Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Oscar Flight Mystery: The Other Malmstrom UFO Story

The claims of Robert Salas regarding the events that occurred on 24 March 1967 at Malmstrom has remained a mystery to me.  Here is a UFO story that lacks any official documentation and has no Air Force investigation report, yet it continues to have "legs" in ufology circles.  Where as the Echo Flight UFO story is severely diminished due to documentation and investigations, Oscar Flight doesn't carry that sort of baggage so it quietly flies under the radar.  With that said, we have to ask the question:  "Did it really happen?"

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'll break the story down over a series of blog posts.  Where to begin?  I believe that the best starting point is to look at the case in it's present state and work backwards.  This will allow us to look at the story's evolution since 24 March 1967.

It appears that the Echo Flight shutdown that occurred one week prior to the alleged Oscar incident, 16 March, may have been the catalyst for the story.  Initially, Salas believed that he was at Echo, but eventually settled on being at Oscar.  I'm aware that he also believed that he was out at November prior to changing his final location to Oscar.  While some have been critical of Salas' changing location, I'll give him a pass on this one due to the lapse of 40 plus years.  I must confess that for a while, I had a difficult time remembering for certain where I had pulled my last alert back in 1985, but certain alert peculiarities and events during that last alert settled my location to have been at Kilo.

On September 27, 2010, Robert Hastings and Robert Salas held a press conference at the National Press Club in an attempt to establish that UFOs had attempted to disrupt our nation's nuclear ICBM forces.  Other witnesses were present and all had provided signed affidavits affirming their truthfulness in relaying their respective stories.

Robert Salas' affidavit, along with the others can be viewed on  Below is a short synopsis of Salas' story according to his affidavit.

Salas' Current Claim

Approximately on 24 March 1967, Robert Salas, was on alert at Malmstrom's Oscar Flight (490th SMS) with his crew commander Frederick Meiwald.  Meiwald was in rest status (sleep shift).  Salas had received a call from the Flight Security Controller (FSC) and reported that he and other topside personnel had observed "lights" in the sky making unusual maneuvers.  The FSC had ruled out aircraft due to the "objects" travelling at a high rate of speed and making unusual directional changes.  The objects made no noticeable noise.

A few minutes later, the FSC called again screaming that a large red oval shaped object was hovering over the LCF's front gate.  The FSC described the object as being 30-40 feet in diameter.  The FSC abruptly cut off the conversation stating that one of his men had been injured.  At this point, Salas had awaken Meiwald briefing the contents of the FSC's reports.  Per Salas, alarms started sounding and "fault" light indicators on the commander's launch control console were illuminated.  Meiwald queried VRSA and most, if not all, of the missiles showed "guidance and control system failure."

Meiwald contacted the Wing Command Post and Squadron Command Post (Kilo).  Meiwald told Salas, "The same thing happened at another flight."

Due to security violation lights at one or more of Oscars LFs, Salas contacted the FSC to have one of the security teams respond to the LFs in question.  The FSC reported to Salas that the object had flown off.  When the security team approached one of the LFs with a security violation, they reported seeing an object similar to that sighted at Oscar's LCF.

Per Salas, Oscar's ICBM were disabled for the remainder of the alert tour.  Prior to departing back to Malmstrom, Salas talked to the FSC who had nothing different to add concerning the incident.  The individual who had been injured suffered a minor injury to his hand, but the injury had nothing to do with the sighted object.  After being relieved by another crew and returning to base, Salas and Meiwald were debriefed by their squadron commander and another officer from the AFOSI (Air Force Office of Special Investigation).  Both Salas and Meiwald were told that there were no explanations of why the event occurred, nor were there any Air Force exercises taking place.  The OSI officer told Salas and Meiwald that the incident was classified SECRET and they were not to speak about it to anyone.  According to Salas, he would hear nothing further about the incident for the remainder of his time on active duty.

Affidavits, Lack of Documentation and Investigation

Why the affidavits?  Presumably, this gives the air of truth to the accounting/s as Salas has always thought that the evidence supporting his claim could be proven in a court of law.  But is the "truth" supported by facts, and does Salas have enough evidence to mount even a circumstantial case?  Who is supplying the evidence since the 341st SMW's Unit History and Bernard Nalty (History of the US ICBM Program) make no hint or reference to anything happening with Oscar Flight?  There is a secondary effect of the affidavits.  Since this is a 40 plus year old case, there is bound to be confusion and changing accounts as the years have passed.  This allows all of the participants to settle on one "concise" story regardless of any conflicts with past statements.

Project Blue Book investigated both Minot UFO reports in 1966 and 1968, yet did not investigate any UFO incident involving Oscar Flight.  This defies common logic by omitting Oscar from official scrutiny by the Air Force, SAC, and Blue Book. True, Echo Flight's ten missile shut down was not investigated by Blue Book, but I had theorized that such an investigation was not warranted since the Air Force and SAC had mounted an engineering analysis that pin pointed an EMP-like noise pulse emanating from the LCC.  A subsequent Boeing Engineering Change Plan implementing EMP suppression kits solved the problem SAC-Wide.

