Monday, October 20, 2014

Lockheed, the Area 51 Interceptors & John Lear

Al Frickey tells all!

In the article, Ben Rich, Area 51 & Taking ET Home, I focused on the specific remarks attributed to Ben Rich from one particular occasion. It's fairly been pointed out that Lockheed had other connections to UFOs, and that Rich mentioned UFOs to others both in letters and conversations. 


Kelly Johnson

Clarence "Kelly" Johnson

Kelly Johnson had reported spotting UFOs, knew others working with him that had also, and he had a serious interest in the topic.
Kelly Johnson letter fromProject Blue Book files.
http://www.fold3.com/image/6314607/
For discussions of Johnson's sightings, see:

“The Lockheed UFO case, 1953,” by Joel Carpenter

http://conspiracy101.com/ufos/skunkworks/

Kelly Johnson: The founder of Aera 51's UFOsightings
http://ufopartisan.blogspot.com/2010/08/area-51-founders-ufo-sightings.html

The Lockheed UFO Case Revisited
http://www.notaghost.com/2012/03/a-prosaic-explanation-for-a-famous-ufo-case.html



Ben Rich

Ben Rich, the Area 51 Interceptors & John Lear

Ben Rich shared Johnson’s interest in UFOs, as demonstrated in his letter to John Andrews

Ben Rich Letter to John AndrewsJohn Andrews' Correspondence with Ben Rich, Lee Graham and others.

John Andrews was Andrews designer for scale-model kits of cars and airplanes for the Testor Corp. With his contacts in the aviation industry, he managed to get inside information and build models based on secret military designs before their release to the public.


Andrews on "Sightings" 10/02/94 (at 8:33 of this clip)

John Andrews had an interest in UFOs, and was responsible for getting John Lear involved:

John Lear, the delicious part of
every 80s conspiracy theory.
“...up till 1984, my sole interest was SR-71, F-19, Stealth Fighter, stuff like that. As a matter of fact, you can go on the internet: John Andrews, who was Vice President of Testors, and eventually made the ‘Sport Model’. You know he and I had letters going back and forth. He’d say, “Hey, you ought to look into this flying saucer deal.” And I’d say, “No, its bullshit, you know I don’t need to waste my time.”  http://projectcamelot.org/lang/en/john_lear_2008_transcript_1_en.html

Andrews and Lear were also friends with Jim Goodall, an avid aviation author and historian. Goodall was fascinated with the Stealth programs at Area 51, and wondered what else might be flying there. He became a member of the original Area 51 “Interceptors,” and came to share the interest of his friends in more exotic aircraft.

“[Jim] Goodall had come to believe in the saucers.”
By the time he went up to Whitesides to look down on Dreamland for the first time with John Lear in the fall of 1988, his obsession had expanded. At some point during the revelation of the Lazar story, and talking to those who had worked at the base, Goodall crossed the Ridge—or began to straddle it. He came to believe in the presence of alien craft, as did John Andrews, his frequent companion on the trips."There are things out there that would make George Lucas green with envy," he had been told, and he believed. 
The key moment in his conversion was a letter Ben Rich had written to him, in which Rich said that both he and Kelly Johnson believed in UFOs. (But in the account I had, this was a tease.) From Dreamland: Travels Inside the Secret World of Roswell and Area 51  by Phil Patton, 1998.

Jim Goodall, describing has aviation sleuthing

Making George Lucas Drool

Jim Goodall took some of his experience, mixed it with some unattributed quotes and a heaping helping of speculation in a 1988 article for Gung-Ho magazine:

Gung-Ho, Feb. 1988

Rumour has it some of these systems involve force-field technology, gravity-drivesystems, and "flying saucer" designs. Rumour further has it that these designsare not necessarily of Earth human origin - but of who might have designed themor helped us to do it, there is less talk. "Let's just put it this way,"explained one retired Lockheed engineer. "We have things flying in the Nevadadesert that would make George Lucas drool."
Feb. 88 issue of GUNG-HOStealth - And Beyond - A look at Aurora and Some "Unfunded Opportunities" (UFO) by "Al Frickey, "pseudonym of Jim Goodall

See more Jim Goodall quotes from "Area 51 - the Dreamland Chronicles" by David Darlington at 

Larger Than Life

Ben Rich
The Ben Rich rumors circulating are either distortions or gross exaggerations he may have said.

