 EST Malmstrom AFB Montana received seven radar cuts on the height–finder radar at altitudes between 9,500’ and 15,500’. Simultaneously, ground witnesses observed lights in the sky and the sounds of jet engines similar to jet fighters. Cross–tell with FAA revealed no jet aircraft within 100NM of the sightings. Radar tracked the objects over Lewistown, Montana at a speed of seven (7) knots. Two F–106 interceptors from the 24th NORAD Region were scrambled at 0254 EST and became airborne at 0257 EST. At the time of the initial voice report personnel at Malmstrom AFB and SAC sites K1, K3, L3 and L6 were reporting lights in the sky accompanied by jet engine noise.

2. 0344 EST FONECON, same source:

Objects could not be intercepted. Fighters had to maintain a minimum 12,000’ because of mountainous terrain. Sightings had turned west, increased speed to 150 knots. Two tracks were apparent on height–finder radars 10–12 NM apart. SAC Site K3 reported sightings between 300’ and 1,000’ while site L–4 reported sightings 5NM NW of their position. Sightings disappeared from radar at position 4650N/10920W at a tracked speed of three (3) knots.

3. At 0440 EST, NMCC initiated contact with the NORAD Command director who reported the following:

0405 EST: Malmstrom receiving intermittent tracks on both search and height–finder radars. SAC site C–1, 10NM SE of Stanford, Montana, reported visual sightings of unknown objects.

0430 EST: Personnel at 4 SAC sites reported observing inter–cepting F–106’s arrive in area; sighted objects turn off their lights upon arrival of interceptors, and back on upon their departure.

0440 EST: SAC site C–1 still had a visual sighting on objects.

4. NORAD stated that Northern Lights will sometimes cause phenomena such as this on height–finder radars, but their check with weather services revealed no possibility of Northern Lights.

5. NMCC notified Washington FAA at 0445 EST of the incidents described above. They had not received any information prior to this time.

6. 0522 EST FONECON with NORAD Command Director: At 0405 EST SAC Site L–5 observed one object accelerate and climb rapidly to a point in altitude where it became indistinguishable from the stars. NORAD will carry this incident as a FADE remaining UNKNOWN at 0320 EST. since after that time only visual sightings occurred.”

While it is not my aim to study the events themselves, it is worth discussing a few key points regarding the above listed incidents, in addition to studying the document itself. From the outset, we see involvement from NORAD’s Command Director, who provided the NMCC with a chronological timeline of events as reported by Malmstrom AFB between 3:08am EST until 5:22am. As for the unusual occurrences themselves, we see, on one hand, that “…ground witnesses observed lights in the sky and the sounds of jet engines similar to jet fighters…” while height finding radar was “simultaneously” receiving returns. Logic would suggest that a stray combat jet was in the vicinity of Malmstrom AFB. However, the text immediately goes on to state that “…Cross–tell with FAA revealed no jet aircraft within 100NM of the sightings. Radar tracked the objects over Lewistown, Montana at a speed of seven (7) knots.”. High performance aircraft do not loll about at seven knots, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) could provide no insight into the sightings.

As strange lights in the sky persisted, a pair of F–106 interceptors, assigned to the 24th NORAD Region, were scrambled at 2:54am EST with the purpose of making contact with whatever, if anything, was flying around. The highly capable F–106 interceptors failed to locate anything. Mountainous terrain apparently made for difficult search–and–intercept conditions, and, one could argue that there may have been, in fact, nothing there to find in the first place. When two independent radar systems, however, are involved, things get a bit more alarming. At 4:05am EST, Malmstrom AFB was “…receiving intermittent tracks on both search and height–finder radars…”, while, seemingly at the same time, “…SAC site C–1… …reported visual sightings of unknown objects.”. At 0430am EST, “…Personnel at 4 SAC sites reported observing inter–cepting F–106’s arrive in area; sighted objects turn off their lights upon arrival of interceptors, and back on upon their departure.”. Other key points include the fact that NORAD ruled out northern lights, and, the NMCC “notified Washington FAA… …of the incidents”. Finally, the NORAD Command Director logged the duel radar hit at 4:05am incident as a faded “unknown”. The two page memorandum is imaged below.