Since the Sept. 2010 press conference participants provided affidavits, I decided to look into the use of an affidavit.  I contacted a local notary public and asked about the process of notarizing an affidavit.  This gentleman stated that just because an affidavit was notarized it had no legal bearing as to the "truthfulness" of the statement.  Basically, the individual provides proof of who he/she is and the notary bears witness to that individual signing a statement or document regardless to its contents.

The Oscar Flight Mystery: UFO Narratives

My previous blog post introduced the Oscar Flight UFO story as it's currently being proposed by Robert Salas.  Since there are no official Air Force documentations in the form of investigations and/or reports to corroborate any incident occurring at Oscar, we're left with looking at various forms of the story that has been published either on-line or in print for the past few years.  These different versions follow, what I call, a "narrative."

The rationale for breaking down each variation of Salas' story into a narrative summary is that there are no eye witnesses who have ever come forward to validate Salas' claim, so we have to look at the different variations of the story.  Meiwald and Salas were 60 feet underground in the LCC and therefore were in no position to verify the incident from a visual aspect.  The only ones who supposedly saw the "UFO" were Oscar's top side personnel.  By my estimate, there would have been a minimum of eight people: (2) FSCs, (4) security response team members, (1) facility manager, (1) cook.  If we add the possibility of a Mobile Fire Team or maintenance teams in RON status (Rest Over Night) then the possible number of topside personnel increases dramatically.

Who were these individuals that saw the UFO hovering over the LCF's main gate?  After 40 years none have been identified by name, nor have they came forward to tell their versions of the incident.  Yet, I know that there were people manning Oscar's topside LCF on the night in question.  Again, what we see is somewhat similar to Echo Flight's alleged UFO eye witnesses and another UFO report being received by a simple phone call.

When looking at different variations of a story what's important is consistency of the key areas that a claimant makes.  Due to the passage of time, it is expected that there will be minor inconsistencies due to poor memory recall, the use of paraphrasing and so on.  It is the key elements of a story that gives it a sense of plausibility that must remain consistent over a given time period.

The July 2010 Narrative of Robert Salas' Affidavit

1.  On alert at Oscar LCC on or about 24 March 1967.
2.  Crew commander was Frederick Meiwald.
3.  Meiwald was asleep.
4.  FSC calls Salas and reports he and others observing "lights" in the sky making unusual maneuvers.
5.  Salas did not think the FSCs' report as significant at that time.
6.  Within minutes the FSC calls Salas again, "highly agitated" and "screaming."
7.  Large glowing pulsating red oval shaped object, 30 to 40 feet in diameter hovering over the LCF's front gate.
8.  FSC abruptly cuts off conversation, one of the FSC's men was injured.
9.  Salas woke Meiwald, alarms sound, all or nearly all missiles show "fault" light.
10.  Some LFs show security violation lights.
11.  Meiwald queried VRSA, most, if not all had "missile guidance and control system failure."
12.  Meiwald phones Wing Command Post and Squadron Command Post.  Meiwald tells Salas that the same thing happened at another flight.
13.  Salas phones FSC reports security violations at one or more LFs and directs security team to respond.
14.  FSC reports object had flown off.
15.  Security team reports seeing a similar object as they approached one of the LFs.
16.  Missiles remained disabled for the rest of Meiwald and Salas' alert tour.
17.  Before leaving Oscar, Salas talks to the FSC who adds nothing new to the event.  Tells Salas that the injured man had minor hand injury that was not related to the sighted object.
18.  On arrival back to base, Meiwald and Salas debriefed by squadron commander and AFOSI officer.
19.  No explanation given for what had happened.  AFOSI officer tells Meiwald and Salas that the incident was classified SECRET and they were not to speak of it to any other officer.

Salas' Narrative from "Faded Giant", pages 13-17, 2005

1.  Early morning hours of 16 March 1967, on alert at Oscar Flight.
2.  Clear, cold night.
3.  Airman and FSC watched "lights" zig-zag across the sky.
4.  FSC calls Salas about lights flying and making strange maneuvers.
5.  Salas asks the FSC if he is describing UFOs.
6.  Salas had previous read newspaper reports about local UFO sightings.
7.  FSC calls second time, "frightened and shouting".
8.  UFO seen outside front gate, glowing red.  One of the airmen injured.
9.  Salas wakes Meiwald and briefs him of FSC's phone calls.
10.  Alarm sounds, one missile shows No-Go with two red security lights lit on commander's console.
11.  Subsequent alarms go off, eight to ten missiles in No-Go condition.
12.  Meiwald calls command post, Salas calls FSC.
13.  FSC tells Salas that UFO is gone, injured airman's injury is minor.  Salas states, "We decided to get him back to base..."
14.  Salas ordered FSC to send security team to one or more LFs with security violations.
15.  From Meiwald:  security team reports the UFO at an outlying LF, east of Hwy 19.
16.  From Meiwald:  security team directed by wing command post and/or alternate wing command post (Kilo) to return back to LCF security system reset.
17.  From Meiwald:  Security team loses radio communication capability until they return to the LCF.
18.  Meiwald and Salas complete their checklists, each missile off alert due to "missile guidance and control system" fault.
19.  After reporting to the command post, Meiwald tells Salas that the same kind of shutdown had occurred at Echo Flight.
20.  After change over, Salas talks to the FSC who describes the object as a big red-orange ball, too bright to get a good look at.  Repeats that the airman not injured too bad.
21.  Meiwald and Salas transported back to base via helicopter.
22.  Meiwald and Salas debriefed by the squadron commander and an AFOSI representative.  Brief discussion.
23.  No know reason given for shutdowns, no exercises occurred.  Squadron commander perplexed.
24.  Meiwald and Salas told the incident was to be considered highly classified and were told not to discuss it with anyone.