"Ben Rich was well known as both a joker and someone who enjoyed embellishing a good story. I asked one of his former co-workers about the truth of a certain story Ben included in his memoirs and was told that, 'Ben tended to fire for effect rather than accuracy.' That was why I was interested in finding out how true his supposed statements were regarding technology to 'travel to the stars.' The truth became clear after I had a chance to examine Ben's personal papers." - Peter Merlin

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ben Rich, Area 51 & Taking ET Home

In his autobiography, Skunk Works, Ben Rich wrote that while Lockheed was developing the stealth plane, 
Ben Rich

"Some of our senior engineers thought it might be easier to build a flying saucer. The problem was how to build one… We don't know how to do that. The Martians wouldn’t tell us.” 

Rich had a sense of humor, and he could engage in some boastful sensationalizing (BS for short) to improve a story.



It came from Area 51



The myth of the Skunk Works super technology is closely tied to the lore of UFOs. The stories told by Paul Bennewitz were repeated by John Lear, who grafted Area 51 onto the narrative. Shortly afterwards, Bob Lazar surfaced to spotlight Area 51, which soon gave rise to stories of the legendary Aurora.

The Area 51 "Interceptors," Jim Goodall and John Andrews were involved in pusrsuing this, as well as Andrews' friend Lee Graham, who got tangled in the MJ-12 document circus. Andrews and Goodall tried to coax Stealth secrets and UFO stories out of Ben Rich, but he mostly responded in friendly deflecting replies. If Ben Rich ever made extravagent statements about Lockheed spacecraft, there's no indication that it was anything more than words.

Kooks and Charlatans


On the forum Above Top Secret, ATSZOMBIE asked about the Skunk works legends,
Ben Rich, stated during a 1993, Alumni Speech at UCLA, 
"We already have the means to travel among the stars, but these technologies are locked up in black projects and it would take an Act of God to ever get them out to benefit humanity...Anything you can imagine, we already know how to do." 
A traceable context for the quote, if he actually did gave it? 

Peter Merlin

There were several floundering answers, but using the screen name Shadowhawk, aviation historian Peter Merlin joined the conversation:


Ben Rich is constantly misquoted as saying "We now have the technology to take E.T home." That is not what he said. 

At the end of his presentation he showed his final slide, a picture of a disk-shaped craft – the classic “flying saucer” – flying into a partly cloudy sky with a burst of sunlight in the background and he gave his standard tagline. It was a joke he had used in numerous presentations since 1983 when Steven Spielberg’s "E.T. the Extraterrestrial," a film about a young boy befriending a lost visitor from space and helping the alien get home, had become the highest-grossing film of all-time. Rich apparently decided to capitalize on this popularity. By the summer of 1983, he had added the flying saucer picture to the end of a set of between 12 and 25 slides that he showed with his lecture on the history of Lockheed's famed Skunk Works division. 

Rich had long used a standard script for his talks, tailoring the content as necessary to accommodate his audience. Since most Skunk Works current projects were classified, it didn’t matter whether he was addressing schoolchildren or professional aeronautical engineers; he always ended the same way. At a Defense Week symposium on future space systems in Washington, D.C., on September 20, 1983, he said, “Unfortunately, I cannot tell you what we have been doing for the last 10 years. It seems we score a breakthrough at the Skunk Works every decade, so if you invite me back in 10 years I’ll be able to tell you what we are doing [now]. I can tell you about a contract we recently received. The Skunk Works has been assigned the task of getting E.T. back home.” The audience laughed, as it was meant to do. 

If something is successful, it is worth repeating. Rich gave an identical speech at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, on September 6, 1984, and continued using his script during successive appearances. Sometimes he refined the details a bit. “I wish I could tell you what else we are doing in the Skunk Works,” he said, wrapping up a presentation for the Beverly Hills chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution on May 23, 1990. “You’ll have to ask me back in a few years. I will conclude by telling you that last week we received a contract to take E.T. back home.” 

