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Commander Graham Bethune

Cmdr. Graham Bethune was a retired Navy commander pilot with a top-secret clearance. He was a VIP Plane Commander who flew most of the high-ranking officers and civilians from Washington D.C. In his testimony he explains how he was flying a group of VIP’s and other pilots into Argentia, Newfoundland when they all witnessed a 300 foot UFO that traveled 10,000 feet straight up in a fraction of a second toward their plane and was on radar. He has documented the event extensively. It occurred on Feb. 10, 1951.

Pilot Graham Bethune.

"My name is Graham Bethune. I am a commander, retired pilot from the Navy and I went through the regular Navy program of training pilots. I graduated in 1943 from Pensacola, the Academy Air. And of course all Navy pilots are trained navigators, which is very important when you are going to talk about what we’re going to discuss here, because we had to know all of the star systems and we had to know these types of things. I navigated maybe 13 years around the planet with the stars. And when I first graduated from Pensacola in 1943, I went to the South Atlantic and we were hunting German submarines. This was all night flying. Everything we did was at night in patrol planes.

I was transferred to Air Transport Squadron One in 1950. I was sent to Keflavik, Iceland, along with two other officers after a meeting that they had in Washington, D.C., where Iceland was involved in seeing UFOs over Keflavik, Iceland, and they wanted troops up there to protect them.

During our meeting they were explaining to us why they had requested the troops and what they were seeing. And we asked them if they could really go into more detail about the type of craft that they were seeing. And their explanation was that they were seeing most of them at night -- lighted craft, circular. And we knew coming from a naval air test center, we tested everything there, that we had nothing like that that we had tested.

So I asked them, well, what did our government tell you that they were? And they said, your government said they were experimental, probably experimental Russian bombers (laughter).

The flight was normally about ten hours. But this particular night we had a 16-knot head wind. And about maybe 300 to 400 miles outside of Argentia, Newfoundland I saw something below the horizon, on the water, that looked like approaching a city at night. It was just kind of an ambient light, no definition whatsoever. But it looked like the same thing that you would see if you were approaching a large city at night. So I watched it for a while. It was about 1:00 am.

And then finally I called Kinden’s attention to it, who was sitting in the right seat. He was route checking me. And he took a look at it and he didn’t know what it was. We couldn’t figure out … there was nothing out there. We had passed over the guard ship already. In those days, they had a guard ship that was between Iceland and between Newfoundland. The guard ship had given us the latest weather. The weather was clear. There was no Northern Light activity, which they give as part of the weather report. And we had ship plots. There were no ships plotted in that area. So we asked control if he could give us another fix and find out if we were really on course. We thought maybe we had drifted, that we were seeing Labrador or maybe the tip of Greenland. So he said, no, we were right on course.

So we watched it for a while and we were drifting to the right of it. Our heading was 222 degrees, 225 degrees. We were at 10,000 feet, I would say it was 40 miles away originally. When we were about 25 or 30 miles away we could see defined lights and there was a pattern on the water. So, with that pattern we couldn’t figure out what was going on. Maybe the Navy was doing something that was highly classified, recovering something down in the ocean or something of this nature, we thought. And it was a circular pattern. And it was very large.

So I sent the crew chief back to get the other plane commander, Al Jones, because they wanted to land at Argentia. There were 31 passengers and we had two VIP crews that had pilots also, and patrol plane pilots. And at the time that they came forward, the lights went out on the water. There was nothing on the water. This was about 15 miles away. I mean it was just dark.

Now standing behind me was the navigator, the radioman, and also the plane captain – the cockpit was full. All of a sudden we saw, on the water, a yellow halo that was very, very small, about 15 miles away. And it came up to 10,000 feet like that – a fraction of a second.

This is an annotated drawing by Graham Bethune explaning the movements and changes
of aspect of the flying disk during the whole observation. (Credit: ufologie.net)

And I thought that it was going to go right through us. So I disengaged the autopilot, pushed the nose over, because I was going to go under it at the angle that it was coming toward me.

So what happened, the minute that I did that, it was up at our altitude and I could see nothing outside of the cockpit but this craft. And so I didn’t know which way to go. And then all of a sudden I heard a racket. I didn’t know what it was. And I said, Fred, what the hell was that? He looked around and he said, everyone was ducking in the back of us and they collided and they are all lying on the deck back there, scrambling on the deck. So when I looked back it wasn’t there. And he said, it’s over here on the right hand side. Now it was about a mile or so away. It kind of drifted forward, maybe to a position five miles away, and that’s where it stayed with us for quite some time.

