SPACE UNKNOWN - Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena or UAPs, the new acronym for UFOs doesn’t have a classy ring to it. The Pentagon’s decision to rename UFOs as UAPs is a big letdown. UAP is dull, unexciting, hard to remember, who really cares?. It’s an ugly acronym that takes the fun and sport out of ufology.
But they’re still out there! UFOs.
For example, Lt. Cmdr. Alex Dietrich of “60 Minutes” fame saw one on November 14, 2004, as a newly winged pilot of a regular training mission with the USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group. A very fast-moving erratic object came into her view. Her leader Cmdr. Dave Fravor instructed her to “hang back and be his wingman” as he flew closer to inspect the strange object. The UFO started “mirroring his flight movements” and then “it suddenly disappeared.” After the incident, she and her commander agreed if they had been solo, they would not have reported the sighting. Intimidation by colleagues and the press overrides the reality of the moment to avoid the epithet “UFO freak.”
Several sightings by highly qualified personnel include: “Aircrews flying in ‘exclusive use’ training areas off the U.S. East Coast frequently observe unknown objects exhibiting highly anomalous flight characteristics.” (Source: Stunned by UFOs, ‘Exasperate’ Fighter Pilots Get Little Help from Pentagon, The Hill, July 8, 2022)
According to Navy fighter pilot Ryan Graves: “A cube in a sphere” is how to describe the UFOs. Another test pilot, also in 2014, reported: “A cube-in-a-sphere riding with him within 30 feet before it ‘zipped off.” Another pilot in a F/A-18F fighter in the same year had “a near collision with a cube-in-a-sphere” object.
UFOs have been spotted by some of the most credible witnesses on the planet, highly skilled military-trained pilots and radar operators: “The main revelation is that technology exists that is capable of performing flying maneuvers that shatter our perceptions of propulsion, flight controls, material science, and even physics.” (Source: Sorry, but it’s Probably Not Aliens – So, What Are Navy Pilots Seeing in the Skies? AMU-Edge, June 9, 2021)
“The Nimitz encounter with the Tic Tac proved that exotic technology that is widely thought of as the domain of science fiction actually exists. It is real. It isn’t the result of altered perception, someone’s lucid dream, a stray weather balloon, or swamp gas. Someone or something has crossed the technological Rubicon and has obtained what some would call the Holy Grail of aerospace engineering… What was strange, the pilots said, was that the video showed objects accelerating to hypersonic speed, making sudden stops and instantaneous turns — something beyond the physical limits of a human crew,” Ibid.
A June 2021 Pentagon report claims US Navy pilots reported 144 sightings of UAPs (UFOs) since 2004. Interestingly, according to the Pentagon, most of the sightings “probably do represent physical objects.” (Source: Footage of Bizarre Metallic UFO Shown by Pentagon Officials at Historic Hearing, LiveScience, May 17, 2022)
“Deputy Director of Naval Intelligence Scott Bray stated: ‘I do not have an explanation for what this specific object is.’ According to Bray, since the release of last year's report, the number of reported UAP sightings has grown to more than 400 and the incidents — many of which occurred in military training areas and designated airspaces and remain unidentified — were ‘frequent and continuing,” Ibid.
Pilots observe objects that remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly or move at considerable speed without any discernible means of propulsion. Of concern, U.S. military craft have been involved in 11 near-collisions.
According to Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Ronald Moultrie, a new group referenced as AOIMSG has been established to track UAPs. To date, the Pentagon cannot rule out the possibility that sightings could be extraterrestrial life, and confirming; “There are elements of our government engaged in looking for extraterrestrial life,” Ibid.
“The Defense Intelligence Agency's secretive Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) that ran from 2007 to 2012, reported more than 300 medical accounts of human interaction with UFOs — some of which included burn injuries, brain damage, nerve damage, heart palpitations and headaches from alleged close encounters with ‘anomalous vehicles,” Ibid.