Three years later he was still using the same line and the same slide. “We did the F-104, C-130, U-2, SR-71, F-117 and many other programs that I can’t talk about,” he proclaimed during a 1993 speech at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, home of Air Force Materiel Command, the organization responsible for all flight-testing within the Air Force. “We are still working very hard, I just can’t tell you what we are doing.” As usual, he added his by now infamous punchline, “The Air Force has just given us a contract to take E.T. back home.” 

Within the UFO community, Rich’s words, and additional statements attributed to him without corroborative proof, have become gospel. He is named as having admitted that extraterrestrial UFO visitors are real and that the U.S. military has interstellar capabilities, and although nearly two full years passed between Rich’s UCLA speech and his death in 1995, some believers have touted his comments as a “deathbed confession.” It was nothing of the kind. 

Rich, a brilliant scientist, apparently believed in the existence of other intelligent life in the universe, though only as something distant and mysterious. In July 1986, after Testor Corporation model-kit designer John Andrews wrote asking what he thought about the possible existence of either manmade or extraterrestrial UFOs, Rich responded, “I’m a believer in both categories. I feel everything is possible.” He cautioned, however, that, “In both categories, there are a lot of kooks and charlatans – be cautious.” 


Merlin goes on to say in another comment:

The main point of my earlier posts was simply that Ben Rich did not say what some people claim he said. Most of his so-called quotes are not traceable back to a reliable source. The Keller/Harzan accounts of his 1993 UCLA speech are based solely on memory and were only reported years after the event. The overall description of Rich's presentation matches (for the most part) his standard script, though I'm not sure that I believe he ended that talk with a discussion of the F-117A. By 1993, he was ending with the YF-22 winning the Advanced Tactical Fighter fly-off competition, something the Skunk Works was justifiably proud of at the time. Perhaps he mentioned it earlier in his UCLA speech, or maybe Keller and Harzan simply forgot. It is not really important. I won't hold it against Keller and Harzan that they describe his UFO slide as a black disk flying into space, rather than as a metallic flying saucer in a cloudy sky with a sunburst. Their description is not bad for being based on memory, and I was just looking at a photocopy of the original slide last week. Quoting Rich as saying, "We have the technology to take E.T. home" is a close but memory-distorted version of what he actually said, as evidenced by his presentation scripts, which he followed closely. 


SUNlite5_6.pdf


Merlin later greatly expanded the material, providing documentation in an excelent article for Tim Printy's SUNlite,
 "Taking ET Home: Birth of a Modern Myth." See pages 17-19 at
http://home.comcast.net/~tprinty/UFO/SUNlite5_6.pdf




Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The APRO Bulletin Archives at Open Minds

At Open Minds, Alejandro Rojas has posted the later issues of the APRO Bulletin collection:

Jim and Carol Lorenzen
"The APRO Bulletin was the official publication of the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization which was founded in 1952 by Jim and Carol Lorenzen. APRO continued through the 1980s and below is a nearly complete collection of the APRO Bulletins for research use."


APRO Bulletin Vol 29 #8
The APRO Bulletin is a great slice of UFO history and you can follow how cases were reported, discussed and disputed. APRO was the first organization to get the Cash-Landrum case, but they were unable to investigate it, and passed the job to Project VISIT, led by John F. Schuessler. They continued to follow and report on the case, providing valuable insight and opinion.

APRO Bulletin: Directory of Cash-Landrum articles

Vol. 29 #8 Sept. 1981 
Burns Follow UFO Incident
1st published detailed report on the case, an excellent article, with details never featured anywhere else. Material from this issue were used by Peter Gersten in the claims filed for the witnesses.

Vol. 29 #10 Oct. 1981 
Cash-Landrum Follow-Up, and announcement about Dr. Leo Sprinkle on "That’s Incredible!" with Vickie Landrum, 

Vol. 30 #6 June 1982 
Rumors Permeate Cash-Landrum Case

Vol. 30 #9 1982 
Cash-Landrum Analysis

Vol. 30 #10 Oct. 1982 
More on Cash-Landrum

Vol. 31 #4 March 1983 
Cash-Landrum Update 
(Earliest mention of C-L book in the works by John F. Schuessler and Bob Pratt.)


Vol. 32 #7 Sept.1984 
Ufology-according to whom? 
Response to the MUFON editorial by John F. Schuessler, features summary of APRO’s involvement in the C-L case.