Salas Narrative on, 1999, updated 2000.

1.  On alert at Oscar Flight 16 March 1967, clear and cold night, snow on the ground. (1999 version had Salas at November)
2.  Topside personnel see lights zig-zag in the sky.
3.  FSC calls Salas to report that lights were making strange maneuvers over the facility.  Salas thought the FSC was joking.
4.  FSC calls a second time, "frightened and shouting", object hovering outside front gate, glowing red, one individual injured.
5.  Salas wakes Meiwald, alarms sound, No-Go light and two security lights showed on one LF.
8.  More alarms sound, 6 to 8 missiles go No-Go.
9.  Salas phones command post, then calls FSC, man who approached UFO not seriously injured but was being evacuated by helicopter back to base, UFO gone, had red glow, saucer shape.
10.  Security team sent to investigate security violations see another UFO during their patrol.  The security team loses radio contact.
11.  By crew change over, missiles had not been brought on-line by on-site maintenance teams.

Salas' Narrative from the MUFON Journal, January 1997

1. On alert during the morning hours at a Minuteman Launch Control Facility.
2.  Received a call from the NCO in charge of site security.
3.  Observed some unidentified flying objects that had overflown the LCF.  Objects described as "lights."
4.  Salas did not take the report seriously, believing the report to be a joke.
5.  Five to ten minutes later, NCO called a second time, "agitated and distraught."
6.  UFO hovering over the front gate, one of the guards injured.
7.  Salas wakes his commander and gives report.
8.  Within seconds, missiles begin to shut down, alert to No-Go.
9.  Most, if not all, missiles shutdown in rapid succession.
10.  Called command post, then Salas calls NCO, guard who was injured approaching UFO to be sent back to base by helicopter, UFO had red glow and was saucer shaped, it hovered silently at front gate.
11.  Talked to squadron commander and AFOSI investigator, no explanation given for the incident.
12.  Based on FOIA documents, Salas believed that he was at Echo, then changed his possible alert location to November.
13.  Salas recalls that his commander, after reporting to the command post and receiving a call from another LCC, saying "The same thing happened at another flight."

The Evolution of the Oscar Flight Story

One area that stands out is the lack of Meiwald's name in the 1997 narrative.  Salas refers to him as "my commander."   The other three narratives mentions Meiwald by name.  There could be a number of reasons for this oddity.

1.  Salas could not recall who he was crewed with on the day in question.
2.  Meiwald was not Salas' regular assigned crew commander, but happened to be scheduled with Meiwald for that given alert.
3.  Salas had yet been given permission by Meiwald to mention his name in print concerning the details of the story.

Salas initially believed that he was at Echo on 16 March 1967.  The documents secured under a FOIA request showed that he could not have been at Echo.  Due to the Unit History stating that a Mobile Fire Team had inspected the November flight area on 16 March, Salas thought he may had been at November.  After Robert Hastings had interviewed Robert Jaimison, Hastings would eventually contact Salas which would establish the incident to have occurred on 24 March vs. 16 March.  It would be some time later that Fred Meiwald would set the location of their alert at Oscar Flight.

The Description of the UFO

The FSC's description of the UFO is interesting as all of the narratives describe it initially as "lights" making strange or unusual maneuvers in the sky over the LCF.  The object is further described as glowing red, orange-red, and too bright to make out a definitive form.  Some versions describe it as "saucer shaped" or "oval shaped" or a "big red ball".  Mind you, this is supposedly from the same individual (FSC) who makes the call to Salas.  In the 1997 story version the FSC's description of the UFO is only given after crew change over and when Salas is top side awaiting to leave for the base.

In the "Faded Giant" version, as the FSC is describing the "lights" in the sky making the maneuvers, Salas interjects and asks the FSC, "You mean they're UFOs?"  So here, Salas is the first one to mention the term UFO, not the FSC.  In the CUFON version, the FSC tells Salas specifically that there are UFOs.

The 2010 affidavit narrative had evolved to be more definitive in the UFO's description.  Here, the FSC describes the object near the front gate as "a red oval shaped object hovering over the LCF front gate being  30 to 40 feet in diameter."  This estimated measurement of the UFO is not mentioned in any of the earlier versions of the story.  Where did this information come from and why was it omitted from the other narratives?

In all of the narrative versions, Salas maintains that he initially thought the first call to be a joke.  This is similar to what launched the Echo UFO myth.

How Many Missiles Drop Off Alert and How Many Security Violations?