During the 1970’s, the NMCC produced short, internal messages known as “DDO Talkers”. “DDO” refers to the NMCC’s “Deputy Director of Operations”. A “DDO Talker” message can be followed by a “DDO Update”. An 8th of November “DDO Update” message, regarding the unusual events over Malmstrom AFB, reads:

“UFO SIGHTING

(U) From 080253 EST Nov 75 to 080420 EST Nov 75, Malmstrom AFB MT and four SAC sites reported a series of visual and radar contacts with unidentified flying objects. Several reports from the same locations included jet engine sounds associated with the observed bright lights. Two interceptors scrambled from the 24th NORAD Region failed to make contact with the UFO’s.

(U) The UFO sightings occurred on an extremely clear night. Visibility was 45 miles. Although northern lights will cause phenomena similar to the received reports, weather services indicated no possibility of the northern lights during the period in question. (SOURCE: NMCC MFR 080600 EST NOV 75.”

The subject–line phrase “UFO SIGHTING” demonstrates a willingness to use the much shunned term “UFO”, and, a willingness to do so within the highest levels of military command. Moreover, the passage of text reading “…a series of visual and radar contacts with unidentified flying objects…” leaves no doubt that command level authorities believed they were dealing with something tangible and unidentifiable, which, especially when confirmed on radar systems, contextualises and defines a true UFO event. Additionally, even if mundane explanations could account for all this, it is abundantly clear that national security was foremost in the minds of those involved. Clearly, command level staff, assigned to SAC and NORAD, assumed dealing with unknown entities above one of the world’s largest launch–ready nuclear missile fields, and this speaks volumes. Needless to say, none of these events were ever solved. The above mentioned “DDO Update” is imaged here.



Another “DDO Update” message regarding the unusual events above Malmstrom AFB, dated the 9th of November, 1975 reads:

“1. UFO INCIDENT OF 8 NOVEMBER 1975

A follow–up with NORAD at 090430 EST provided no additional information. (LTG Smith had indicated his continuing interest in fonecon with DDO OT#4 on 8 November”

Again, the term “UFO” is readily utilised in the subject–line. Also of interest is the reference to a “LTG Smith” who had indicated his “continuing interest” in the situation. “LTG Smith” probably refers to Gen. William Y. Smith, USAF, who, in 1975, was the Assistant to the Chairman of the Organization of the Joint Chiefs (OJCS) of Staff. Here we see, in black and white, a Lieutenant General, the second highest rank in the USAF, giving attention to a what–is–described as a UFO event. This “DDO Update” is imaged below.



Two days later, on the 11th of November, 1975, another “DDO Update” message was produced by the NMCC DDO. It reads:

“CJCS COMMENTS RE UFO INCIDENT

(U) CJCS, at 10 Nov Morning briefing, indicated that when UFO sightings are reported, the NMCC should ask for temperature gradients in the area (i.e., for possible aloft inversions). The CJCS also questioned the advisability of scrambling aircraft against reported UFOs.”

This could not be clearer. The subject–line reads “CJCS COMMENTS RE UFO INCIDENT”. As we know, “CJCS” refers to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The CJCS is “…is the principal military adviser to the President, the National Security Council, and the Secretary of Defence…” as described by “10 U.S. Code § 151 – Joint Chiefs of Staff: Composition; Functions”. At the time, the CJCS was Gen. George S. Brown, USAF. Not only was he was briefed about alarming UFO activity at the 10th of November, 1975, morning meeting, he was also adding to the decision making process. Firstly, Gen. Brown indicated that the NMCC should embark on weather analysis “when UFO sightings are reported”, and, secondly, he “questioned the advisability” of scrambling combat jets “against reported UFOs”. This provocative NMCC “DDO Update” is imaged below.



Gen. Brown’s recommendations were quickly implemented. Produced on the 13th of October, 1975, is an NMCC “Memorandum For The Record” with the subject–line “Requests for Temperature Inversion Analysis”. Signed by the NMCC’s DDO, Brig. Gen. C. D. Roberts, it reads:

“Subject: Requests for Temperature Inversion Analysis

1. LTC Schmidt, representing Air Force Global Weather Central (AFGWC), visited the NMCC at 131500 EST to discuss arrangements to implement the procurement of weather information desired by CJCS, which is the subject of DDO Environmental Services memo of 13 November 1975. The following agreements with LTC Schmidt were reached:

a. The West Hem Desk Officer will act as the control officer for temperature inversion analysis requests initiated by the NMCC. These requests will be made in conjunction with sightings of unusual phenomenon along the northern US border.

b. Each telephone request will be serialized, i.e., (TIA #1 etc.) and directed to the duty officer at AFGWC, autovon 8661661 or 271–2586. AFGWC will provide the requested analyses by telephone followed up by a priority message.

c. A record of the serialized requests/responses will be maintained by the West Hem Desk Officer.”