The link again, to the entire collection: 



Some of these articles were used in a heated exchange between the Lorenzens and Schuessler, with notes written in the margins. See this earlier article:

MUFON vs. APRO, Allegations, Accusations & Countercharges






Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hollywood's Plan 701 From Outer Space


Hollywood and UFOlogy have a long history together and at times, it seems like one feeds the other. Here's the story of how a movie producer and a famous actor were enjoying the view in California wine country when an unidentified flying object interrupted their conversation, and how the event led to a UFOlogy Hollywood connection.

Tony Cataldo and Martin Landau

The witnesses were Tony Cataldo and Martin Landau, both entertainment professionals, and business partners in the company Miracle Entertainment. 

Martin Landau in some of his famous roles
Landau is a distinguished actor who is probably best known for his role as Rollin Hand in the classic espionage show Mission Impossible, but science fiction fans may remember him for his work in Space: 1999 as Commander John Koenig, and other projects over the years ranging from the Twilight Zone to the X-FilesLandau portrayed Bela Lugosi of “Dracula” and “Plan 9 From Outer Space” fame in the 1994 movie “Ed Wood,” for which he was awarded an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

Cataldo has a distinguished career producing movies as well as success in other endeavors: see http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0145874/ and his bio at MUFONTheir sighting details are fascinating. In 2001, while at Cataldo’s 30 acre vineyard estate in Napa, California, he and Landau were sitting on the porch enjoying conversation and a glass of wine when a massive UFO appeared. The visitation was jarring and made even stranger when this translucent object flew away, leaving a rainbow trail.

Cataldo reported a UFO in Napa

Unfortunately we don't have testimony on this sighting from Landau, but Cataldo has gone on record in this short film, where he describes the circumstances of the event and also discusses joining the board of directors at the Mutual UFO Network:



404: Sadly, a formal report of this sighting does not seem to have been filed, and details of this case are not available in MUFON's online Case Management System.

Falling Upwards: 701

Cataldo’s sighting has led him to become very active in representing UFOs in the media, and he is currently working on his next film, “701 The Movie.”

701The Movie
Tobias McGriff of Blue Orb Cinema provided a description of 701 on Facebook:
“Great news that we can finally talk about. '701' will be the first ever full feature film that is based on actual government UFO cases with a Hollywood budget for the re-creations and played to a national/international audience. Think 'real Close Encounters'. We are proud that Blue Orb Cinema's own Tobias McGriff has come aboard as one of the Producers on this groundbreaking project! It will feature the talent of Tracy Torme (Star Trek: Next Gen, Sliders, Contact much more), award winning UFO filmmaker James Fox , Former Cannon Films CEO and high profile Producer Tony Cataldo as well as Ines Romero. This film is going to feature some of the most credible witnesses ever featured on the UFO subject. Get ready to have your mind blown!”

Unlike MonsterQuest 


Flatwoods 411 in 701
 UFO Magazine's blog had an insightful article explaining how the producers are working closely with UFOologists, in which Frank Feschino explained that 701 will finally allow a quality presentation of the Flatwoods Monster case. 
Unlike the MonsterQuest producers, the 701 people in California are keeping in constant touch with me and working with me every step of the way!”

More On Media Projects


Cataldo is playing a vital role in keeping the Mutual UFO Network a presence in the media as well. He was recognized by the director, Jan Harzan, at the 2014 MUFON Symposium, who gave thanks “to Tony Cataldo, our newest board member for his help negotiating the contract for Season 2 of Hangar 1.”
Hangar 1, companion show to Ancient Aliens on H2
Season one of Hangar 1 performed well, but there were some problems with the content. MUFON insider Susan Swiatek has explained that season two will be greatly improved, based on genuine UFO cases and actual MUFON investigations.

UFOlogy's Plan?

Bela Lugosi's unfinished business

There are some who keep saying that UFOlogy is dead. Is it possible that, like Dracula in the movies, it can’t really be killed? By the time of “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” Bela Lugosi’s greatest days were behind him, and he was just a tired shell of his former self. He died during the making of the film, but Ed Wood found another actor to wear Dracula’s cape in order to finish the work. 

