Nuclear Weapons and the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon: A Call for Open Hearings on the National Security Implications
On October 19, 2021, former USAF Captain Robert Salas, in collaboration with researcher Robert Hastings, presented evidence before the National Press Club of ongoing incursions by unidentified aerial phenomena at nuclear missile sites over several decades.
Robert Jamison, former USAF captain and nuclear missile targeting officer; David Schindele, former USAF captain and nuclear missile crew commander; and Robert Jacobs, former USAF lieutenant and missile test photographic officer, also presented. Salas and Hastings had previously presented witness affidavits and declassified documents (archived here) before the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on September 27, 2010, streamed live by CNN. This latest press conference was streamed live on YouTube to a surprisingly small number of viewers.
Salas has long been open about his experience when he was the on-duty commander of an underground launch control facility at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana in 1967, recounting how one day all ten of his ICBMs became inoperable and that a similar incident had occurred at another missile launch control facility eight days earlier.
Synopsis with time stamps: a brief history of UAP sightings by military personnel and the official cover-up
5:45: In a 2013 interview former U.S. Navy pilot Clarence “Bud” Clem described how he attempted to intercept a UFO above the Hanford plutonium production plant in January 1945.
9:25: Seven months after Clem’s interview, declassified U.S. Army documents were given to Robert Hastings that confirmed military radar had tracked an unidentified aircraft maneuvering over the Hanford facility on three dates in January 1945.
10:00: The first atomic bomb test was conducted, July 16, 1945, using plutonium. In mid-July, 1945 Col. Rolan Powell, a highly decorated WWII Navy fighter pilot and McDonnell Douglas test pilot stationed at the Hanford Ordnance Works, a secret plutonium plant, attempted to intercept a UFO detected on radar. He chased what he described as saucer-like in appearance, bright, extremely fast, a sort of vapor enveloping it. It climbed to an elevation of 65,000 feet, well above Powell’s limit of 42,000 feet, and just hovered.
10:50: At Roswell Army Airfield, the home of the 509th Atomic Bomb Wing–at the time the only operational atomic base in the country, notes Salas–the official campaign of secrecy and disinformation began in the summer of 1947. Since then hundreds of witnesses have come forward to describe two crashed objects and non-human bodies recovered. Initially a crash was reported publicly by Col. William Blanchard who authorized Lt. Walter Haut to put out a press release. The report of a “flying saucer” was quickly substituted with a “weather balloon” explanation.
12:40: Col. Jesse Marcel, Jr., presents testimony at the 2013 Citizens Hearing on Disclosure describing how his dad, Major Jesse Marcel, brought home samples of debris from the site at Roswell and how what he saw was later replaced with a prop that resembled a target. “That’s where the cover[-up] began.”
17:35: In 1994, when Congressman Steven Schiff asked the GAO (the U.S. Government Accountability Office) for information about Roswell incidents, the response that came in 1995 indicated that “outgoing messages were destroyed without authority.” One FBI interoffice teletype was provided, dated July 8, 1947: “Eighth Air Force telephonically advised this office that an object purporting to be flying disc was recovered near Roswell New Mexico…resembles a high-altitude weather balloon…but that conversation between their office and wright field had not borne out this belief. Disc and balloon being transported to Wright Field by special plane for examination….”
19:00: On September 23, 1947, the chief of the Technical Intelligence Division at Wright Field, General Nathan Twining, sent a letter to the Commanding General of Air Force Intelligence stating that after a preliminary study of UFO reports, “The phenomenon is real, and not visionary or fictitious.”
20:00: From the current-day Executive Summary of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (Department of Defense) Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, June 25, 2021: “Most of the UAP reported probably do represent physical objects….” Salas notes this admission is surprising: “It’s not ‘swamp gas.'”
20:50: After multiple reports in the late 1940s by military personnel of UAP in the vicinity of nuclear sites at Los Alamos, Sandia and White Sands, USAF headquarters write to the director of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations a “Summary of Observations of Aerial Phenomena in New Mexico Area, December 1948-May 1950”: “…it was determined that the frequency of unexplained aerial phenomena in the New Mexico area was such that an organized plan of reporting these observations should be undertaken.”
