It seems that in the realm of UFO sightings and encounters they often seem to be drawn to certain places or regions of the world. For whatever reasons, these mysterious forces seem to gravitate towards certain areas, with these places seeming to boast an inexplicable number of reports compared with other locations. Most of the time there seems to be no knowing why this should be, but in some cases it seems plain that if there are otherworldly forces visiting our planet there is a good reason for why they come to one type of location in particular, and that is nuclear weapons facilities. Rather eerily and spookily, UFOs have long seemed to be intensely attracted to such places, and one place with its share of intense encounters is an Air Force base and nuclear weapons facility in the U.S. state of Montana.
Located in Cascade County, Montana, just outside the city of Great Falls, Malmstrom Air Force Base was originally constructed in 1942 as Great Falls Army Air Base. It was envisioned to be a strategic bomber base for World War II, also serving as a training base for four Bombardment Groups, the 2nd, 385th, 390th, and 401st, as well as a location for assembling various aircraft, including P-39 Airacobras, C-47 Skytrains, B-25 Mitchells, and A-20 Havocs. After World War II, the base became important as a strategic defense site during the Cold War era, playing an important role in many missions, and from 1959 it became the home of the 341st Strategic Missile Wing and the 10th Strategic Missile Squadron, acting as a base for nuclear ICBM missiles. By 1967, it was the largest in the United States, covering 23,500 square miles, and not long after that it boasted a total of 200 Minuteman II missiles. The base’s missiles were on the forefront of America’s nuclear defense, on constant alert during the Cold War era, and were on a high level of strategic alert and a hair trigger during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Yet it seems as though there were other forces besides the Soviets that were interested in all of those nukes.
There have been many reports of some very intense UFO activity at Malmstrom AFB over the years, much of it compiled by UFO researcher Robert L. Hastings, author of The UFO/Nukes Connection, who through Freedom of Information Act requests and interviews with numerous witnesses has managed to piece together a rather ominous tapestry of UFO reports from several nuclear-equipped Air Force Bases, chief among these being Malmstrom. Hastings has been researching the phenomenon involving UFOs and nukes for over 30 years, and some of the reports he has uncovered from Malmstrom are sobering, to say the least. One of these people with a tale to tell is former USAF Minuteman ICBM targeting officer 1st Lt. Robert C. Jamison, who says that in March of 1967, Air Fore Security police began to chatter over the radios about a UFO sighting in the vicinity of the base, after which there were orders from their superiors instructing them to get underground if any UFO was to appear near one of the silos, as well as orders to keep superiors informed of the UFOs’ movements, and shortly after this 10 of the base’s Minuteman ICBMs suddenly and inexplicably shut down, which required his team to go restart them. This wouldn’t even be the end of it, as Hastings adds:
Jamison said that immediately after the missile shutdown incident, for a period of approximately two weeks, his team received a special UFO briefing before being dispatched to the field. Jamison said that approximately two weeks after the full-flight missile shutdown, his team responded to another, partial shutdown—involving four or five ICBMs. Prior to being dispatched, Jamison’s team received a report that the missile failures had occurred immediately after a UFO was sighted over the flight's Launch Control Facility. Jamison recalls that this incident took place at a flight located south or southwest of Great Falls, possibly India Flight, and during daylight hours. Jamison said that he had subsequently spoken with several individuals, mostly missile security guards, who had witnessed various UFO-related incidents. He reports that they were “visibly shaken” by their experiences. Jamison’s statements are important because they indicate that the Air Force was fully aware of UFO involvement in at least two missile flight shutdown incidents prior to dispatching the missile maintenance teams to restart the ICBMs. Specifically, according to Jamison, the 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron undertook certain precautions and formally implemented various procedures to protect the teams’ safety while in the field. In this respect, his testimony is unprecedented.
Were these UFOs responsible for the missile shutdowns, and did the military know about them, hence their detailed instructions on how to proceed? Who knows? It seems like 1967 was the year for these UFOs to be taking a very keen interest in the base, because there were several other reports from that same year. One of these comes from former US Air Force Captain Robert Salas, who says that on the morning of March 16, 1967 security forces reported a red light glowing in the sky near the front gate. This light was soon joined by another, this one white in color, and both of them flew about in a zig-zag pattern. Salas wasn’t sure how seriously to take this report at first, but when another panicked call came in from security who claimed that the lights were still there and one of the men had been injured, after which the call went dead.