...but Lugosi's business is not left unfinished.
UFOlogy can strive to follow this example and pass the cape from one generation to the next. Maybe Hollywood can help in this effort. The show must go on.

Bob Ryan wants you to get involved
Is that something you might be interested in? If so, do your part. Support UFO research.

Monday, September 1, 2014

What Good Are 25 Years of UFO Reports?

"UFOs Over Canada: 25 Years of UFO Reports" was issued in July from Ufology Research. The media has given the report some good coverage, but mostly short bits not allowing for detail. At the end of August, Chris Rutkowski was invited to appear on the Paracast (a UFO and paranormal talk show), and their format allowed for an in-depth discussion. His intro:


Explore 25 years of UFO sightings in Canada with long-time investigator Chris Rutkowski. He and his colleagues have accumulated a huge archive containing some 15,000 UFO cases in Canada. The new survey covers the years 1989 through 2013. When you check the report at his Ufology Research site, you'll notice that the number of sightings increased in 2012 before settling down to a somewhat lower, but still historically high, level in 2013. Says his bio: "Chris Rutkowski, BSc, MEd, is a Canadian science writer and educator, with a background in astronomy but with a passion for teaching science concepts to children and adults. Since the mid-1970s, he also has been studying reports of UFOs and writing about his investigations and research."


Chris Rutkowski, as seen on TV

The interview turned out to be a far-ranging one, touching on many major issues in the examinations of UFOs, from their study to media coverage. Several cases were discussed, both famous and obscure, including one of great personal interest to me, the Cash-Landrum incident.



The Paracast August 31, 2014 — Chris Rutkowski
http://www.theparacast.com/podcast/now-playing-august-31-2014-chris-rutkowski



Required Reading



Chris was asked to be on the show to primarily to discuss the study, "UFOs Over Canada: 25 Years of UFO Reports." The report itself is very interesting and it makes excellent points about the value of data collection and analysis. I recommend highly reading it no matter what your views are on the subject. The study strives to accurately record what is reported, and does not seek to characterize the unexplained cases beyond saying they are unknown.

"If UFOs are not 'real,' then why are tens of thousands of Canadians (and others worldwide) seeing unusual objects in the sky?"

Ufology Research: 25 Years of Canadian UFO Reports (introductory article)

UFOsOver Canada: The "25th Anniversary Written Report" (in pdf format) 






Applying the Data

Utilizing the database in the 25 year study, Chris Rutkowski, made
A Comparison of UFO Sighting Reports Between 1989 and 2013 with the list of Visually Observed Natural Re-Entries of Earth Satellites compiled by Ted Molczan
http://uforum.blogspot.com/2014/08/re-entries-of-rocket-boosters-and-ufos.html

This re-entry comparison study is interesting for several reasons. It immediately demonstrates the practical application of having a disciplined body of data. Having Ted Molczan's list allows for a comparison of the success rates of ufologists (or at least this group of Canadian ufologists) in identifying reported objects. 

Another, interesting point is that the orbital object re-entries allow a good sample of reports generated by known stimulus, allowing for an examination of how well witness are reporting the objects they see. Skeptics tend to distrust eye witness reliability, but this collection shows that the objects and actions were reasonably well described, if not understood, by the  witnesses. 

Re-entries of man-made objects provides an excellent opportunity for science and ufology to work on a common area of interest and share information. UFO proponents and skeptics alike should be able to agree on the value in that kind of dialogue. 


Monday, August 18, 2014

An Expert Opinion on the Cash-Landrum Copters



Back in March 2014, I gave a lecture via Skype to the MUFON group in Huntsville, Alabama on the Cash-Landrum UFO case. It was a great stroke of luck, when one of the attendees contacted me afterwards. Russ Hunter has a serious interest in UFOs, is a MUFON Field Investigator, and his military background is particularly relevant: 

“I flew CH and MH-47 aircraft for 16 of my 21 year career in the U.S. Army, with the last nearly 8 being flown as a Fully Mission Qualified (FMQ) Flight Lead, Senior Instructor pilot, in Task Force 160 at Ft Campbell KY. I wish to offer my services as a subject matter expert on the aircraft and the tactics, techniques, and procedures employed by the U.S. Army in general and the 160th and Special Operations in particular, as the implication of their possible/probable participation is unavoidable.”
Russ Hunter

 The CH-47 was they primary type helicopter identified in the Cash-Landrum incident, and the unit later known as Task Force 160 is the most compelling candidate to have flown them. Russ and I exchanged several emails and had several lengthy phone conversations where he explained and helped me with the practical details of how the helicopters operated. Here’s some highlights from my notes on our conversations: 

Russ was in the Night Stalkers from 1984-1991, and served with “plank holders,” original members of the unit that involved in Honey Badger. He confirmed historical details that I’d collected in BBL articles on Honey Badger and TF 158 were accurate, but added depth and insight on their formation and method of operation.