This is when we could first see it wasn’t above our altitude. It was below our altitude. But it was still above the horizon where you could see the side of the craft. You could see the dome and you could see the color around the perimeter of the craft.

And then we knew that it was a friendly encounter. We knew that it knew that we were there. We knew that it came out to see us. But we didn’t think at that time that the reason that it did this was because they wanted to show us what the Icelanders were talking about.

So we watched it for a while. And Al says, well, let him get in the seat. So I let him get in the seat and he disengaged the autopilot and was going to chase it. Now we had a head wind of about 60-knots, so our ground speed was only maybe 120, 130-knots. And so he wasn’t going to go too far in chasing this thing. But he did turn to chase it.

So I decided that I would go back to see how the passengers reacted and also talk to the doctor who was back there. And so I went to him first, I said, Doc, did you see what we saw? And he said, yeah, he looked me straight in the eye and said, yeah, it was a flying saucer. He says, I didn’t look at it because I don’t believe in such things. Well, it took me a couple of seconds to realize what he was saying. He couldn’t believe, being a psychiatrist, in that kind of thing. So I went back forward and I said, Al, whatever you do don’t tell anybody we saw anything, they will lock us up as soon as we get on the ground. He says, it’s too late. I just called Gander control, to see if they could track this by radar. So that’s how the story got out.

So when we landed at Argentia, the Air Force was there and they interrogated us. And the captain that did the interrogation did a real good job. But you could tell this wasn’t his first time that he had ever interrogated anybody as far as this type of encounter was concerned. He made a good report, which went to the headquarters of the Air Force in Washington, D.C.

Initially the color was yellow. Since then I’ve learned from the boys upstairs why we saw different colors as it was coming toward us. The colors were around the perimeter. And it turned from a yellow to an orange to almost a fiery red and then almost a purplish red. And they said that that had to do with the amount of energy being used or dissipated. It had to do with the power so to speak. And so when it slowed down, close to us, in a fraction of a second, it was back to the yellow range. And it was foggy around it to where it was like a plasma mist or something of this nature.

When we were asked about the craft's size, 300 feet came to my mind. And when I got the report out of the Archives in 1991 I had never seen anybody else’s report, everyone said it was anywhere from 250 to 350 feet in diameter. And when I talked to the others they said it was just something that they knew and estimated. Now the velocity when it left us was estimated from between 1,000 miles an hour to 2,000 miles an hour. And when I looked at the report, Al Jones had estimated 1,800 miles an hour. Mine was 1,000. Another was 1,500 miles, but in that range. It turns out that the radar report, which I have never seen said it was 1,800 miles an hour

We had nothing that would go that fast. And of course I was at the naval air test center. This is where we had our test pilot training school. This is where we did all the highly classified tests of aircraft. And to my knowledge we had nothing anywhere near that speed or anything that was circular.

Now this craft went 15 miles in that short period of time (one second or so). Now you could calculate how fast it came toward us. And then just like put the brakes on in front of us. You take something 300 feet in diameter, and you don’t see much out of your cockpit window.

I’ve been corresponding with a magnetic engineer for several years that’s writing a book. He’s already gotten pretty close to 100 pilot reports (of UFOs with magnetic effects on the aircraft). And I gave him, in detail, everything that happened.

When I went to set the automatic pilot back, the magnetic compass, which was in the center of the panel, was swinging back and forth. I said to Fred, I said, did you see that? He said, you should have seen it when the craft was close. He said it was spinning. And so then we looked at the other compasses. At that time the craft was sitting out maybe five miles from us. We had what we called Bird Dogs. They are low frequency radio components that will point to the station when you tune in the station. These two Bird Dogs were pointing toward the craft. We had two other compasses. We had a remote compass, which is out in the wing; it was reacting. There were a total of five different directional gyros in that airplane. And out of the five, three of them were acting up.

I was told that it was tracked by radar. He said, as far as he knew the radar report was sent in to the Air Force Headquarters in Washington, D.C. It usually goes from there to Wright Patterson AFB. But my boss found the report in the Archives in Wright Patterson in Project Blue Book after talking to Colonel Watson, and he confirmed the speed of 1,800 miles. I said where did you find that out? He said, well, it was a radar report and it said that. So something happened to the radar report before they microfilmed it. Because what I have on microfilm I got from the Archives (and the radar report is missing). I was told by a friend of mine at Wright Patterson AFB that I’ve known for years that they had allowed Steven Spielberg microfilm this, the Blue Book records or whatever for Close Encounters of the Third Kind. So he (Spielberg) had a pretty high clearance. He had to be associated with some of the … well, you know who, as far as the control group is concerned.

