March 16, 1967
Location: Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, United States
the witness Robert Salas: "I received a call from
my security guard who was quite frightened as he reported
that an unidentifiable flying object was hovering immediately
above the front gate. The object was illuminated by a
red glow.... many of our missiles became disabled... a
similar incident had occurred at another site and they
had all of their missiles disabled while UFOs were observed
directly over the launch sites."
Robert Salas speaking at the Disclosure Project press
Minuteman nuclear missile in silo.
Robert Salas, (MUFON)
to original source]
incident happened almost thirty years ago. Until about
two years ago, I had not given it much thought. In the
spring of 1967 I was stationed at Malmstrom AFB, Montana.
My recollection of the incident was that, while on duty
as a Deputy Missile Combat Crew Commander (DMCCC) at a
Minuteman Launch Control Facility (LCF) during the morning
hours, I received a call from my NCO in charge of site
security topside. He said that he and other guards had
observed some unidentified flying objects in the vicinity.
He said they had over flown the LCF a few times before
he phoned. He could only distinguish them as "lights"
at that time.
did not take this report very seriously and simply told
him to keep observing them and report back if he saw anything
more significant. At the time, I believed the first call
to be a joke. Five or ten minutes later, I received a
second call from my security NCO. This time he was much
more agitated and distraught. He stated that there was
a UFO hovering just outside the front gate! He wanted
to know what he should do. 1 don't recall what I said
except to secure the fenced area. As we were talking,
he said he had to go because one of the guards had been
immediately woke my commander who had been taking his
rest period and started to relate the phone conversations.
Within seconds, our missiles began shutung down from "Alert"
status to "No-Go" status. I recalled that most,
if not all, of our missiles had shut down in rapid succession.
Normally, if a missile went off alert status, it was due
to a power outage at a particular site and the site power
generator would come on line and pick up the power load
and the LF would come back on line. It was extremely rare
for more than one missile to go off line for any length
of time. In this case, none of our missiles came back
on line. The problem was not lack of power; some signal
had been sent to the missiles which caused them to go
we reported this incident to the command post, I phoned
my security guard to determine what had transpired topside.
He informed me that the guard who had approached the UFO
had been injured - not seriously. The guard was being
removed by helicopter to the base. I do not recall the
nature of the injury or how it was incurred. We were relieved
by our scheduled replacement crew later that morning.
The missiles had still not been brought on line by on-site
maintenance. Once topside, I spoke directly with the security
guard about the UFOs. The only additional detail he added,
that I recalled, was that the UFO had a red glow and appeared
to be saucer-shaped. I do not recall any other details
about its appearance. He repeated that it had been immediately
outside the front gate, hovering silently.
my commander and I returned to the base, we discussed
the incident with our squadron commander and an Air Force
investigator from Air Force Office of Special Investigations
(AFOSI). The Colonel was just as shocked about the incident
as we were. Neither he, nor anyone else we talked to that
day about the incident could explain it or indicated that
it was some sort of readiness exercise. After that day,
and through the time of my transfer from the base in June
1969, none of the crews, including ours, ever received
any additional information on the incident. There was
never a report of investigation that was released to the
missile crews or any other explanation given of the incident.
This was also unusual because we were given regular briefings
about any technical areas of concern regarding the readiness
of our weapons. These were my recollections at the time
the FOIA requests were submitted to the Air Force in January
1995. After nearly a year of submitting these requests
and waiting for responses, USAF declassified an incident
which appeared to be the one in which I was involved.
I will refer to that as the Echo Flight incident.
Klotz, the investigator who had submitted the FOIA requests,
and I had previously narrowed the time period by retrieving
news reports from the Great Falls Tribune about UFO sightings
during the early part of 1967. I had recalled reading
such reports after my incident. In fact there were many
news articles about UFO sightings a few weeks before and
one week after the Echo incident. We requested USAF to
release any information they had of such an incident that
occurred during the spring of 1967. We made no reference
to UFO sightings in our request. As a result of these
FOIA requests USAF sent us copies of the unit histories
for the 341st Strategic Missile Wing, Great Falls, Montana
for 1967. The histories, which included the Echo incident,
had been classified. In addition, USAF sent copies of
some previously classified messages regarding the incident.