Here we see that the USAF’s Global Weather Central (AFGWC) agency was tasked with supplying the NMCC with localised weather data during “…sightings of unusual phenomenon along the northern US border…”. Specifically, the USAF–controlled “West Hemisphere Desk” (WEST HEM DESK), which functionally supported the NMCC in the 1970’s, was to request temperature inversion analysis (TIA) product from AFGWC, and furnish it to NMCC operations staff immediately. This memorandum is imaged below.



Following on from this memorandum, is a “DDO Update” message, dated the 13th of November, 1975, which reads:

“UFO ANALYSIS

(U) In future UFO sightings, the WEST HEM Desk Officer will initiate telephone requests to the Senior Duty Officer at the Air Force Global Weather Central (AFGWC) for a temperature inversion analysis in the vicinity of unusual sightings. The telephone response by AFGWC will be followed with a priority message. (SOURCE: NMCC MFR 132025 EST NOV 75)”

So now its “UFO ANALYSIS” for the subject line! This “DDO Update” is simply an outgoing message implementing Brig. Gen. C. D. ’Roberts aforementioned memorandum. It makes clear that temperature inversion analysis will be conducted by AFGWC through the West Hem desk for the NMCC when “unusual sightings” occur. There is no doubt now that the unknown aerial activity at Malmstrom AFB, and other bases, was being taken seriously by the NMCC for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As always, this document is imaged below.




          It is probably important to note that the released records which discuss weather analysis were not originally released to Robert Todd when his FOI request was finalised on the 18th of January. It was actually three months later, on the 20th of April, 1980, that Barry Greenwood managed to have the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defence admit to ownership of the documents. As I have mentioned, Charles W. Hinkle, the Director, Freedom of Information and Security Review, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defence, had told Todd that “…With reference to your request for copies of requests for temperature inversion analysis… …no documents have been found that would be responsive…”. Either the OJCS was being dishonest with Todd, or, they simply didn’t locate some of the records which obviously did exist. Either way, this brings into question just how many other UFO–related JCS and NMCC documents may have been deliberately withheld, or, legitimately missed. Furthermore, as mentioned, Todd, nor anyone else, asked the entire Organisation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (OJCS) and all its components be searched for UFO related records. Only the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and its National Military Command Center (NMCC) were stipulated in FOI requests, so it is entirely possible that other material was being held.

To conclude, this series has morphed into the analysis of wider US military UFO investigation, analysis and obviously high level concern. The USAF’s long running UFO study program, Project Blue Book, was, with the assistance of Dr. Edward U. Condon’s flawed Colorado University “UFO Study”, shut down in 1970. Hence, no agency or desk in the US military would be accepting UFO reports, and there most certainly would not be any investigation. A 1993 version of the USAF’s “Fact Sheet” on UFOs, with the title “Unidentified Flying Objects And Air Force Project Blue Book: Fact Sheet”, states that “Since the termination of Project Blue Book, nothing has occurred that would support a resumption of UFO investigations by the Air Force…” Clearly, this is hogwash. The 1975 over flights, and the fallout they created, is at odds with the official line. Even if all these events had mundane explanations, those involved evidently thought they dealing with something very unusual. The ceaseless use of the term “UFO” and “unidentified flying object”, along with terms such as “analysis”, is very hard to reconcile with mere helicopter flights and a few bright stars. In the end, of course, the full resources of a dozen USAF components and major commands, plus a long list of other agencies, never came to any conclusion. Contained in my next entry will be yet more documentation, much of which has never been seen. 

Monday, 10 October 2016

"OPREP-3" - A Classified US Military Reporting 

Channel For UFO Incidents?

