Thursday, April 02, 2009

UFOs and nukes: no truth is out there

This newspaper story is getting a lot of play on the Internet. It claims UFOs monkeyed with America's Minuteman nuclear missiles, apparently studying or testing the circuitry while crews stared at the erratically blinking lights on their consoles.
COMMENT: I rarely visit the subject of UFOs, but I don't discount it. I think there may be something to some UFO stories, in the form of unclassified atmospheric phenomena. Every now and then, though, one comes along that makes me throw the B.S. flag. While there have been some UFO reports (the most likely cause of which seems to be astronomical) around missile bases, none of this story makes sense.
Minuteman silos do not, and never have, contained "10 nukes." (They contain one missile with one to three warheads.)
There is no "silo" named "Echo Capsule" or "Alpha Capsule."
Whoever wrote this has no idea how a Minuteman wing is structured.
Author Robert Hastings, who claims to have 100+ witnesses to this and related stories, says, "I think it’s significant that not one person I’ve ever talked to has ever reported being leaned on to shut up — not one."
Yep, it's significant. It means that there's nothing worth refuting.


Robert Hastings said...

Jeez, Matt, what a poor and untenable leap of logic on your part.

So, writer Billy Cox confused Minuteman Launch Facilities (silos) with Launch Control Capsules (where the ten missiles in their individual silos in a given flight--e.g. Echo--are activated).

You, another writer, now claim this gaffe is proof that "no truth is out there." How bogus.

As one of those interviewed by Cox, I have already brought to his attention other errors in his article.

More to the point, I have spent 35 years interviewing former/retired USAF ICBM launch officers, targeting officers, maintenance personnel and missile guards who were involved in UFO-related incidents at nuclear missile sites--all of whom would strongly disagree with your presumptuous, shoot-from-the-lip comment.

Educate yourself: at my website,, I have an Articles page. I recommend reading "UFO Sightings at ICBM Sites and Nuclear Weapons Storage Areas." Just the tip of the iceberg...

BTW, former astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell has read my book "UFOs and Nukes" and calls it "powerful."

--Robert Hastings

Matt Bille said...

I appreciate Mr. Hastings taking the time to challenge me: it's what keeps a writer on his toes.

Hastings is correct in saying there are numerous reports of UFOs near ICBM bases and related facilities. Skeptical investigators have dismissed most of these as astronomical in origin (and don't think stars and planets can't fool people: Venus, seen under atmospheric conditions that made it look large and multicolored, once had a Looking Glass airborne command post extremely concerned in a story I heard first-hand from an officer on the crew).
I don't dismiss UFOs, but in the absence of hard evidence (claims the government is hiding wreckage are just that, claims), I doubt they are intelligently controlled vehicles.
I don't think much of the endorsement by Edgar Mitchell, who has recently made sensational claims about crashed aliens, etc.
We can argue individual UFO sightings forever, but what clinches it for me is Hastings' statement that the government has not attempted to rebut or discredit any of his witnesses. He sees this as evidence of truth. I'm sorry, but that's backwards logic. It is strong evidence that none of them has said anything worth refuting.

Robert Hastings said...

So, Matt, how many ex-military UFO witnesses have you personally interviewed? How many declassified U.S. government documents related to UFO activity at nuclear weapons sites have you reviewed? Please itemize those for me and your readers so we can judge your expertise, or lack thereof, on this subject.

According to declassified files, some of the UFOs at ICBM sites were tracked on radar at the same time they were observed from the ground. Planets don't leave radar tracks. Others evaded the jet fighters sent up to intercept them by hovering and/or racing off, sometimes doing right-angle turns.

You and a million other self-appointed UFO experts--persons who have all the answers, but who have never studied any of the documented facts--are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

As for the reason my ex-military sources have not been harassed, it's because they have made clear to me--and I have subsequently repeated their statements in my book and in my lectures--that they will immediately contact the media and/or an attorney if they are harassed by any government agency, after having spoken out. These are brave guys who are committed to speaking up about their experiences. The Pentagon knows that leaning on them would backfire.

So, there's another poor assumption on your part. You really seem kind of clueless in this arena. If and when you decide to get up from your armchair and do some actual research, before opining in public, please let me know. Until then, I will leave you to wallow in your uninformed opinions.

Robert Hastings said...

Speaking of the "Looking Glass" aircraft incident you mentioned, Matt, here is a similar account from a retired colonel. Venus? You will probably say so, given your previous comments.