Finally, in this new era of the Pentagon’s approach to UFOs, the ’little green men” jokes are officially over. “Last summer, David Norquist, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, announced the formal existence of the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Forde. The 2021 Intelligence Authorization Act, signed this past December, stipulates that the government had a hundred and eighty days to gather and analyze… In a recent interview, John Ratcliffe, the former director of National Intelligence, emphasized that the issue was no longer to be taken lightly. ‘When we talk about sightings… we are talking about objects that have been seen by Navy or Air Force pilots or have been picked up by satellite imagery, that frankly engage in actions that are difficult to explain, movements that are hard to replicate, that we don’t have the technology for or are travelling at speeds that exceed the sound barrier without a sonic boom.” (Source: How The Pentagon Started Taking U.F.O.S Seriously, The New Yorker, April 30, 2021)
Rebuttals by scientists that “flying saucers didn’t exist because they couldn’t exist” go back to the first public sightings but are now soundly rejected as the US finally comes to grips with the reality of credible witness sightings. It’s hard to discount one’s own highly trained military personnel.
The first official close-range sighting of a UFO occurred in 1948 when two Eastern Airline pilots in a DC-3 observed a “large, cigar-shaped light speed toward them at a tremendous velocity before making an impossibly abrupt turn and vanishing into a clear sky,” Ibid.
Subsequently, Project Blue Book reviewed 12,000 cases finding “701 unexplained.” As a follow up to Project Blue Book, the 1968 Condon Report, a thousand-page “Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects” concluded that 91 specially selected Blue Book cases found 30 remained as “official mysteries.” Tellingly, these past efforts have always been seen as efforts to discount the existence of UFOs.
Another very credible and highly exposed close-range sighting of a craft occurred in 2006 at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. A metallic disk (witnesses identified it as such) hovered over gate C-17 for several minutes before suddenly accelerating straight up, leaving a perfect circle in the cloud layer. Actual witnesses (several) refused to be recognized or cited when the Chicago Tribune published an account of the incident for fear of intimidation. Interestingly, a taped conversation between a United Airlines supervisor and an air-traffic controller: “Hey, did you see a flying disk out by C17?” Audible laugher… “A flying… you’re seeing flying disks?” … “Well, that’s what a pilot in the ramp area at c17 told us.” … “I haven’t seen anything Sue, and if I did I wouldn’t admit to it.”
What is official now but was not been treated seriously over the past decades is a new level of competence and resolute seriousness. “The U.A.P. issue is being taken very seriously now even compared to where it was two or three years ago,” claims a former Pentagon official,” Ibid.
Pilots are encouraged to report incidents without fear of scorn or censure. Also, it’s believed that the government already has remarkable physical evidence that it has not released to the public. According to The New Yorker article: “The former Pentagon official implied that the government possesses stark visual documentation.” Several other interviewees endorsed that claim.
“In the past two years, the Pentagon’s U.A.P. investigators have distributed two classified intelligence papers on secure networks that allegedly contain images and videos of bizarre spectacles, including a cube-shaped object and a large equilateral triangle emerging from the ocean. One of the reports brooked the subject of “alien” or “non-human” technology, but also provided a litany of prosaic possibilities,” Ibid.
Moreover, according to The New Yorker article, virtually all astrobiologists believe that “we are not alone.” Astronomers at the SETI Institute believe we’ll find “inconvertible proof of intelligent life by 2036.” They claim there are hundreds of millions of potentially habitable exoplanets in just our galaxy alone. And there may be 2 trillion galaxies in the observable universe.
Our galaxy is just one among numerous galaxies, and it isn’t even considered a big galaxy. The Milky Way stretches for 105,700 light-years in diameter and may contain at least 100 billion planets and 400 billion stars. The largest galaxy ever discovered, IC1101, contains over 100 trillion stars. The possibilities are boundless. Astrobiologists say our civilization is most likely mediocre or inferior and millions or even billions of years behind distant neighbors. (Source: The Nine Planets)
In a fascinating twist of fate, the author of The New Yorker story met with a lieutenant colonel of the Air Force who encountered a UFO that registered on his plane’s sensors. He never reported the incident because of fear of intimidation, but when the Nimitz story came out in the New York Times, his buddies, whom he had privately confided his story of seeing “a 40-foot-long craft that disobeyed known principles of aerodynamics and looked exactly like the Tic Tac seen by Commander Fravor,” they called to tell him they apologized for calling him “an idiot.”
They are out there!
(Robert Hunziker, MA, economic history DePaul University, awarded membership in Pi Gamma Mu International Academic Honor Society in Social Sciences is a freelance writer and environmental journalist who has over 200 published articles appearing in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide.)