Part 5

  

Recently, in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 of this series, I have highlighted the use of the US military’s OPREP–3 system to report apparent UFO events which have occurred over military installations, and, in air defence environments. OPREP–3 is short for “Operational Reporting – 3”, one of a number of distinct categories of operational report channels. A December, 1993 dated Instruction, titled “Joint Reporting Structure Event and Incident Reports”, and promulgated by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), establishes that:

“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.”.

As I have previously outlined in this series, both Loring AFB and Wurtsmith AFB were, in late 1975, the scene of unusual and unexpected “over flights” or “intrusions” by objects variously described as “unidentified helicopters”, “unknown helicopters”, “unidentified flying objects”, “unknown objects” and “UFOs”. Both these bases were under USAF Stratigic Air Command (SAC) control, and both held nuclear weapons. These events were reported, via the OPREP–3 channel, to the National Military Command Center (NMCC), the Strategic Air Command Headquarters (SAC HQ), the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), the USAF’s Major Command Coordination Center (MCCC), the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD), the USAF’s Air Force Intelligence Service, (AFIS), the 8th Air Force’s Headquarters (8AF HQ), and a number of other components within the US military and intelligence community. Also, other SAC bases, including Malmstrom AFB and Minot AFB, plus Canada’s Falconbridge Air Station, were likewise intruded on by unidentified aircraft, or, at minimum, some sort of unusual phenomena. As the months went on into 1976, other USAF installations, including Fort Richie AFB, Cannon AFB and Eglin AFB were the scene of similar aerial disturbances. Judging by tantalising references in officially released records, there may have been similar events at other US military installations too.

I will not overly detail each of the events, at each base, here. Such work has been published previously, and in great detail. The 1984 book “Clear Intent”, later published as “UFO Cover Up: What the Government Won’t Say”, by researchers Barry Greenwood and Lawrence Fawcett, remains the most detailed, and fully referenced, work regarding the 1975 “over flights”. In fact, the chapters of “Clear Intent” which detail these odd events are available online. To read about the events at Loring AFB, see hereFor the events at Malmstrom AFB see here. Finally, the Wurtsmith AFB events, and those at other bases, can be seen here.

In this Part 5, I will be highlighting never–before–seen US military documents which demonstrate, unmistakably, a considerable level of investigation done into the 1975 “over flights”. I will not attempt to assemble the entire investigative history that was performed by interested commands and agencies, as such an undertaking would probably require a book–length treatment, and, many of the documents involved remain classified, or, will have been presumably destroyed. Rather, I will present, and briefly discuss, a mixture of records which simply provide a snapshot of government UFO investigation, evaluation, and very high level concern.

A few years beforehand, as 1969 rolled over into 1970, the USAF’s long running UFO study program, Project Blue Book, was, with the assistance of Dr. Edward U. Condon’s flawed Colorado University “UFO Study”, shut down. It is commonly accepted that, from 1970 onwards, the US military ceased accepting UFO reports, and, furthermore, would certainly not investigate or evaluate them. A 1993 version of the USAF’s shameful UFO “Fact Sheet”, titled “Unidentified Flying Objects And Air Force Project Blue Book: Fact Sheet”, states:

“Since the termination of Project Blue Book, nothing has occurred that would support a resumption of UFO investigations by the Air Force…”

This statement, as we shall see, is absolute nonsense, and no amount of trickery by debunkers can change that fact.

Between 1977 and 1983, the details of the 1975 wave of unknown entities flying over military bases became alarmingly clear. During that time, researchers Barry Greenwood, Lawrence Fawcett and Robert Todd, were submitting literally hundreds of FOI requests to dozens of US military commands and centers, and even non–military entities like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), for UFO or “over flight” records. Almost every single FOI request resulted in an admission that classified records were being held, and, thousands of pages were actually released. As stated above, I aim to concentrate on material which highlights investigation, evaluation and high level concern by the US military, while moving away from initial reports and base alerts.