The 2010 affidavit states that Salas wakes Meiwald to brief him on the FSC phone calls and alarms sound and fault lights are lit on the commander's console, "All, or nearly all ten missiles" disabled with some LFs having security violation indications.  The three earlier versions of the narrative initially have only one LF with a fault and two security lights lit (Outer and Inner Zone Security lights), then the other LFs show fault indications but no OZ/IZ indications.

With the earlier versions of the story,the number of missile sorties that supposedly dropped off alert ranges from all 10, to 6 or 8.  Salas states that is was rare for more than one missile to drop off alert.  Is this true?Back in 1988 while assigned to Grand Forks AFB's Codes Division as OIC of the Division's Operations Branch, I was privy to alert status documents that showed that the historical Minuteman alert rate was approximately 94 percent vs. 40 percent for the bomber force.  If we take this percentage and apply it to Malmstrom's three Minuteman I squadrons (564th SMS not yet fully operational) in 1967, and based on 149 LFs (assuming I-10 was still the wings training LF), then this would have meant that 10 missile through out the wing were off alert for any given day.  It is reasonable to assume that Oscar could have had more than one sortie drop off alert for a multitude of rational reasons that exclude the UFO hypothesis.

The Injured Airman

When looking at the "injured airman/guard" portion of the story, I see slight variations.  All versions state that the injured airman sustained only minor injuries.  The affidavit provides a more descriptive " of the men had received a minor injury on his hand..."  The earlier dated narratives makes no mention of the airman injuring his hand, only that he had sustained a minor injury.

Was the injured airman helicoptered back to base?  The 2010 affidavit makes no mentioning of this happening.  In "Faded Giant", Salas implies that "...we decided to get him back to base..."  Did this mean that Meiwald and Salas made this decision?  It was in their scope of authority to do so, yet other narrative versions has the FSC telling Salas that the injured man was to be helicoptered back to base.  The original story in the 1997 MUFON Journal article gave the impression that by the time Salas had changed over and went topside, the airman had already been helicoptered out.

If the airman had only sustained minor injuries would the wing commander have authorized a helicopter flight in the dead of night to bring the individual back to base?  I doubt that higher authorities would have allowed a flight at night for the same reason as no helicopter flight was authorized to survey the Belt UFO sighting later that evening purely due to safety concerns.

In "Faded Giant," Salas states that he and Meiwald were transported back to base via helicopter transport.  Did the injured airman "hitch" a ride with them?  This would have made more sense, but Salas never states this.  But one fact does stand this very day, this airman remains unknown and has never come forward to corroborate this portion of the story.

Contact with the Wing and Squadron Command Posts

Who contacted the wing command post?  In the 1999 CUFON narrative, Salas gives the impression that he did, though its possible that its an aberration of the sentence structure in the article, but all other versions have Meiwald making the call.  Salas would have had every right to make any applicable phone calls, if Meiwald was busy with other checklist tasks.  The question of the other call received from (not made to) another LCC is only of interest if this was not from the squadron command post, Kilo.  Some versions have calls made to both the wing and squadron command posts, others have only calls made to the wing command post.  Why is this important?  It's from one of these sources that supposedly Meiwald receives information and tells Salas, "The same thing happened at another flight."

Security Team Investigates Oscar Flight

In the 2010 affidavit, Salas has the FSC dispatch one of the security teams to the flight area.  At one of Oscar's LFs (site unknown) the security team sees a similar object (UFO) near the LF.  In "Faded Giant", Salas orders the FSC to send the security team to "one or more LFs with security violations."  Salas writes that "Meiwald's recollection" is that the security team reports the (same as that at LCF) UFO at an LF east of Hwy 19 and that the team was directed by either the wing and/or squadron command post to return back to the LCF after security system reset.  Further, the team had lost radio contact until they had returned back to the LCF.  The 1999 CUFON version only has the security team seeing another UFO during their patrol and then losing radio contact with the LCF.

Debriefing Back at Malmstrom

The MUFON Journal article states that Salas/his crew commander talked to their squadron commander and an AFOSI investigator and that no explanation was given for the incident.  There is no mentioning of the incident being classified nor restrictions on talking about the incident.

The CUFON article ends with the crew changing over and Oscar's missiles still off alert...that's it, no debriefing by anyone, no classification of the incident.

It's not until "Faded Giant" that the crew is described as being debriefed by the squadron commander and an AFOSI "representative".  The debrief is characterized as being brief, with no known explanation given for the incident.  Meiwald and Salas are told that the incident was to be considered "highly classified" and not to discuss it with anyone.  The 2010 affidavit version has the incident classified "SECRET" and both crew members were not to talk about it to anyone.


The Oscar story has evolved from 1997 to the present.  In some cases, its merely minor details, but there are major differences dealing with the UFO descriptions, the number of LFs that dropped off alert, the number of LFs with security violations.  Where and how did the security team make visual contact with the UFO out in the flight area?  Was it the same UFO that was seen at the LCF?  Different versions of the story leads one to think that it was a different UFO.