“The observers of those phenomena include scientists, Special Agents of the Office of Special Investigations (IC) USAF, airline pilots, Los Alamos Security Inspectors, military personnel, and many other persons…whose reliability is not questioned.”…”phenomena have continuously occurred in the New Mexico skies during the past 18 months and…these phenomena are occurring in the vicinity of sensitive military and government installations.
22:20: By 1959, a plan of reporting was established. The seven-page AFR 200-2 of 1959 defined “UFO,” listed reporting requirements and responsibilities by the USAF and stated the Air Force’s interest in UFOs as a possible threat, interest in determining technical or scientific data and in explaining the phenomena. Salas notes this stated interest was to encourage reporting and that “this regulation was eventually withdrawn.”
1960s, Vandenberg Air Force Base: nuclear warhead dismantled by UFO
23:25: Former USAF 1st Lt. Jerome Nelson, Atlas missile crew commander at Walder AFB (formerly Roswell AFB) in 1964, has testified that maintenance crews on six different occasions reported UFOs overhead, directing beams of light on missiles.
24:14: Dr. Robert Jacobs, professor emeritus of communications at Bradley University, formerly a lieutenant in the USAF, recommends UFOs & Nukes: Extraordinary Encounters at Nuclear Weapons Sites by Robert L. Hastings and acknowledges his own role in the cover-up.
In charge of photo-optic instrumentation from 1963-1966 at Vandenberg AFB, he was responsible for photographing every launch. He describes (32:50) a UFO not visible to the naked eye, only seen in the film (recreated in animation at 40:45), taking out a launched nuclear warhead with multiple strikes by a “beam of light” at close range and relates how he was warned never to speak about it, or if under duress to say it was “laser tracking,” which did not exist at that time. When he did, however, later publish his story, he received threatening phone calls and lost a teaching position after Philip Klass reported him to his supervisors for “making up tall tales.” He concludes, correctly, this “is the most important event in the history of mankind.” [
41:45: Major Mansmann, who also saw the film, corroborates what Jacobs saw on the film. “…we knew the missile nose cone size but could not compare since we did not know how far from the missile the ‘object was from the missile at time of beam release….”
“The shape was classic disc, the center seemed to be a raised bubble, not sure any ports or slits could be seen but was stationary, or moving slightly–floating over the entire lower saucer shape which was glowing and ‘seemed’ to be rotaating slowly at the point of beam release….” [Additional supporting document from Mansmann here]
43:00: Robert Jacobs shares his story with amateur UFO researcher Lee Graham, who sought to verify the details and was told by the officials with the USAF and also at Vandenberg AFB that they had no record of any Lt. Robert N. Jacobs. He was told no missile was launched on September 14, 1964, though later these denials were later retracted.
44:50: Jacobs describes the two other men who viewed the film alongside himself and Mansmann and how they cut out the segment containing the UFO before returning the film to Mansmann with a reminder about non-disclosure. Jacobs’s story is included in Acknowledged: A Perspective on UFOs, Aliens and Crop Circles by Andrew Johnson.
The omissions of 20th-century sightings from the 2021 ODNI report
48:00: David Schindele, retired USAF missile launch officer, presents a statement from the Office of Director of National Intelligence: “UAP clearly pose a safety of flight issue and may pose a challenge to U.S. national security. Safety concerns primarily center on aviators contending with an increasingly cluttered air domain. UAP would also represent a national security challenge if they are foreign adversary collection platforms or provide evidence a potential adversary has developed either a breakthrough or disruptive technology.”
He emphasizes the importance of this acknowledgement and also how it skirts the issue, failing to address the direct request from the U.S. Senate to “submit an intelligence assessment of the threat posed by Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) and the progress the Department of Defense Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF) has made in understanding this threat.”
He notes the ODNI report limits its coverage to government reports only from November 2004 to March 2021 despite official data collection under Project Sign (1948), Project Grudge (1949) and Project Blue Book (1952) until reporting went “underground” in 1969. He states,
“There is a great deal of evidence from the past, consisting of witness testimony and documentation, which indicates that for many decades the military has been harassed by UFOs. The objects have shown capabilities far beyond what science, physics, and the technology of today can explain, and they seem to be controlled by highly sophisticated intelligence. They have demonstrated a maneuvarability in flight that no human pilot could possibly endure.”