In a five part telex, released to researcher Robert Todd on the 25th of April, 1980, by Col. James Rodeen, Director of Administration, Aerospace Defence Command (ADCOM), the situation over five US and Canadian bases is made very clear. The 11th of November, 1975, telex was sent from the NORAD Commander–in–Chief (CINCNORAD) at Ent AFB in Colorado, to the Chief of Staff, USAF, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), the Canadian Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), and the Commander–in–Chief, Strategic Air Command (CINCSAC). The contents act as a reasonable summary, though rather brief, of the situation over Loring AFB, Wurtsmith AFB, Malmstrom AFB, Minot AFB, and Canadian Forces Station Falconbridge. With slight changes in formatting, for ease–of–reading purposes, the message states in full:

“SUBJ: SUSPICIOUS UNKNOWN AIR ACTIVITY
THIS MESSAGE IN FIVE PARTS.

PART I. SINCE 28 OCT 75 NUMEROUS REPORTS OF SUSPICIOUS OBJECTS HAVE BEEN RECEIVED AT THE NORAD COC. RELIABLE MILITARY PERSONNEL AT LORING AFB, MAINE, WURTSMITH AFB, MICHIGAN, MALMSTROM AFB, MT, MINOT AFB, ND, AND CANADIAN FORCES STATION, FALCONBRIDGE, ONTARIO, CANADA, HAVE VISUALLY SIGHTED SUSPICIOUS OBJECTS.

PART II. OBJECTS AT LORING AND WURTSMITH WERE CHARACTERIZED TO BE HELICOPTERS. MISSILE SITE PERSONNEL, SECURITY ALERT TEAMS, AND AIR DEFENSE PERSONNEL AT MALMSTROM MONTANA REPORT AN OBJECT WHICH SOUNDED LIKE A JET AIRCRAFT. FAA ADVISED THERE WERE NO JET AIRCRAFT IN THE VICINITY. MALMSTROM SEARCH AND HEIGHT FINDER RADARS CARRIED THE OBJECT BETWEEN 9,500 FT. AND 15,600 FT. AT A SPEED OF SEVEN KNOTS. THERE WAS INTERMITTENT RADAR CONTACT WITH THE OBJECT FROM 080753Z THRU 09002 NOV. 75. F–106S SCRAMBLED FROM MALMSTROM COULD NOT MAKE CONTACT DUE TO DARKNESS AND LOW ALTITUDE. SITE PERSONNEL REPORTED THE OBJECT AS LOW AS 200 FT AND SAID THAT AS THE INTERCEPTORS APPROACHED THE LIGHTS WENT OUT. AFTER THE INTERCEPTORS HAD PASSED THE LIGHTS CAME ON AGAIN, ONE HOUR AFTER THEY RETURNED TO BASE. MISSILE SITE PERSONNEL REPORTED THE OBJECT INCREASED TO A HIGH SPEED, RAISED IN ALTITUDE AND COULD NOT BE DISCERNED FROM THE STARS.

PART III. MINOT AFB ON 10 NOV REPORTED THAT THE BASE WAS BUZZED BY A BRIGHT OBJECT THE SIZE OF A CAR AT AN ALTITUDE OF 1000 TO 2000 FT. THERE WAS NO NOISE EMITTED BY THE VEHICLE.

PART IV. THIS MORNING, 11 NOV 75, CFS FALCONBRIDGE REPORTED SEARCH AND HEIGHT FINDER RADAR PAINTS ON AN OBJECT 25 TO 30 NAUTICAL MILES SOUTH OF THE SITE RANGING IN ALTITUDE FROM 26,000 FT. TO 72,000 FT. THE SITE COMMANDER AND OTHER PERSONNEL SAY THE OBJECT APPEARED AS A BRIGHT STAR BUT MUCH CLOSER. WITH BINOCULARS THE OBJECT APPEARED AS A 100 FT. DIAMETER SPHERE AND APPEARED TO HAVE CRATERS AROUND THE OUTSIDE.

PART V. BE ASSURED THAT THIS COMMAND IS DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO IDENTIFY AND PROVIDE SOLID FACTUAL INFORMATION ON THESE SIGHTINGS. I HAVE ALSO EXPRESSED MY CONCERN TO SAFOI THAT WE COME UP SOONEST WITH A PROPOSED ANSWER TO QUERIES FROM THE PRESS TO PREVENT OVERREACTION BY THE PUBLIC TO REPORTS BY THE MEDIA THAT MAY BE BLOWN OUT OF PROPORTION. TO DATE EFFORTS BY AIR GUARD HELICOPTERS, SAC HELICOPTERS AND NORAD F–106S HAVE FAILED TO PRODUCE POSITIVE ID.”