Was the injured airman a pivotal issue?  Only when taking into account that a night time helicopter evacuation for a minor injury would have not occurred back in 1967, especially since there would have been medical care available in nearby Lewistown.  Salas never states that he saw the injured man and his injuries.  Salas and Meiwald took a helicopter back to base and it would have made more sense to have the airman taken back to base with them...did this injured airman even exist?

Overall, we see a story that has been embellished through different versions.  Salas has given the illusion that certain statements were made by either the FSC or Meiwald by use of direct quotes, or paraphrasing at best.  Leading up to the 2010 press conference, the story becomes more detailed and vivid even though such details were lacking some fourteen years ago.  So we're left with more questions than answers.  Next posts will deal with Fred Meiwalds actual statements about the event and we'll see if he corroborates Salas's versions of the story.  BTW, now you can see why Salas and Hastings used the affidavits as a means to "solidify" the story.

Note to the reader, 15 Oct 20012:  I was informed by Robert Hastings that this blog post erroneously gave the impression that Robert Salas had changed his location to Oscar after Hastings had contacted him after the Robert Jamison interview.  After reading the text, I have to agree that the original text appeared to imply that as fact.  I have changed the text to correctly state that Jamison's interview provided information that Salas was on alert on 24 March 1967.  It was only after Salas had contacted Fred Meiwald that the actual alert location was established at Oscar.

The Oscar Flight Mystery: Fred Meiwald

In the last posting, I had questions that were left hanging in regards to the crew relationship between Fred Meiwald and Robert Salas.  Based on a letter, dated 1 October 1996, that Fred Meiwad sent to Salas, it appears that both were paired as a permanent missile crew assigned to Oscar Flight.  I assume that Salas' earlier story variant which had omitted Meiwald by name as the crew commander was probably due to Salas awaiting contact with Meiwald.  I'll discuss the 1996 letter in detail later in this post.

Similar to what I did with Salas' different versions of the incident, I've broken Meiwald's statements into narratives.  Fred Meiwald appears to only have given two interviews to both Salas and Robert Hastings.  He also briefly communicated with James Carlson via two letters/emails.  Since his last telephone interview to Hastings, it appears that Meiwald has disengaged from any further discourse concerning his recollections of the Oscar Flight incident.

Due to my focusing strictly on Meiwald's version of events based on telephone transcripts as provided by Hastings and Salas, I'll only provide brief commentary about the methods used in the interviews.  I feel that Hastings' and Salas' commentary provide too much "background noise" that tend to lessen the true impact of Meiwald's statements.  I'll provide links to the full Hastings/Salas articles for all to read.  With that said, I highly encourage the reader to fully read the articles in order to put every thing into proper context which will allow for a better understanding of Meiwald's statements.  I have put in bold face print areas of emphasis.

Robert Salas' Interview August(?) 1996

Back on 26 September 2010, Robert Hastings posted an article web site and, titled "Echo/Oscar Witch Hunt" which in part had transcripts from Robert Salas' 1996 telephone interview with Fred Meiwald.  I gather from Hastings that this interview may have taken place in August 1996.  The following is the narrative from that interview based on Meiwald's recollections of 24/25 March 1967 while on alert at Oscar.

1.  There were security alarms and problems at a couple of sites.
2.  Meiwald remembers two guards had gone out to one of the sites and returned back to the LCF "scared to death" and had to be relieved of duty.
3.  The team lost radio contact on their way back to the LCF.
4.  The security response team has seen "some crazy things and..."
5.  He did not received this report from the security team themselves, but received this information from the FSC.

Of interest in this version from Meiwald, Salas' appears to be surprised because he (Salas) was not aware that the security team had seen anything out in the flight area, nor was he aware that the team was relieved from duty.  It further appears that at no time afterwards did Meiwald ever discuss this information with Salas.  If we are led to believe that both men were debriefed by the OSI, would not this information had been brought forward by Meiwald in Salas' presence?  In the Salas interview, Meiwald never mentions the word "UFO", just "crazy things."  He is not specific as to what actually occurred other than "we had security alarms...and problems at a couple of sites.  It appears that he may not have actually recalled the UFO sighting at the LCF as he provides no elaboration other than an "uh huh."  This is all that he is able to confirm based on what he remembers.

Salas would later attempt to rectify variances of the two UFO elements (out in the flight area and at the LCF) in a May 9, 2011 email to Robert Hastings“I told Fred about the UFO over the gate of the LCF as he was waking up from a nap. The second [UFO] report apparently came to Fred from the FSC after the shutdowns and after I had directed the security team to one of the Oscar LFs, due to security incursion lights. Apparently the FSC communicated to Fred that an object was seen by the team as they were out responding to that security incursion. I was not a part of that conversation but I recalled Fred telling me about it after he wrote to me in 1996.”

If the security team was relieved from duty how did they return back to base?  Meiwald and Salas supposedly took a helicopter back to base.  As in the case of the injured airman, did the guards fly back to base on the same helicopter?