Salas immediately contacted his superior, Lt. Fred Meiwald, and as they were speaking a security alarm went off indicating a “no go” alert, meaning that missiles had been somehow disabled. In this case, as with Jamison, a full flight of 10 missiles had gone offline. As this was going on, more security air control personnel were calling in to say that the lights were still hovering around the gate, and then they suddenly sped off, the missiles coming right back online as soon as they were gone. An investigation into the incident by a team of engineers from the Boeing company could find no rational reason for why the missiles had shut down and been knocked off alert, their best guess being that it had been the result of some kind of EMP pulse. But who directed that pulse? Salas was convinced it was directly related to the UFOs seen, but that it was not an aggressive gesture, saying:
They could have a lot more damage, permanent damage, to our weapons systems, and they didn’t. If they wanted to destroy them, with all the powers they seem to have, I think they could have done that job, so I personally don’t think this was a hostile intent.
Another report comes from a Staff Sgt. Louis D. Kenneweg, who at the time of these incidents was stationed at Malmstrom as a Minuteman ICBM maintenance clerk. His bizarre story begins one night as he was driving to the base to report for duty when he saw something in the sky, of which he would say:
As I traveled down one of the roads parallel to the flightline. I saw something that I first thought was a private plane’s lights, blinking. As I watched it get closer, I realized that it wasn't blinking at all, but zig-zagging. First here, then there, traveling too fast for a plane, then looming over the flightline. I got up late, and I knew that I had little time, but I stopped anyway. I opened the car door, got out, and focused on the lights. I watched it as long as I could, without being late to work. I remember saying to myself that this pilot was going to be in a lot of trouble, coming across the runway, or at least across the Air Force Base property. I don’t remember it traveling that close to me, but I do remember the image of it disappearing in a low southerly trajectory over the [MIMS] hangar. Of course, it was much farther away than it appeared. At that point, it wasn't ‘blinking’ anymore but had more of a glow. It appeared as a bright light the size of the moon, on a cloudy night, although I don't remember it being cloudy.
He continued to the base and found it to be in a state of chaos and high activity when he arrived. Obviously, he had not been the only one to have seen the strange object, as the whole area was buzzing with frantic activity, with several large trucks being loaded and missile maintenance teams being sent out into the field. Although no one directly informed him of what had happened or what all the fuss was about, it did not take long for him to hear rumors whispered by the other men. He would say:
The barracks was buzzing. Stories about how when they got to the missile silos and found no damage, and how all the batteries were dead. I also heard a story that UFOs were seen on radar, then they were gone. Our missile sites each had a tertiary power system. The main power source was delivered by Montana Power. Telephone poles, transformers and wire. The second system was the diesel generators, and the third was the battery back-up within the silo itself. Numerous reports came back saying that they had found no damage to the fences, wires, transformers, microwave intrusion system, locks on the three-foot-thick concrete blast doors, or to the batteries. So, no evidence of damage from intruders or animals, lightning or fire. Just three sources of power vanished and the batteries were dead. As I recall, there were other nights where the guys would come back and look a little shaken, all within that same time-period.
In that same time frame we have the account of Airman 1st Class David Hughes, who was stationed at Malmstrom between 1966 to 1967 as an Air Policeman with the 341st Combat Defense Squadron. At the time, he was working at what he calls the “Foxtrot” Flight Launch Control Facility, and he says that on many occasions he and the others would see a strange light in the sky between Choteau and Augusta, Montana, often hovering about near the base and seeming to circle around it. Although there were no inexplicable missile malfunctions reported, it was definitely eerie, and he has said of it:
This light would move at incredible speeds, make right-angle moves, and continue for hours. When seeking further information from wing command, we were often insulted when told it was a Telstar satellite. On one occasion we were told by other friends working in the air traffic control tower at the base that aircraft had been launched to seek to identify a strange radar echo that had appeared on their screens and on the screens of the local airport. This was later denied the next day, but if memory serves, the local newspaper had an story on it the next day. This must have happened sometime in early 1967, or late 1966. All I know is that some strange things consumed our attention many nights while on patrol. We patrolled from Augusta to Choteau each night and frequently saw something that lent credence to the UFO concept. To us, ‘UFO’ simply meant it was an Unidentified Flying Object, either from our military or some unknown source. We never believed the satellite story. However, when we learned that the jets had been scrambled and the next day it was denied, then we knew something was up.