September, 1966, Minot Air Force Base incident: ICBM missiles deactivated after UAP close encounter
51:45: Schindele narrates his own experience in September, 1966, as a Minuteman ICBM Launch Control Officer and Deputy Commander of a launch crew stationed at Minot AFB, “where a flying object tampered with and took down a total of ten nuclear-tipped ICBM missiles by rendering them unlaunchable.”
One morning the local news reported “strange lights” west of town and attributed them to a UFO. The launch facility was west of town, and he was scheduled to be in command that night. The morning’s pre-launch briefing only mentioned that missiles at the facility had “gone off-alert,” but crew members who had heard the news spoke to him after the briefing, and the site manager of the facility reported seeing a large, silent object with bright, flashing lights hovering close to the ground outside the facility. 8 people there witnessed it; they said they had been terrified. Schindele perceived they recognized it was definitely not a helicopter.
Descending below ground to the launch control center, Schindele saw the panel showing all 10 missiles off-alert, unlaunchable, since the appearance of the object, he was told. Personnel told him they had received notice from the Office of Special Investigations to say nothing about it. He says:
1:03:00: Schindele found this statement on the USAF website: “Since the termination of Project Blue Book, nothing has occurred that would support the resumption of UFO investigations by the Air Force.” [On October 23, 2021, this statement is no longer found on airforce.com]
1:03:53: Admiral Rosco H. Hillenkoetter, the first Director of the CIA, was quoted in the February 28, 1960, New York Times: “It is time for the truth to be brought out in open Congressional hearings…behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about the UFOs…But, through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense… to hide the facts, the Air Force has silenced its personnel.”
1:05:30: Schindele concludes with himself as evidence that Air Force personnel can bravely come forward and states his willingness to appear before a congressional hearing.
March 16, 1967: Malmstrom Air Force Base: Unexplained shutdown of nuclear weapons
1:13:30: After sharing testimony by other USAF personnel, Col. Walter Figel (ret.) and Eric Carlson, Echo Flight Missile Commander, who also witnessed the March 16, 1967, unexplained shutdown of nuclear weapons at Malmstrom AFB, Robert Salas presents supporting documents obtained under FOIA:
“ALL TEN MISSILES IN ECHO FLIGHT AT MALMSTROM LOST STRAT ALERT WITHIN TEN SECONDS OF EACH OTHER.”
“THE FACT THAT NO APPARENT REASON FOR THE LOSS OF TEN MISSILES CAN BE READILY IDENTIFIED IS CAUSE FOR GRAVE CONCERN TO THIS HEADQUARTERS. WE MUST HAVE AN IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS TO DETERMINE CAUSE AND CORRECTIVE ACTION AND WE MUST KNOW AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE WHAT THE IMPACT IS TO THE FLEET, IF ANY. REQUEST YOUR RESPONSE BE IN KEEPING WITH THE URGENCY OF THE PROBLEM. WE IN TURN WILL PROVIDE OUR FULL COOPERATION AND SUPPORT.”
1:13:50: Boeing had oversight of the weapons system and organized an investigative team. The USAF did as well, in secret.
1:14:15: A document from the quarterly report for the 341st Strategic Missile Wing Unit History by A1C David Grimble attesting the “rumors of UFOs…disproven.”
Airman David Grimble attests in writing, “I don’t recall interviews with the Mobile Strike Team or anyone in the Radar Squadron. What I do recall is that there was a general unwillingness to discuss the subject by anyone I contacted.
“There were two times that I recall where sections of the history were scrutinized and changes beyond editorial were made. These were UFO sightings history and a reported morale problem in the fighter interceptor group.”
1:15:45: Boeing’s investigation proposed and tested a theory involving disruption in the stable platform and its communication with the inertial guidance computer.
1:17:15: A fragment from the report notes: “The logic of the coupler was studied by the investigating team in an effort to identify a method by which both VRSA 9 and 12 could be activated. The opinion of the team was that external generated signals caused the generation of these two channels and shutdown of the launch facilities. The possibility of this is very remote due to the fact that all 10 couplers would have to fail in the flight within a few seconds of each other.”