Honey Badger in 1980 was a proof of concept, following the Desert One fiasco, they assembled a force that could ready to work as needed. Once the unit was formed it never dissolved. It transformed into Night Stalkers and is active today. Task Force 160 was the aviation arm of special operations. A lot of the work they did was general counterterrorism. HQ is located at Ft. Campbell, KY, and they chiefly  flew Chinooks, Blackhawks and Little Birds. “Customers” were tiered. Different military branches (I took this to mean they were muscle, called in as needed.)





Helicopters: Operational Details
He discussed different CH-47 models, D, and MH-47-D, but I believe at least some of these variants came after the time period. CH-47s were modified in Lexington, KY. Helicopters have a limited combat radius. (Roughly 100 miles).  Rotor to rotor, the CH-47 is 101 feet long, a big fuel-hungry beast. CH-47s are very expensive to operate, burn a lot of fuel, about 200 gallons per hour.

The CH-47’s role was largely to ferry fuel, setting up FARPs (forward arming and refueling point) for other helicopters such as Blackhawks Hueys and Little Birds. The goal was to get them in and out as quickly as possible. He mentioned it took 25 minutes to pump. FARP extends range, but also involves more equipment, manpower and pre-planning. At the time of the events, the CH-47 was a workhorse, and a chief use was to deliver fuel. It was a bit later that they refined and developed its offensive capabilities.

What can 23 helicopters do that a few can’t? He was puzzled by the great number reported, and says it would have involved their entire inventory. CH-47s are fast and powerful. OH-6 Little Birds rarely fly together with them, and they’d be an unlikely match for the 2nd type reported. Doubts that Little Birds were involved, their primary role was to bring in snipers. Others were armed, but again seems unlikely for this role here.

Also, the number of helicopters reported was difficult for him to accept. An operation of just 12 Chinooks at one time and place is a big operation. He also has concerns about how low and slow they were flying. Each aspect creates problems with fuel consumption and other things. At 25 ft, flight is assisted by lift from rotor wash (hovering in-ground-effect HIGE). 85 ft high hovering requires much more power. Typical speed would be 100 MPH. Flying slower as described in the case is more difficult.

I still am having trouble processing the relative speed of the helo's and UFO. If they were going slower than about 25kts they were below ETL (effective translational lift) and would be, for all intents and purposes ‘hovering’. That requires much more power than forward flight and had the added effect of the very intense rotor wash that I spoke of.”




Detection: Radar and Ground Witnesses

Russ thinks it is impossible that the helicopters could have avoided being detected on airport radar, or unseen by air traffic into it. Also, standard procedure is to clear flights with the local airport. It is possible, but unlikely they were low enough at all times to avoid radar detection.

I asked him about noise and detection by locals besides the main witnesses. He felt much more should have been seen and heard. A CH-47 makes a low, deep and loud  “buppata-buppata” sound, copters with tail rotors make more of a high-pitched buzz/whine.

Noise from helicopters, especially that many would rattle windows. The sound of even a few helicopters should have been widely noticed throughout the area. He’s puzzled by why the concentration of helicopter witnesses are all east of Lake Houston. Strange, because the UFO and copters were last seen heading west.

The sound carries and causes vibrations that you can feel in your body, particularly the air in your lungs. Also, a CH-47 flying at 80 or 90 feet would produce a tremendous amount of rotor wash and blow around anything on the ground, leaves etc. 

If the event happened as reported, he feels this must have been orchestrated, as the time involved to travel and catch the UFO from any base is prohibitive. Also,it seems unlikely the copters were there by chance, leaving a planned mission as the most plausible scenario. With the number involved, a support or recovery mission makes the most sense. The helicopters would have come in for a specific purpose. Mission protocol is typically is to get in and out. They don’t hold ground.

