In March 1967, two extraordinary events occurred at the Malmstrom Air Force base in Montana, where a group of U.S. Air Force officers were in charge of 10 nuclear missiles that could wipe out millions of lives.
According to their testimonies, they witnessed unidentified flying objects (UFOs) hovering over their launch facilities and causing their missiles to malfunction.
Nearly six decades later, some of these officers have finally shared their experiences with the Pentagon, hoping to shed some light on the mystery that has haunted them for years.
Oval-shaped form with glowing light spotted
Robert Salas was a 26-year-old lieutenant who was stationed 20 metres underground in a concrete capsule, monitoring the status of the Minutemen 1 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
He recalls receiving a series of frantic phone calls from a security guard on the surface, who reported seeing a bright, oval-shaped object with pulsating lights flying over the base. The object was silent and performed incredible maneuvers, such as stopping abruptly, reversing course and making sharp turns.
Salas ordered the guard to secure the facility and alert other launch sites in the area. But before he could do anything else, he noticed that his missiles had lost power and were no longer operational.
“I felt we were under attack,” Salas said in an interview from his home in California. “This had never happened before and we have nothing that could do that now.”
Soviet technology couldn’t have abruptly disabled the missiles’ guidance and control systems, which is what happened that night.
“You would have to have sent individual signals to each missile and within seconds, we had (no power),” said Salas, 82.
Just moments before the systems failure, a non-commissioned security officer on the surface made a series of increasingly frenzied phone calls to Salas, describing an oval-shaped form within pulsating, glowing orange-red lights hovering over the installation.
The NCO had also described the approach of the silent object which “was making unusual, controlled maneuvers, such as flying very fast, coming to a dead stop, then reversing course and making ninety-degree turns,” said Salas, who was locked into the subterranean capsule for security reasons.
“He was screaming in the phone, terrified . . . I told him to secure the facility at all costs.”
Responding to his orders, other security guards scrambled to other launch sites in the complex, only to see glowing objects hovering over them, said Salas.
Salas was not alone in his encounter. Another officer, Robert Jamison, was part of a team that was sent to inspect and repair the disabled missiles. He said he saw a similar object hovering over one of the launch sites, and that all 10 missiles had been affected by the same phenomenon.
“It was very eerie,” Jamison said. “We had no idea what it was or where it came from.”
A few days earlier, another incident had taken place at another missile base near Great Falls, Montana. Captain David Schindele was also in an underground capsule when he received a call from his security personnel, who told him that they had seen a large, glowing red object over their site.
Schindele said he looked at his console and saw that one of his missiles had gone offline. He tried to reset it, but it did not respond. He then realized that all of his missiles had been deactivated by an unknown force.
Schindele said he was ordered not to talk about what happened and to sign a non-disclosure agreement. He said he felt betrayed by his superiors and the government, who denied and covered up the incidents for decades.
“They lied to us,” Schindele said. “They lied to the American people and to the world.”
“My mind was blown…”
The day before Salas spoke to AARO, U.S. Air Force veteran Dr. Bob Jacobs shared with the office his recollections of Sept. 14, 1964, the day he said he viewed film of a UAP shooting down a warhead off the coast of California.
“I’ve been trying for 40 years to get the government to listen to me and (the AARO official) said ‘now you are,’” said Jacobs of the nearly three-hour telephone briefing.
“I was not interrupted . . . he only asked me to not name names, and I didn’t.”
What he did tell AARO is how he operated an experimental photo project capturing the trajectory of an Atlas D using an extremely powerful telescope and high resolution camera.
A few days after the launch at Vandenburg Air Force Base, Jacobs said he was summoned to a meeting attended by his military superior and two men in grey suits, and viewed a 16 mm copy of the original 35 mm film of the missile’s journey.
In it, a saucer-like craft appeared near the missile’s dummy nuclear warhead travelling up to 9,000 mph at the edge of space and hit it four times with some kind of beam, toppling it into the ocean below, he said.
“When I saw it, my mind was blown . . . I didn’t believe in UFOs when I was growing up,” said the retired first lieutenant from his home in southern Missouri.
“UFOs are real.”
At the meeting, the air force veteran said he was asked if he and his colleagues had doctored the film, a suggestion he vehemently denied.
“I said ‘it looks like we’ve got a UFO’ and was told ‘you’re never to say that again, this never happened.’ ”
He’s convinced the original film and its print were destroyed, adding he was mysteriously harassed, even violently, after first publicly speaking about the episode in the early 1980s.
He’s lost teaching jobs for speaking out, he says, but doesn’t regret doing so.
Time for disclosure
The three officers are among several former missileers who have come forward in recent years to reveal their UFO encounters at nuclear sites across the U.S. They have joined forces with other military veterans and researchers who have been investigating and documenting these cases for decades.
They have also testified before Congress and the United Nations, urging for more transparency and disclosure on the UFO issue.
In May 2022, they finally got a chance to brief some Pentagon officials on their experiences, as part of a series of meetings organized by Luis Elizondo, a former intelligence officer who ran a secret Pentagon program that studied UFOs until 2017.
Elizondo said he was impressed by the credibility and consistency of the witnesses, and by the implications of their stories for national security and global stability.
“These are men who have served their country with honor and distinction,” Elizondo said. “They have put their lives on the line for us, and they deserve to be heard and respected. They have also witnessed something that could potentially change our understanding of reality and our place in the universe.”
Elizondo said he hopes that by sharing their testimonies with the Pentagon, they can help raise awareness and stimulate further research on the UFO phenomenon, which he believes is real and deserves serious attention from the scientific community and the public. He also hopes that they can inspire other military personnel who may have had similar experiences to come forward and tell their stories.
“We are not alone in this,” Elizondo said. “There are many others who have seen things that they cannot explain or understand. We need to find out what they are, where they come from and why they are here.”
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