1:17:56: Boeing’s lead engineer investigating the Echo flight incident, Robert Kaminsky, wrote, “There were no significant failures, engineering data or findings that would explain how ten missiles were knocked off alert…the final report would have nothing significant in it to explain what happened to Echo Flight.
“…I was contacted by our representative and told by him the incident reported as being a UFO event…a few days later we were told to stop any further effort on this project. We were also told [by the Air Force] that we were not to submit a final engineering report. This was most unusual since all of our work required review by the customer and the submittal of a final Engineering Report.”
March 24, 1967: Malmstrom Air Force Base
1:19:00: A truck driver notes a bright light keeping pace with him. It stops when he stops. He calls Highway Patrol. The officer and multiple others see the object, which leaves physical evidence after landing.
1:25:25: Capt. Robert Jamison, combat launch officer at Malmstrom at the time, makes clear the connection with the sighting in Belt: at the time when a sheriff notified the Air Force of the UFO sighting, ten missiles on base went off alert. It was unprecedented. It was his job to restart 4 of them, but not until after assurance the area was clear of UFOs. Security personnel reported seeing a “red dot” that broke into two dots and sped off.
1:27:53: Bob Salas commends Jamison’s courage [and it must be added how powerfully does the integrity of all these men, rooted in their courage, speak of the truth of their testimony. It has been a profound experience to type up these notes–ed.] He clarifies: the Echo flight on March 16,1967, shutdown first and then, the Oscar flight eight days later, as confirmed by Col. Fred Miewald, who fielded calls from witnesses about UFOs on the Base before the nuclear missiles were shutdown. Salas recalls the calls he received that night “lights in the sky,…strange maneuvers…not an airplane, sir, no engine noise, can’t fly that fast, making 90° turns, stopping on a dime, reversing course.” Indicator lights showed incursions.
1:33:43: At the time, the investigation that would lead to the Condon Report was ongoing. Salas recalls the no-bid contract given to the Univ. of Colorado that stipulated access to all reports; he notes that classified reports were withheld. Salas traces the word-of-mouth route that informed the investigation about the incident at Malmstrom and how it was dismissed and explained away, and the end result of the faulty investigation: Project Blue Book cancelled, and an official policy statement from the USAF that “no UFO reported, investigated by the Air Force was ever an indication of threat to our national security.” Salas finds “This a blatantly false statement proven by the many witnesses and documents testifying to the fact that UFOs disabled nuclear missiles and the witnesses to the many other cases involving nuclear weapons.” And
“The Condon Study was not scientific because no hypothesis was established or evaluated. Condon was not given access to classified Blue Book files.” Salas has the transcript of an interview with Condon admitting the lack of scientific rigor.
“They have blatantly lied to the public since 1969 about the fact that these incidents were, if fact, security related.”
October 28, 1968: Minot AFB incident
1:38:20: Maj. Bradford Runyon describes being sent out to follow up after personnel sent to investigate an alarm in the missile field did not return. He saw them lying unconscious on the ground and the paint “burned off their vehicle.” They came to and described an unidentified object coming so close they feared it would land on them. The 20-ton lid covering the missile silo had been removed, a clear reason for the alarm; the alarm inside the silo had also activated. More detail can be found at https://minotb52ufo.com/.
Fall 1976: F. E. Warren AFB
1:42:30 Capt. Bruce Fenstermacher’s testimony before the Citizen Hearing on Disclosure reporting another sighting.
1:45:12: Capt. Salas notes the extent of the stockpile of nuclear weapons throughout the world and mentions three more incursions from UAP around these sites.
Aviano AB, Italy, July 1, 1977: A bright light observed by 6 personnel hovered over the facility and took off.
Soesterberg AB, Netherlands, February 2-3, 1979: Twelve witnesses who saw a UAP fly slowly down the flight line went on the radio the next day; that audio transcript is available.
RAF Bentwaters, UK, December 25-27: [The Rendlesham Forest incident] USAF Col. Charles Halt (ret.) provided testimony; other servicemen also went on the record.
Salas also highly recommends Robert L. Hastings as the authority on UFOs & Nukes and repeats, “It is not swamp gas….The UAP reality is here….UFOs are reminding us we should get rid of these weapons….We must demand open and public hearings on this subject….We have a critical need to know.” He took questions from the audience.