From my book UFOs and Nukes:

Snooping on Our Airborne Missile Launch System?

Shortly after my first UFO-related article appeared in the September 2002 issue of the Association of Air Force Missileers Newsletter, I received the following email from Lt.Col. Frank Hale (USAF Ret.), in which he described his UFO sighting while serving with the 4th Airborne Command and Control Squadron, at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota.

At the time of the incident, Hale was aboard an Airborne Launch Control System (ALCS) aircraft. ALCS was designed to provide back-up for land-based ICBM launch systems, in the event that those systems were incapacitated following a Soviet nuclear attack.

According to, “The 44 Strategic Missile Wing (SMW) played a key role in establishing the Airborne Launch Control System in the late 1960s. On 1 January 1970, the 44 SMW assumed airborne launch responsibility for Minot Air Force Base, ND, and Malmstrom AFB, MT. Four months later, the ALCS joined the Post Attack Command and Control System forming the 4th Airborne Command and Control Squadron, which was assigned to the 28th Bombardment Wing at Ellsworth AFB, SD.”

Colonel Hale’s email follows verbatim:

Sent: Tuesday, October 15, 2002 7:52 AM
Subject: Missileers and UFOs

Dear Mr. Hastings,

This correspondence is in response to your article in the AAFM Newsletter Volume 10, number 3.

My qualification as an ICBM launch officer began at Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota, in 1970. I was a crew commander there for a year and a half and then volunteered and was accepted for flying duty with the Airborne Launch Control System (ALCS) at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota in October of 1971.

My organization at Ellsworth AFB was the 4th Airborne Command & Control Squadron (4th ACCS).
The purpose of the 4th ACCS was to provide a survivable platform in the event of an attack on the USA's land ICBMs and also to provide command and control for bombers and tankers if required.

The sighting I was involved in took place in 1975, I believe. My flight logs are in storage, if I can locate them I'll forward the exact date to you.

We had completed our training mission and were returning to Ellsworth AFB. My duties were completed and I went forward to the cockpit. I was sitting in the “jumpseat” behind and between the pilot and copilot for the final approach and landing. The aircraft was heading west toward Ellsworth following a path roughly above Interstate 90.

When we were approximately 50 miles from the base, I looked to my right and saw a silver-colored globe going approximately the same speed as the aircraft. As I watched, it stopped, went straight up, then forward, and did other incredible maneuvers at extremely high speeds. It came back down to our level and remained in my visual field for another minute or so. It then flew at an incredible speed in a westward direction, toward Wyoming.

When we landed I didn't mention the sighting to anyone except my wife. I was under the Human Reliability Program and I didn't want to become suspect for what I saw.

I continued to be on flight status for most of the remainder of my career, the only exception being in my final job as Base Commander at RAF Greenham Common, England. I never saw anything similar to the sighting which I described above.

Frank Hale, Lt Col, USAF, Retired

I subsequently called Hale and asked a few basic questions regarding the UFO’s approximate size and distance from the aircraft. He replied, “The distance was probably a half-mile to a mile. I would say that it appeared slightly larger than a dime held at arm’s length. The object was in view from two to three minutes.”

I asked Hale to characterize what he saw. He replied emphatically, “It was a flying saucer!” I asked if the object was truly a sphere or, rather, had displayed a disc-shape at times, during its various maneuvers. He said, “It appeared as a silver globe. That’s about as much as I can remember. I was thinking, ‘What in the hell is that?!’ It was the damnest thing I’ve ever seen!”

I asked Hale if he was certain that the UFO was a technological device of some kind, under intelligent control. He responded, “It had to have been. The pilot and the co-pilot apparently didn’t see the object. They were flying the aircraft, concentrating on the final approach [to Ellsworth AFB]. The navigator was positioned further back and didn’t have a view out the cockpit windows. None of them commented on the object. I used to wear headphones on those missions and I couldn’t hear anyone commenting about the object at all, so I assume no one else saw it, and it probably wasn’t tracked on [the aircraft’s] radar.”

Hale said he was certain that the UFO had been pacing and observing the airborne launch control aircraft. “Whoever was in it had to be looking us over. Otherwise it wouldn’t have been so close.”

I asked Hale if he had ever heard rumors from his squadron-mates, regarding similar incidents, but he responded that he hadn’t. I then asked if he, while flying aboard any ALCS aircraft at any time, had ever experienced unexplained communications interference or unexplained equipment issues, which would have impacted the aircraft’s ability to perform its mission.