On one hand, statements like “Objects at Loring and Wurtsmith were characterized to be helicopters…” and “There was intermittent radar contact with the object…” imply that the unknowns were indeed, at Wurtsmith and Loring at least, just helicopters, and, at Malmstrom, nothing may have been in the skies at all. However, a sizeable number of details presented here are anything but mundane. What do we make of the fact that, at Falconbridge:

“…search and height finder radar paints on an object 25 to 30 nautical miles south of the site ranging in altitude from 26,000 ft. to 72,000 ft. The site commander and other personnel say the object appeared as a bright star but much closer. With binoculars the object appeared as a 100 ft. diameter sphere and appeared to have craters around the outside.”

And at Minot AFB:

“Minot AFB on 10 Nov reported that the base was buzzed by a bright object the size of a car at an altitude of 1000 to 2000 ft. There was no noise emitted by the vehicle.”

No one fail to see that these reported particulars characterize something very unusual. Finally, it is important to note that the CINCNORAD exhibits quite a degree of concern over the situation:

“Be assured that this command is doing everything possible to identify and provide solid factual information on these sightings. I have also expressed my concern to SAFOI that we come up soonest with a proposed answer to queries from the press to prevent overreaction by the public to reports by the media that may be blown out of proportion. To date efforts by air guard helicopters, SAC helicopters and NORAD F–106s have failed to produce positive ID.”

So the CINCNORAD has “expressed” his “concern” to the Secretary of the Air Force, Office of Information (SAFOI) that the public and press may show unwanted interest in these events? Seeing as NORAD, and other commands, still hadn’t, after two weeks, provided any explanations whatsoever for the unusual events, it isn’t surprising that they had become anxious. NORAD was doing “everything possible to identify and provide solid factual information on these sightings…”. This statement also demonstrates, as it should, a high level concern. Also, considering that many of initial reports were more “UFO–like” than descriptions of simple helicopters or airplanes, it is quite evident that NORAD had essentially shifted into UFO investigation. The two page telex is imaged below.





NORAD was but one of many commands that failed to come up with answers. On the 11th of November, 1977, Robert Todd sent a letter to the Secretary of the USAF (SEC–AF) which asked two straightforward questions regarding any final conclusions made by USAF authorities. On the 17th of November, 1977, Col. Charles H. Senn, Chief, Community Relations Division, of the SEC–AF’s Office of Information, came back with equally straight–forward answers. Col. Senn listed Todd’s questions in the one page reply, with answers beneath each:

“This is in response to your November 11, 1977 letter requesting answers to the following questions:

Q. Is it not true that the Air Force considers the UFO sightings (over Strategic Air Command bases in 1975) something other than isolated incidents?

A. There is no identification that these sightings are anything but isolated incidents.

Q. Has the Air Force’s Intelligence Service investigated these sightings, and if so, what conclusions were reached?

A. Yes, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI), at the request of the Strategic Air Command, investigated the sightings at Loring AFB, Maine.

Their investigation did not reveal a cause for the sightings. No military or civilian aircraft were determined to be in the area at the time.”

Firstly, the notion that the USAF, and others, considered unknown aircraft or UFO events at five different US and Canadian bases, in the same two week period, as “isolated incidents” is highly debatable. Some released documents, especially those for public consumption, state that the incidents were thought to “isolated”. Some documents, however, state otherwise. For instance, the two page CINCNORAD telex which I discussed above clearly laid out all of the mysterious events in a single message. There is nothing “isolated” about that. Secondly, in relation to the USAF’s Office of Special Investigation (AFOSI) analysing the strange events, Col. Senn only mentions the incidents at Loring AFB as being “investigated”, but fails to mention the attention AFOSI gave to the events at Wurtsmith AFB and others. Most importantly, however, is the fact that there was sizeable investigation at all. It is one thing for military authorities to investigate straightforward helicopter intrusions, but when the terms “unidentified flying objects” and “UFOs” are repeatedly used, as seen in hundreds of pages of original message traffic and memoranda, the situation becomes more complex. Col. Senn’s reply letter is imaged below.