The other plane commander I located many years ago but he was with this company and he wouldn’t talk. After he retired, I got a hold of him again in 1996 and I flew out to where he lived and I said, what we will do is we’ll just take a tape recorder and we’ll just discuss it. So that’s what happened. In the report that I wrote, his statement is in there, several pages of his statement. His schematic of what he saw is in there. And it was amazing how they matched.

The document that I found [See Government Documents] was the official document that the Air Force had put together. And it was originally filed under Project Grudge.

But on the front page it says Project Twinkle where they put a lot of reports that they had to get rid of somehow.

There were 18 pages according to the Archives. But they only at that time, Admiral McCormick, who had relieved Eisenhower, was the NATO Commander, the Supreme Allied Commander. Now his aides had approached me. Everybody seemed to know about this event. Like Admiral Radford, who became the first Joint Chiefs of Staff, his aides knew about it because he had talked to me about it. So there were quite a few who knew about this. So this was how I learned a lot that really was not official and was really not in any books.

Later in May, I had an Intelligence officer come to the house. And he showed me pictures. The first pictures that I had ever seen. There was nothing, absolutely nothing there that looked close to it. There was one that was 100 feet in diameter. It didn’t look like it was damaged too much.

So he’s the one that I asked a lot of questions. I said what happens to this report. And he told me exactly what happens. He says there is a committee. Now these are his words: “There is a joint intelligence committee…” And he said, “… and they make the decisions as to where it goes.”

They were coming to me a lot of times and showing me photographs. A lot of them looked like what we would call foo fighters. A lot of them looked like just a round, bright disc of some kind.

There was a Secretary of the Navy Kimball … I was what you would call a VIP Plane Commander in the Flag Division, which flew most of the high-ranking officers and civilians out of Washington, D.C. Several of these officials told me what they had seen. For example, there were two craft flying together out in the Pacific. And a bright disc came up beside one of them and stayed with them for a while and flew around it. Our office came under the headquarters of Wright Patterson. It was a central district. You had pilot meetings. You had all these types of meetings. And I would go down there about once or twice a month to the meetings, plus I would go maybe two or three times a year for seminars … it would be a week or so.

Once, while on the flight line where we parked our plane we weren’t too far from what looked like a hanger. It looked like a corrugated metal hanger. And it was open most of the time. Every time my boss and I would go by there he couldn’t understand why I was not interested in going and looking at what was behind the metal wall back there. And he told me basically that they had a craft (UFO) back there. And he told me basically that they did have ET bodies there. Now he’s not the first one that ever told me that.

From discussions that he had had with Admiral Forney he learned that Admiral Forney (who was our missile chief and had spent time at White Sands) was convinced that craft from other planets were visiting us. He kept bringing up Colonel Watson also. He said Colonel Watson let him look at a lot of these files, plus he was the one that told him about what they had there. He saw what they had there [the ET craft and bodies], and as I said he couldn’t understand why I wasn’t interested. I said, well, really I don’t have any interest because I will never be able to talk about it. And I know enough now from what I’ve seen that I know they exist. It was a craft at Wright Patterson AFB. It was a craft that did crash somewhere.

And the bodies that he was talking about were extraterrestrial.

Well, I’m convinced of what I saw. To my knowledge we wouldn’t have had anything of that size. And I’m certain that it was from another planet, not from this planet. Our technology was not such at that time that we could have any kind of a craft like that, I’m sure of that.

I had a top-secret clearance. But here we get back to the need to know. And I am sure that in a lot of cases the other people had the need to know about certain things that I didn’t have. And so I’m sure that if we had anything from another planet, that some of these engineers would be involved, whether they were magnetic engineers or aeronautical engineers or whatever they were, they would be involved.

Regarding Corso’s book, I was involved in some things that I’m suspicious were of the same nature. They were asking us to see if we could find a contractor in the area that could build something like this, to back-engineer something like this. And we never thought about it when he said, well, it wasn’t our technology.

Later in the ‘60s, we were just moving into a new home. My son was about eight years old. And we were sodding the backyard. And I went into the house to wash up and he came into the house and says, dad, mommy wants you outside. I said, what for? He said, we’re looking at flying saucers. Well, I thought to myself what the heck does he know about flying saucers? So I go outside and here she is standing and pointing to something up above us. And you know what it was? It was a ship and there were smaller craft all around it. So I go back in the house to get the binoculars because I wanted to get a good look at this. So I come back and the ship itself had gone but I got a chance to see two or three of the small ones. So when we got back in the house I said to my wife, how did you find out about flying saucers? Because we were not supposed to tell even our wives of our encounter, which was in 1951."

Commander Graham E. Bethune talks about his ufo sighting



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