The October 1, 1996 Letter

Apparently after Salas' telephone interview, Fred Meiwald sent Salas the following letter:

Responding to Salas' correspondence, Meiwald states, "The info you provided is very interesting but I have slightly different memories..."  What is meant by this and what different memories?  Since Meiwald discusses in the letter that the security response team had reported observing a "UFO" while in the flight area, then perhaps he is differing on Salas' story about the "UFO" at the LCF, or about the number of sorties that may have dropped off alert, if any did at all.  It is from this letter that Salas is able to describe the security team's alleged UFO encounter in his book "Faded Giant."  Meiwald would later recall how he had only received this information second hand from the FSC.  Without this information and the earlier telephone interview, Salas would have had no story about the security teams supposed encounter and subsequent relief from duty.

On a side note, when I was on alert duty, all VHF communication from the FSC to my security personnel was monitored on an open speaker.  I could monitor/track all communication checks, the actual striking of a site, and the back off/awaiting security system reset and finally my releasing the team from the site.  How did Meiwald and Salas miss this ongoing communication drama that was taking place in his own flight area?

How upset were the security team concerning the UFO?  Per Meiwald the security team responding to one LF security violation was only directed to return to the LCF "as the security system reset."  This would have taken ten to fifteen minutes after the team had actually investigated the topside of the LF, meaning that both members had to physically go onto the site and do their check.  This could have taken another fifteen to twenty minutes.  So if the security team's safety was in peril by the sight of a "UFO" why were they allowed to be in its proximity for up to 30 minutes?

Meiwald references to personnel injury may be related to the two security guards, or....he had no recall of the airman at the LCF being injured.  Further, his lack of recall on any follow-up activities by any Wing personnel could be interpreted as possibly no debriefing by the squadron commander and OSI.  Admittedly, this is open to speculation and to the intended context of the letter.

Meiwald's 2011 Interview

In 2011, Hastings interviewed Meiwald and provided transcripts of their conversation, "Echo Flight UFO Not Unique..."  The following is the narrative from Meiwald.  Keep in mind that 15 years has now elapsed since Meiwald's interview with Salas back in 1996.

1.  He was resting, but does not recall if soundly asleep.
2.  Salas woke Meiwald due to unusual indications on the commander's console.
3.  Had a security violation which security team went out to investigate at one of the LFs.
4.  The security team reported unusual activity.  (at or near the LF?)
5.  Meiwald directed the security team to return to the LCF maintaining radio contact.
6.  Security team lost radio contact for a short period of time.

The second narrative as Hastings attempts to have Meiwald clarify key areas of the story.

1.  The security team saw something that frightened them.
2.  The security team was directed back to base after completion of their mission.
3.  Remembers security team saying something about a "object in the sky" but is unable to further elaborate any other details.
4.  He does not recall Salas reporting to him about a "bright object" hovering over the LCF's front gate.
5.  He remembers only an "unusual" condition, but could not recall the details.
6.  He remembers being directed to sign a "non-disclosure document" but does not remember any of the details.
7.  In regards to Walter Figel's and James Carlson's claim that no UFO's were involved at Oscar, Meiwald states that something happened at Oscar and Bob Salas states what he believes to be true.
8.  He believes that Salas has relayed what happened "very accurately."
9.  Further reconfirms that security team saw a "bright object flying low level.
10.  Security team upset, directed back to LCF, one member sent back to base (can not recall how member left for base).
11.  Restates that he was debriefed by OSI and signed a non-disclosure statement.

Once again, Meiwald tells Hastings that he was not aware (or) could not recall Salas briefing him on any sightings topside at Oscar.  What is important, at least to me, is that Meiwald holds steadfast to a security violation at only one site (LF) which a security team was dispatched to investigate...but, he never tells Hastings that any of his sorties had actually dropped No-Go.  He only states that something unusual was showing on the console.  This may very well had been No-Go situations...or just a series of fault light indicators with the sorties still showing strategic alert, or..white light indicators showing that some of the LFs had dropped into calibration mode.  The term "unusual" could mean quite a few things.

Meiwald tells Hastings that something happened at Oscar and that "Bob Salas states what he believes to be true."  But...what does Meiwald believe to be true?  Remember the October 1996 letter to Salas which Meiwald states, "The info you provided is very interesting but I have slightly different memories..."

Meiwald tells Hastings that Salas had relayed what had happened "very accurately."  Yet, it's ironic that Salas was totally unaware that his security team had seen something out in the flight area near one of the LFs requiring one or both individuals to be sent back to base.  Further damaging Salas' "accuracy" is Meiwald's lack of recall concerning Salas giving him a report on the FSC calls pertaining to the UFO hovering over the Oscar LCF. Both individuals have effectively cancelled any UFO story involving the LCF and the flight area!

Other Meiwald Letters/Emails via

To James Carlson:

Re: Mr. Fred Meiwald
Wednesday, September 2, 2009 5:30 PM
From F C Meiwald Wed Sep 2 21:30:34 2009

Dear Mr. Carlson,

I understand your frustration with the situation involving your father's role in the "UFO " incident at Malmstrom. As far as I can recall, without exception, all crews on duty did what was required of them IAW established checklists and Command Post direction.

Did this situation involve "UFOs"? I don't know. I personally have never seen one and really have doubts about their existence, but who am I to question others' "observations"?

I will reread the information which you provided, and make further comment as I can recall. I do remember your father as an outstanding crew member.