While AFOSI went about their ultimately fruitless enquiries, the Air Force Intelligence Service (AFIS) and the Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence at USAF Headquarters were also involved. Within raw intelligence records, as well a few examples of more refined memoranda, a number of internal USAF distribution addresses repeatedly appear. These terms are “INZ”, “INZA” and “INYSA”. Assuming they referred to specific intelligence and security areas within the USAF, Robert Todd sent a letter, dated the 13th of December, 1977, to Headquarters, Air Force Intelligence Service (AFIS), asking for more information. On the 27th of December, 1977, the Chief of AFIS Administration, Capt. Barbara J. Barnett, came back with detailed reply:

“The designations INZ, INZA, INYSA are functional address symbols. These symbols, when used within a command or organisational entity, assure direct transmission and delivery of communication and allow for a maximum degree of standardization throughout the Air Force.

The designations referred to in the AFIS/INZ extract released to you are identified below.

a. INZ (AFIS/INZ) refers to the Aerospace Intelligence Division of the Air Force Intelligence Service.

b. INZA (AFIS/INZA) refers to the Editing, Briefing and Continuity Branch of the Aerospace Intelligence Division, Air Force Intelligence Service.

c. INYSA (AF/INYSA) refers to the Scientific and Technical Branch of the Directorate of Resource Management, Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence, Headquarters, United States Air Force.”

With this, Todd had unmasked the Scientific and Technical Branch, Directorate of Resource Management, Air Force’s Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence, as a UFO report addressee. More importantly, however, was the involvement of the Air Force Intelligence Service’s (AFIS) Aerospace Intelligence Division (INZ), and, one of its components, the Editing, Briefing and Continuity Branch (INZA). At minimum, both were on UFO report distribution lists. An AFIS publication, titled “History Of The Air Force Intelligence Service, 1st July 1973 – 30 June 1974” describes the Aerospace Intelligence Division as:

“The Aerospace Intelligence Division provides significant current intelligence support to the Secretary of the Air Force, the Chief of Staff (CSAF), the Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, the Assistant chief of Staff Intelligence, and various other Air Staff elements.”

The same publication says of the Aerospace Intelligence Division’s Editing, Briefing and Continuity Branch:

“The primary function of the Editing, Briefing, and Continuity Branch is to prepare and present daily current intelligence briefing to the Chief of Staff, USAF, and senior Air Staff offices within Headquarters. The branch performed preliminary intelligence analysis of fast-breaking situations.

The above highlighted letter is imaged below.



Robert Todd, logically, submitted FOI requests to AFIS and the Air Force Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence. The latter claimed that all their 1975 “over flight” records had been already destroyed. But the AFIS Chief of Administration, Capt. Barbara J. Barnett, came back, on the 9th of January, 1978, with a series of four “INZA Alert Officer Log” extracts. These logs were typed out by the on–duty Alert Officers at the the AFIS Aerospace Intelligence Division’s Editing, Briefing and Continuity Branch.

The first log entry, dated the 31st of October, 1975, reads:

“PER LTC. REDICAN’S DIRECTION. CONTACTED CIA OPS CENTER AND INFORMED THEM OF UNIDENTIFIED FLIGHT ACTIVITY OVER TWO SAC BASES NEAR CANADIAN BORDER. CIA INDICATED APPRECIATION AND REQUESTED THEY BE INFORMED OF ANY FOLLOW UP ACTIVITY.”

So the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) Operations Center was being briefed by Air Force Intelligence? And, they “…indicated appreciation” and “requested they be informed of any follow up activity”. This wasn’t the only example of CIA involvement, as we shall see in due course.

The second INZA Alert Officer entry, dated November 3, 1975, discuss a little known fact regarding unusual events far from the US-Canadian border. It reads:

“RECEIVED CALL FROM AAC/IN.. THEY HAD SENT MESSAGE 012224, SUBJ: UNIDENT FOREIGN OBJECT TO INYSA AND WANTED TO KNOW IF INYSA HAD RECEIVED IT.. THEY WANTED GUIDANCE FROM INYSA.. DAY PEOPLE 4 NOV: HAV MR FOLEY (INYSA) CALL ELMENDORF AUTOVON 7549104 OR KY–3 4396.”