In later years reports of UFOs at the base would continue. From 1975 we have the report made by Staff Sgt. Joseph M. Chassey, a former Minuteman ICBM maintenance technician with the 341st Missile Maintenance Squadron. He claims that in the fall of that year, he overheard radio chatter between Air Force Security Police excitedly talking about a strange light hovering right over the weapons storage facility. The following day he would hear more rumors from a colleague, who told him that two helicopters had actually been scrambled to intercept it, but that it had flown away at high speed towards the town of Belt, only to circle back around to hover over the storage area again, each time speeding away and coming back when the helicopters tried to chase it, with Chassey saying “It flat outran the helicopters. We heard that it zipped out to Belt and back to the base in no time.”
What did this craft want and why was it so interested in that storage area? No one has a clue. In that same year, a Lt. Col. Robert Peisher was advised by the local police that there had been a series of cattle mutilations near the missile sites and ICBM launch facilities, although what connection this may have to what was being seen is unknown. Reports of UFO activity at the base continued on right into the 1990s. In 1992, a base security policeman by the name of Staff Sgt. Joseph M. Brown says that he and his partner were posted at one of the missile silos, staking it out due to an alarm system malfunction that had also knocked out power on the ground. Their job was to make sure the silo was safe until the systems went back online, and they were taking turns on watch. As his partner slept, Peisher noticed a bright white light in the sky, “moving erratically.” The light apparently was lurking about near one of the silos, speeding off and then coming back to hover, which was enough to get him to wake his partner. He told Hastings of what had happened:
This light was doing some wild things in the sky, sudden direction changes, moving very fast, then stopping, then shooting off in another direction. I watched this for about 15 to 20 minutes. I started getting spooked, so I reached out the window of the truck and started banging on the camper shell to wake my partner up. He finally came around the front, asking me what was wrong. I pointed to the light and told him I'd been watching it for around 20 minutes and I didn't know what it was. He got into the passenger side of the truck and we kept watching this thing doing its acrobatics.
Before long, their radio came alive with security chatter from people who were all seeing the same exact thing. The mysterious object would lurk about the area until the sun began to come up, after which it disappeared off into the distance. According to Peisher, all of the security teams who had witnessed the object were later debriefed and told by their superiors in no uncertain terms not to discuss what they had seen with anyone. In 1995 we have a case from January 20 of that year, when an Alert response Team sighted a light in the sky that they could not explain. They radioed it to a missile maintenance team at a nearby silo, who confirmed that they saw it too. This light was apparently very large, with other multicolored lights along its sides, and described as moving slowly over the missile field. After some time, it moved off into the distance. It would later turn out that there had been several sightings of a UFO in the region in the days before and after this incident.
More recently still is an account from February of 1996 from Tech. Sgt. Jeff Goodrich, who was the Team Chief of Missile Handling for the 341st Maintenance Squadron. He claims that he and his team were working at a remote site called the Missile Roll Transfer Building when they observed a formation of five triangular-shaped objects flying completely silently and in unison near the base, and on two occasions stopping to hover motionlessly. Calls to Malmstrom’s air traffic control tower and that of the nearby civilian airport showed that they had not picked up anything on radar that could explain what they had seen. In the meantime, the objects slowly moved over a portion of the missile field and then continued off into the distance. These reports from Malmstrom AFB and others like them are only the tip of the iceberg, and there have been accounts very similar to these from other Air Force bases harboring nuclear weapons. Why should this be and what do these mysterious forces want? Hastings believes that it is all tied to our leaps and bounds in nuclear weapons since World War II, and that indeed the increase in worldwide UFO sightings in general since that time is likely related to our nuclear capability. He says of this:
Considering these and similar accounts—too numerous and credible to dismiss—I would argue, as others have before me, that the heightened presence of the UFO phenomenon since the end of World War II is a direct consequence of the advent of the Nuclear Age. To suggest that this is the only explanation for widespread UFO sightings during our own era would be presumptuous, simplistic, and undoubtedly inaccurate. Nevertheless, I believe that the nuclear weapons-related incidents are integral to an understanding of the mystery at hand.
Reports like this have come in from various nuclear facilities throughout the United States and paint a rather spooky picture. There definitely seem to be some correlation between UFO reports and nuclear facilities, and it leaves us to wonder what is going on here. Are they watching these places, perhaps from time to time letting us know that they know what we are up to and that they can shut it all down? Or is this all due to some other phenomena, being misinterpreted and misidentified even by these experienced men? It is hard to say just what is going on here, but the fact that so much strangeness in the skies seems to go on over nuclear weapon facilities seems to be decidedly creepy at the very least.