I do not have access to the documentation relative to this incident and have no suggestions as to how one may get 100 percent of what would be needed to reconstruct the entire matter. As a past unit commander, I can recall how several times information critical to a decision was somehow no longer available, so can relate to the quandry here.

Please keep in touch. I'll try to dig deeper into the memory banks.

Fred M.

Re: Mr. Fred Meiwald
Thursday, September 17, 2009 4:01 PM
From F C Meiwald Thu Sep 17 20:01:49 2009

Dear Mr. Carlson,

I have been very involved in caring for my extremely ill mother for the past month and, therefore, have not been able to do any thing further on your request. In fact, after being home for a few days, I am departing in less than three hours for Montana, where she is, again for an undetermined length of time.

I quickly read your latest letter and can recognize your concerns over inconsistencies in various reports. I will try to help once I get these personal family problems resolved.

Trying to remember events of over 40 years ago is not my forte'.


Fred Meiwald

I recently contacted James Carlson to see if Meiwald had provided any further correspondence, which James told me that he had received no further word from him since the above contacts.  Yet from the above two letters what can be seen is that Meiwald did have doubts..."Did this situation involve "UFOs"? I don't know. I personally have never seen one and really have doubts about their existence..."


Robert(s) Hastings and Salas have both stated in numerous articles posted on numerous websites that Fred Meiwald's recalling of past events totally backs Salas' assertions that "UFO(s)" had been reported hovering over Oscar's LCF and subsequently causing most, if not all of the flight's missiles to drop off alert.  The evidence from the statements of Meiwald himself does not support this claim as he has never endorsed receiving a briefing from Salas concerning the FSC reports.

The same can be said about the security team's report of seeing a "UFO" or "object in the sky."  Salas was never aware of this until interviewing Meiwald back in 1996.  Salas tells Hastings 15 years later that he remembered the security team reports only after "re-gaining" his own memory of the event after hearing it from Meiwald.  The reader should remember that Meiwald stated that he only heard this from the FSC so Meiwald himself was in no position to verify the observations veracity.  But there appears to be no mistake that Salas appeared to be "taken back" and/or caught off guard concerning the security team's sighting.  If Salas' main theme was that UFOs had caused his missiles to drop off of alert, would not Salas had remembered the security team's observations of a UFO out in the flight area near one of his LFs?  That's an important report to have forgotten...if it were true.

Based on the correspondence to James Carlson, Meiwald expresses doubts about UFOs causing any incident at Oscar.  He further admits that he has a hard time recalling events that happened some 40 years ago.

Lastly, and most important, Salas being unaware of the security team's UFO observations and Meiwald's inability to substantiate the FSC calls to Salas about the UFO sighted over the LCF, effectively cancel out both UFO sightings.
When Hastings and Salas held their press conference back on September 27, 2010, Fred Meiwald was notably absent.  Further, he did not provide an affidavit as did the other participants.  Why was that?

The Oscar Flight Mystery: Robert Jamison

As I've posited concerning UFO activity at Oscar's LCF and flight area, the lack of official documentation and eye witness corroboration has sorely hampered any legitimate UFO claims.  Similar to that of Echo Flight's UFO report to Walter Figel, Oscar Flight's incident rests on the claims of Robert Salas.  As shown in my last post, Fred Meiwald provides only a story involving a UFO near one of the flight's LFs that allegedly was seen by a security response team, but Meiwald was only telling the story as was told to him by Oscar's FSC...a story that Salas was unaware of until his 1996 interview of Fred Meiwald.   Fred Meiwald, in both Hastings and Salas interviews had no recollection of Salas' claim that a UFO had been sighted topside and reported by Oscars FSC, yet it appears that the FSC is the same individual that reported both UFO encounters in one fashion or another to both crew members on different occasions before and after crew changeover!

Robert Jamison's Story

The story of Robert Jamison is an interesting one.  Robert Hastings had been in contact with Jamison concerning his role as a combat targeting officer that was tasked with responding to a full flight shutdown during the time period of the Echo Flight incident (16 March 1967).  During the interview, which I believe to be in 1992, Jamison had recalled being dispatched during the night of the sighting of a UFO near Belt, Mt which occurred 24 March 1967.  On hearing this Hastings would eventually (four years later) contact Robert Salas believing Jamison's story not having anything to do with Echo but possibly with Salas' claim.  At that time, Salas had thought that he was actually on duty 16 March at Echo, but on hearing of Jamison story and confirming with Fred Meiwald, Salas determined that his incident had occurred at Oscar on 24 March 1967.

As did Salas, Robert Jamison had provided a signed affidavit and was in attendance on 27 September 2010 for the Washington DC press conference.  Does Jamison's affidavit information show consistency with his original statements to Robert Hastings?  To answer that questions we need to break down both stories and do a comparison.