One message was sent from SAC headquarters. The Echo incident,
as related in one of those messages, is described as loss
of strategic alert of all ten missiles within ten seconds
of each other for no apparent reason and a "...cause
for grave concern... [to SAC head quarters]". The
date of the Echo incident is March 16,1967. When we received
this information, I assumed that I was in the Echo capsule
during this incident because the events of the incident
were very similar to my recollection.
first unit history (January - March 1967, pg. 38) also
has a brief statement suggesting reports of UFO activity.
It states the following: "Rumors of Unidentified
Flying Objects (UFO) around the area of Echo Flight during
the time of fault were disproven. A Mobile Strike Team,
which had checked all November Flight's LFs (launch facilities)
on the morning of 16 March 67, were questioned and stated
that no unusual activity or sightings were observed."
This statement was informative in that there would be
no reason to query the November Flight strike team (security)
about rumors of UFOs in the area of Echo Flight. This
is the only reference to UFOs regarding this incident
in any of the documents received from USAF and the statement
is simply untrue. None of the reports we received from
guards or maintenance personnel were ever retracted.
reading this statement I recalled something my commander
had said during our incident. After we reported the incident
to the command post, he had received a call from another
LCC. After that call he turned to me and said, "The
same thing happened at another flight." With this
new recollection, I began to question if I was at Echo
during the time of our incident since I knew I was assigned
to the 490th Squadron, which did not have responsibility
for Echo Flight. We did however, occasionally, man LCCs
outside our own squadron.
some assistance, I was eventually able to contact on old
friend who had served with me at Malmstrom. He recalled
the Echo incident and was certain that I was not in that
LCC at the time of the incident. He also recalled the
names of the Echo crew and the name of my commander. With
some additional effort, and a lot of phone calls, I was
able to locate and speak with both crew members of Echo,
the commander of the Echo relief crew, and my own commander.
a result of these conversations, more information was
revealed. The Echo MCCC related to me that prior to the
shutdown of all his missiles he had received more than
one report from security patrols and maintenance crews
that they had seen UFOs, one was directly above one of
the LFs in Echo Flight. The Echo crew confirmed that they
had spoken to my commander that day and told him of their
incident. They also told me that they were flown to SAC
Headquarters, Omaha, Nebraska the next day and had to
brief CINCSAC (Commander in Chief Strategic Air Command)
about their incident. The Echo DMCCC also informed me
that he had written an extensive log of the Incident and
turned that over to staff officers at SAC headquarters.
They certainly did report the UFO sightings and their
guards and maintenance personnel were interviewed about
their sightings by Air Force investigators. The MCCC of
the crew that relieved the Echo crew also confirmed that
the Echo crew had spoken to him about the UFO sightings
during the time immediately preceding their shutdown incident.
own MCCC confirmed my recollection of events with the
exception that he recalled that about five of our ten
missiles shut down in rapid succession. My own recollection
is that it was more than five. However, he did add something
I had not recalled. We sent a security patrol to our LFs
after the shutdown of our missiles and they reported sighting
another UFO during that patrol. They also lost radio contact
with our site immediately after reporting the UFO.
summarize the events of that morning:
were sighted by security personnel at our LCC (probably
November Flight), at one of our LFs, and by other security
personnel at Echo LFs and these were reported separately
to the capsule crews at both LCCs. These reports were
made at or about the time Minuteman Strategic missiles
shut down at both sites. USAF has confirmed that all of
Echo flights missiles shutdown within seconds of each
other. There was no apparent reason for these shutdowns.
discussions with individuals from Boeing who had provided
technical assistance and performed additional tests during
the investigation into the cause of these shutdowns, confirmed
that there was never a resolution as to cause or explanation
for these incidents. The unit histories for 1967 also
confirm that conclusion.
the termination of Project Blue Book, the Air Force has
maintained the position that no reported UFO incident
has ever affected national security. The incident I described
above clearly had national security implications. The
Air Force has clearly and deliberately hidden the fact
that a large number of Air Force personnel reported sighting
UFOs at the time many of our strategic missiles became,
MUFON, MUJ-345, 15