He replied, “No, I don’t recall anything like that. The radio operators in the back of the aircraft had monitors that would have displayed any [electronic anomalies], and they would have told me.”

I asked Hale if he had been aware of any UFO activity at RAF Greenham Common, while he was base commander there from mid-1987 to mid-1988, but he replied “No”.

That joint Anglo/American installation deployed nuclear-capable USAF F-111 fighter-bombers during those years. The nuclear cruise missiles that would have been carried by those aircraft in time of war were kept at the base’s Weapons Storage Area.

--Robert Hastings

Matt Bille said...

I'm simply not going to go incident by incident through UFOs - it's an eternal and unwinnable battle no matter which side you're on. There is, however, no hard evidence that any alien machine has ever visited Earth. In addition to the known prosaic causes of UFO reports, I would not be surprised at all if we eventually found one or more types of natural plasma/lightning type phenomena with larger size and longer duration than known ball lighting, and keep in mind lightning of all types has been known to follow seemingly bizarre paths and do all kinds of things to electronics.
I was, BTW, an officer in ICBM units from 1982-1992 and never heard of a UFO incident in the missile field, even though it was well known I had an interest in such things.
To bring us back around (and it's my final comment on this topic), the suggestion that the government would be deterred from discrediting or rebutting a UFO witness "because they would call a lawyer" makes no sense. This is the US government. It's one heck of a powerful institution, far more so in these days of the Patriot Act. That witnesses have not encountered any trouble indicates the information they are reporting (however sincere they may be) is not of military or intelligence value.

Robert Hastings said...

Instead of pontificating about what does or does not make sense, Matt, I would think that you would want to communicate directly with those who have reported their experiences to me, to judge their veracity and observational skills for yourself

So, I hereby offer to make that possible. If you contact me directly with such a request, I will forward the names and email addresses of several of my sources.

One of those persons, David Schuur, has a particularly frightening account:

© Copyright 2008 Robert L. Hastings. All Rights Reserved.

Launch in Progress!

Of all the interviews I’ve conducted with former or retired ICBM launch officers over the past three decades, this was perhaps the most disturbing. According to the source, David H. Schuur, a UFO had apparently activated the launch sequence in most of his Minuteman missiles.

In August 2007, Schuur told me, “I saw your request for information in the [June 2007] Association of Air Force Missileers Newsletter. I was involved in a UFO incident at Minot AFB in the mid-1960s. I had read your earlier article [in the September 2002 AAFM Newsletter] but was hesitant to respond.” I asked Schuur why he had been hesitant. He replied, “Well, we were basically told, way back when, that it was classified information and, you know, it didn’t happen and don’t discuss it. I guess I was still operating on that idea when I saw your first article.”

Schuur had obviously had a change of heart. He continued, “Anyway, I was a Minuteman missile crewmember in the 455th/91st Strategic Missile Wing at Minot from December 1963 through November 1967. I was a 1st Lieutenant during that period and the deputy commander that night. Since the incident occurred some 40 years ago, my memories are a bit foggy but, based on who my commander was at the time, I would say it occurred between July 1965 and July 1967.”

I asked Schuur if he could narrow the time-frame during which the incident occurred, by associating it with another event. He replied, “Not really, but my sense is that the incident occurred toward the end of my duty in the [missile] field, so it was probably during 1966, or ’67. I was pulling alert in the Echo [Launch Control] Capsule and was at the console at the time, probably early in the morning when the commander was sleeping. I know I was at Echo because that’s where I pulled almost all of my alert duty. My crew commander at the time has died. He was a Lieutenant Colonel at Minot, in his 50s—he was in the reserves, an old Korea veteran, who was recalled to duty in the early 1960s.”

“As far as the incident, here’s my best recollection of it: Alpha capsule, which was east of us, reported on PAS—the Primary Alerting System—that their security personnel were observing a large, bright object hovering over some of their missile sites. It was moving from missile to missile. I think the Alpha missile crew also reported that they were receiving ‘spurious indicators’ on their missile control console, but I’m not certain about that. I know that a few minutes later our capsule had spurious indicators—anomalous readings—from some of our missiles.”

I asked Schuur to explain PAS. He said, “It was an open line between SAC headquarters and the wing command posts. There was a speaker in each launch capsule and when the command posts issued a directive, or whatever, we were able to hear it. When Alpha had their UFO sightings, they alerted the command post, at which time the command post called SAC headquarters. So, when the report of the sightings went out, we all heard it on PAS.”