Low Visibility- Russ was puzzled how the witnesses could see the copters and count them. Helicopters are intended to be difficult to see at night. They are painted a very dull, flat color, virtually black. 

CARC paint (Chemical Agent Resistant Coating), dull color, “US Army” logo painted in slightly different shade. (1980 copters may not have used CARC, but otherwise the description of dark, non-reflective paint is accurate.) If the scenario in case is true, they probably would not have been flying with their position lights on. He feels it is unlikely they could have been clearly visible. 

Searchlights- Chinooks are equipped with two rotating lights near the nose, one white and the other an invisible pink light for NVG. He feels that a search like L.L. Walker describes is unlikely, as they would be using the pink invisible lights, and flying in groups of three. Formation flying requires primary attention to be focused on the lead aircraft.




Military Secrecy & UFOs

I commented that the large number of men involved makes it difficult to understand that why pilots, command or support crew have not talked about the case. He agrees that is troubling, but does feel that military discipline and loyalty is generally effective in preventing leaks. He cited Aldrich Ames as an example of how leaks might be punished.

The 160th was initially classified, centering on antiterrorist missions.  In 1983, they had several bad crashes related to the testing of the night vision equipment. Some of these events became fuel for accusation and speculation.
In the early 1980s, there was a great deal of speculation about the Night Stalkers and their activity, and accusations of conspiratorial activities like them faking crashes in order to provide cover stories for man killed in secret missions. 

When the 160th loosened up sharing details on their operations, the press lost interest once they were no longer secret. They were able to get back to business without the distractions.



Secret Military Facilities?

Secrecy: Hidden Assets?

Every CH-47 is accounted for (They are precious and in demand.) Equipment secrets are rare, most secrets are about mission profiles. He noted that he held a top secret clearance while part of the unit, but that many things are compartmentalized and shared with only those with a need to know. similar techniques and methods are used by civilian contractors working of the military., they only see a small piece of the puzzle unless it is necessary.

I asked Russ if we had secret underground bases full of armament like “the Pit” seen in G.I. Joe, but he said no. It was far more likely that equipment would be gathered from conventional bases and used on secret missions as needed. The military may have additional assets unknown to the public, but if so, it would have to be small in number.  
He thinks it is unlikely that there is unknown hardware in operation. Its more likely that if they wanted to camouflage their presence it might be done by flying commercial civilian vehicles. 



UFO Secrets

Russ said he’d never heard any UFO tales among the many war stories told of the unit.  He does believe that the US is keeping some UFO secrets, and that there was a UFO crash at Roswell and possibly two other ones in the modern era. He seems to think UFOs are tied to the history of the planet, and that it might relate to our pre-history, ancient civilizations, things long forgotten. As previously mentioned, Russ says that military discipline and loyalty is generally effective in preventing leaks, but there are other methods used as well. Government tactics to prevent UFOs from being exposed and taken seriously, are ridicule, intimidation and threats. 

I asked him if he had thoughts on what the UFO could have been if it were a military craft. He didn’t have a particular match in mind but speculated that it could be something like an atomic rocket engine or unmanned vehicle test. He knew of no specific candidate projects or vehicles to explain the UFO.


Phantoms?

Conclusions

I’d asked Russ to check with his contacts and see if anyone remembered flying in right time and place to be seen by the Cash-Landrum witnesses.
My contact from Honey Badger does not believe that there were any incidents like this one that they were involved in. The other thing is that the Honey Badger training was conducted out of Norton AFB in AZ Which is a far piece from that town in TX.”

He doubts the military was involved in the Cash-Landrum case. Russ’ conclusion is that while the CH-47 matches the equipment used by his unit, the methods, techniques, behavior and reported details of the helicopters make it an unlikely match for an operation by Task Force 158. The number of helicopters involved is incredible. He is also at a loss to offer another plausible candidate. 

The one scenario he feels could explain their involvement is an incredible coincidence, them flying in the area as the UFO happened to be in distress.
It is conceivable that the helo's were conducting training on a completely unrelated purpose and that the route just happened to coincide with the appearance of the object.”