Alaska? This was the first reference to any unusual aerial activity not near US–Canadian border. Robert Todd asked the Headquarters, Alaskan Air Command (ACC), under the FOI Act, for any pertinent records related to “unidentified foreign objects” during the period in question, but, in a February 8th, 1978 reply letter, the AAC’s Deputy Director of Administration, Major Barry S. Oswell, stated that the material had already been destroyed. Beyond the above two INZA log entries, a further two extracts were provided to Robert Todd, but contained already discussed details regarding the sightings and radar hits at Malmstrom. One curious line, in the third extract, however, states, “The radars which picked up the objects were checked and no malfunctions or unusual propagation were detected.”. I have imaged the whole set of “INZA Alert Officer” log extracts below.



As mentioned above, the CIA Operations Center had been alerted by Air Force Intelligence, of the confusing aerial intrusions. The National Military Command Center (NMCC) also briefed the CIA, repeatedly, on the situation, as we shall see. Suspiciously, a significant number of FOI requests, submitted by Robert Todd, Barry Greenwood and Todd Zechel to the CIA’s Information and Privacy Coordinator, met with ongoing denials. Researchers had already obtained copies of four separate NMCC Deputy Director of Operations (DDO) “Talker” messages, as well as two NMCC DDO “Memorandum For The Record” documents. All listed the CIA on the distribution lists. Two of the DDO “Talker” messages were distributed with IMMEDIATE precedence, and one DDO Memorandum, with the subject line “AFB Penetration”, listed a specific CIA staffer, Mr. G. Cunningham, as the CIA representative who should deal with incoming information.

I will not present and discuss all six NMCC records that list the CIA as an addressee, but it is worth, for the sake of transparency, highlighting one of them. Dated the 29th of October, 1975, and signed by the NMCC’s DDO, Brig. Gen. C. D. Roberts, is a “Memorandum For The Record”. It reads:

“Subject:  AFB Penetration

1. At 290200 EST AFOC informed NMCC that an unidentified helicopter, possibly two, had been sighted flying low over Loring AFB Maine, in proximity to a weapons storage area.
2. An Army National Guard helo was called in to assist in locating the unidentified helo(s).

3. NORAD was informed of the incident by SAC, requested and received authority from Canadian officials to proceed into Canadian airspace if necessary to locate the intruder.

4. At 0404 SAC Command Center informed NMCC that the army helo assisting on the scene had not sighted the unidentified helo(s).

5. A similar incident was reported at Loring the evening of 28 October 1975.”

The distribution list at the bottom of this memorandum, as I have pressed, included the CIA. The exact term listed is “CIA REP”, meaning “CIA Representative”. Interestingly, the CIA are but one of many addressees listed on this NMCC memorandum. Some of the others include the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), the Director of the Joint Staff (DJS), twelve areas within the NMCC, the Chief of Staff, USAF (CSAF), the Operations and Evaluations Division of the Worldwide Military Command and Control System (WWMCCS), the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s (JCS) Western Hemisphere Military Desk (WEST HEM), representatives at the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA). I have imaged this document below.



The above mentioned NMCC memorandum indicates that helicopters were responsible for the sightings at Loring AFB. Unknown helicopters or not, a number of records from Loring, as well as witness testimony from those on the base, lean more towards an intruder, or intruders, that behaved unlike helicopters. The terms “UFO” and “unidentified object” come up in Loring AFB message traffic, including two OPREP–3 reports, as frequently as the term “helicopter”. This was certainly a fluid and confusing situation. Also, we see that a US Army National Guard helicopter was placed on alert for the purposes of identifying the intruders if, and when, they returned. Whatever, or whoever, was behind these sightings, has never been solved. No amount of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Air Force Office of Special Investigation (AFOSI), Air Force Intelligence Service (AFIS) or Strategic Air Command (SAC) investigation and analysis has explained the events at Loring, or, any of the other bases.

To conclude, this series started out with the purpose of highlighting the fact that the US military has used, in the 1970’s at least, their OPREP–3 system to report UFO events over military installations, and, as it turns out, to report UFO’s in an air defence environment as well. Now, however, this work has morphed into the analysis of wider US military UFO investigation, evaluation and high level concern. In other words, the OPREP–3 reports themselves were an immediate paper trail, but the fallout that they caused was far greater. In my next entry in this series, I will continue to present investigative and analytical military documents which were created during, and after, the 1975 “over flights”.