Schuur continued, “But it wasn’t just Alpha and Echo. Over the next hour or so—I don’t recall exactly how long it was—all of the flights reported that their [Security Alert Teams] were observing a UFO near their facilities. The path of the object could be followed as it passed over each flight area by the reports on the PAS. The object moved over the entire wing from the southeast to the northwest, following the layout of the wing.”

Schuur elaborated, “All of them—Bravo Flight, Charlie, Delta, right on down the line to Oscar—were reporting sightings of this object. Minot’s missile field is laid out like the letter ‘C’. Alpha is located southeast of the base, and the other flights—Bravo, Charlie and so forth—were south, southwest, west, northwest, then north of Minot. Oscar, the last flight, is at the top of the ‘C’, north of the base. The object—as far as I know, it was only one object—came across Alpha Flight, then moved all the way around the flights and ended up at Oscar. We could hear that on PAS. At Echo, it didn’t come close to the Launch Control Facility, it just visited the LFs (silos), then passed onto the next flight.”

“As far as our flight, Echo, a few minutes after hearing the report from Alpha, I received a call from topside security that a large bright light—actually, a large, bright object would be more accurate—was in the sky, to the east of the launch control facility. When the guard called down, he may have used the term ‘UFO’ but I don’t recall. He didn’t describe it’s shape or altitude because it was too far away. It never got close enough to the LCF to see any detail. At its closest, it was two, three, maybe four miles away from us, near one of the missile sites.”

Schuur continued, “However, when the object passed over our flight, we started receiving many spurious indications on our console. The object was apparently sending some kind of signals into each missile. Not every missile got checked [out] by the object, but there were several that did. Maybe six, seven, or eight. Maybe all ten got checked, but I don’t think so. As this thing was passing over each missile site, we would start getting erratic indications on that particular missile. After a few seconds, everything reset back to normal. But then the next missile showed spurious indicators, so the object had apparently moved on to that one, and did the same thing to it. Then on to the next one, and so on. It was as if the object was scanning each missile, one by one. The Inner Security and Outer Security [alarms were triggered] but we got those all the time, for one reason or another. However, on this particular night, we had to activate the ‘Inhibit’ switch because we got ‘Launch in Progress’ indicators! After a few minutes, the UFO passed to the northwest of us and all indicators reset to normal.”

I wanted to be certain about what I had just been told. I asked Schuur, “So, if you get a Launch in Progress indicator, does that mean the launch sequence has been triggered—that the missile is preparing to launch?” Schuur replied, “That means the missile has received a launch signal. When that happens, we get an indication in the capsule that a launch command has been received by that missile. If that happens, without proper authority, you flip what’s called an “Inhibit” switch, to delay the launch for a given period of time. If an Inhibit command comes in from another launch capsule, that shuts down the launch totally. But if that second command doesn’t come in, the missile will wait for a specified period of time and then launch automatically at the end of that expired period—theoretically. Of course, that night, we had all kinds of other indicators coming on from each missile so, in that situation, the launch probably would have aborted itself. I honestly don’t know.”

I asked Schuur if the Launch in Progress indicator had ever been triggered on any other occasion, either before or after the UFO incident, while he was on alert duty. He replied, “No, never.”

I asked Schuur if he had heard about missile maintenance teams having to replace components or whole systems in the affected missiles—the ones that generated the spurious readings. He replied, “No, if that happened, I never heard about it.”

Schuur said, “Upon returning to the base the next day, my commander and I were met by the operations officer. He just said, ‘Nothing happened, nothing to discuss, goodbye.’ Our logs and tapes were turned in. Every capsule had a 24-hour tape that, as I recall, recorded the communications that went over the PAS system, so all the reports would have been on that tape. But we were essentially told that nothing had happened that night and to discuss it no further. It was a non-event. We were never debriefed, by OSI or anyone else. We just went home. Most of the returning missile crews drove back to the base from their facilities, so they all arrived at different times. There was no group debriefing that I know of. I never heard another thing about the incident.”

I asked Schuur, “I know that you were given no feedback from your superiors, but what is your personal assessment of the event?” He replied, “Oh, I think something was up there, uh, scanning the missiles, seeing what was going on. Some kind of a scanning process.” I asked Schuur whether he thought the launch activation had been incidental or deliberate. He seemed surprised by my question and said, “I think that the scanning just set it off. It set all kinds of things off, we were getting all sorts of indicators. There were some kind of signals being sent [from the UFO] to the missile that inadvertently triggered the launch activation, but I don’t think it was deliberate. I hope not! That would have been—.” Schuur didn’t finish this sentence. His voice broke and he heaved a deep sigh. Apparently, the thought that those aboard the UFO might have deliberately attempted to launch his nuclear missiles that night had caused him to pause—and probably shudder—over 40 years later.

I obviously accept Schuur’s report as credible, but am of course attempting to locate other former members of his squadron who are willing to corroborate it. As Schuur candidly admitted, after reading my first article in the September 2002 AAFM newsletter, he waited some five years before approaching me. It was only after my second published request for information from former/retired USAF missileers, that he decided to unburden himself. This hesitant response is not atypical. Many of my former missile launch officer sources have not readily or easily divulged their UFO experiences to me, for one reason or another.

Importantly, to my knowledge, Schuur’s testimony represents the only credible report on record of a UFO temporarily activating a U.S. nuclear missile. However, there is one other reliable report of such an activation—in the Soviet Union. That incident will be discussed at length in a later chapter.

(From the book, UFOs and Nukes, by Robert Hastings. Available only at

Robert Hastings said...

Moreover, according to retired Soviet Army officers, the same kind of UFO-related missile activation has occurred on the other side of the ocean:

The following is a transcript from ABC News Prime Time Live, a segment about recently released Soviet KGB UFO files.

DIANE SAWYER: In an ABC News exclusive first broadcast last October (1994) We asked ABC News Correspondent David Ensor to find out what's in the KGB UFO files.

DAVID ENSOR: During a five month investigation Prime Time obtained over a thousand pages of documents collected by the old KGB. We spoke to dozens of Russian scientists, government officials, and military men. We now know that the entire Soviet armed forces, a total of 15 million people over ten years, was involved in a UFO study that turned up forty major incidents, including one that prompted fears of starting an accidental nuclear war.

As a result of the study hundreds of UFOs were recorded and some were photographed. Some of the reports and some of the photos are clearly faked. But in other cases there were multiple witnesses

DAVID ENSOR: October 4th, 1982 Byelokoroviche, Ukraine. Near a sleepy farming village our search brought us to perhaps the most frightening case of all, an incident that could have started an accidental nuclear war.

RUSSIAN MAN, EYEWITNESS: "I was riding a motorcycle not far from here. I saw a large object in the air. It had a perfect geometric shape."

DAVID ENSOR: Every person we spoke to in Byelokoroviche said they saw a flying saucer on that day. They told us it was huge, about 900 feet in diameter. For hours it hovered over the nearby ballistic missile base. Where Lt. Col. Vladamir Plantonev worked as a missile engineer.

LT. COL.VLADAMIR PLANTONEV: "It looked just like a flying saucer. The way they show them in the movies. No portholes, nothing. The surface was absolutely even. The disk made a beautiful turn, like this, on the edge just like a plane. There was no sound. I had never seen anything like that before."

DAVID ENSOR: Lt. Col. Plantonev took me to the ruins of what was then a missile silo with a nuclear warhead pointed at the U.S. It was dismantled 3 years ago after an arms reduction treaty. Plantonev was in the bunker on that day 12 years ago. In this room were dual control panels for the missile, each hooked up to Moscow. What happened next so alarmed Soviet Military leadership that a four man commission was sent to investigate, including Col. Chernovshev.

COL. IGOR CHERNOVSHEV: "During this period for a short time signal lights on both the control panels suddenly turned on. The lights showing that missiles were preparing for launch. This could normally only happen if an order were transmitted from Moscow."

DAVID ENSOR: No one had touched any buttons. No one had entered any codes. And yet as the UFO hovered over the base, the control panel showed the missiles were preparing to launch. For 15 agonizing seconds, the base lost control of its nuclear weapons.

Feb. 23rd, 1988. Six years later, at Kapustin Yar, near the Caspian Sea. It is Soviet Army and Navy day, a national holiday. An unidentified flying object appears on the radar screen protecting the military base. As the UFO moves toward central Russia the entire Soviet ballistic missile radar grid goes on alert. Several times fighter pilots are ordered to fire on the object. Each time the pilot would report that as he prepared to fire, the target had disappeared. Finally the UFO moved away for good.

--Robert Hastings