Before we start looking at Jamison's story, I need to describe the purpose and responsibilities of a Combat Targeting Team (CTT) during the Minuteman I era.  CTTs were responsible mainly for loading targeting information into the guidance control system and for aligning the missile correctly to correspond to that sortie's target.  This task was done at night since the team had to align the site with true north (starting point the star Polaris?) and establish a geodetic location or starting point for the missile culminating with the coordinates for the missile's assigned target.  The CTTs were called for during most start ups after a missile guidance system swap out.  During upgrades to Minuteman II, the need for CTTs ceased since the upgraded system had remote retargeting capability from the LCC, plus the launch crew's capability to command the sortie to perform an IMU calibration sequence.

Back in 1992 Robert Hastings had interviewed Jamison while looking into the the Echo Flight shutdowns.  Per Hastings:

1.  Jamison assisted in the re-start of an entire flight of Minuteman missiles that had suddenly shut down after a UFO had was sighted in the flight's vicinity by Air Force security police.
2.  Jamison was certain that the incident had occurred at one of the flights near Lewistown, MT (perhaps at Oscar Flight).
3.  Jamison and his team, as well as, other teams were ordered to remain at Malmstrom until all UFO reports from the field had ceased.
4.  Jamison and his team was given a special briefing prior to dispatch with regards to reporting UFO sightings.
5.  Prior to dispatching, Jamison overheard radio communication concerning a UFO sighting near Belt, MT. and that a high ranking officer was on-site with others.
6.  Jamison's team restarted three to four missiles.  They did not see any UFO activity while out in the field.
7.  After the shutdown incident, Jamison received special UFO briefings for the next two weeks.
8.  Two weeks after responding to the full flight shutdown, Jamison and his team responded to a four to five missile shutdown after a UFO was reportedly seen in daylight over an LCF located south or southwest of Great Falls (India flight?).

When reading Jamison's story, what is clear to me is that Hastings is telling the story as his subject/witness appears absent or detached.  There are no direct quotes attributed to Jamison.  Did Jamison simply provide Hastings a written statement?  Or, is this simply from notes that Hastings had jotted down during a phone interview?   Last year, I had attempted to contact Hastings via email regarding the methodology used for obtaining Jamison's information.  Unfortunately, I received no reply, but with the publication of this blog post, perhaps Robert would be willing to comment on the actual method of sourcing.

Jamison's seems to be "certain" that the incident occurred near Lewistown, "perhaps" Oscar.  Echo and November flights are also near Lewistown...Mike is not that far away but is situated west of Lewistown, so it may be equally reasonable to believe that one those flights could have been his destination.  Whether the incident that Jamison was responding to was on 24 or 25 March is merely supposition at this point, even with his recall of the Belt sighting, Jamison could have been responding to Echo's full flight shutdown on 16 March and subsequently dispatched to Oscar or November, or even Mike on 24 March for routine retargeting

Robert Jamison's 2010 Affidavit

1.  Jamison called at home by Wing Job Control, between 10 PM and midnight, to report to the maintenance hanger due to "a lot of missile sites were off alert status..."
2.  Upon arriving at the hanger, Jamison overheard other targeting teams discussing rumors of a UFO connection...supposedly all ten missiles at Oscar Flight off alert after a UFO reported in the vicinity of the LCF...a NCO confirmed the reports.
3.  All targeting teams directed to remain at the hanger until all UFO reports had ceased.  Jamison's team waited 2 to 3 hours before dispatching to Oscar Flight.
4.  While waiting to dispatch, Jamison overheard two-way radio traffic about a second UFO which had landed in a deep ravine not far from the base.  Later that night, Jamison's team traveled past the landing site and observed a small group of Air Force vehicles at the top of the ravine.  Based on later newspaper reports, Jamison believes that this was the UFO landing near Belt, MT on 24 March 1967.
5.  Prior to dispatching, Jamison's team briefed on what to do should they encounter a UFO
6.  Jamison's team never saw any UFOs.
7.  After the incident, for about two weeks, the Combat Targeting Teams received the same "UFO briefing" prior to dispatching.
8.  After the Oscar Flight incident, everyone in the missile maintenance squadron had been talking about UFOs...Jamison talked to several people, mostly Security Alert Team guards that personally witnessed these events...they were visibly shaken.  Jamison remembered one guard telling of seeing two small red lights off at a distance, then close in toward the missile he was telling Jamison, the guard broke down and began weeping.
9.  Two weeks later, Jamison believes that it was India Flight, more UFOs were reported and four to five missiles shutdown.  Jamison was dispatched to one of the sites.  While dispatching to India, Jamison did not see any UFOs.  This incident occurred in daylight hours.

The first thing that is noticeable is Jamison's now certainty that he was dispatched to Oscar Flight.  Back in 1992, eighteen years before his affidavit, Jamison thought that "perhaps" he went to Oscar, yet now he is 100 percent certain.  As of yet, I can find no documentation or articles in which Jamison uses to reach this conclusion of clarity and certainty.

Per the affidavit, Jamison states that when he arrived at the maintenance hanger, he over heard other teams discussing that all of Oscar Flight's missile had dropped off alert soon after a UFO had been reported near the LCF.  This precise detail is never mentioned in Hastings' version where Oscar Flight is mentioned by name.  Rather, Jamison's team was being dispatched to a missile flight near Lewistown and there were four flights that could have matched this vague location.

Jamison states that he saw Air Force vehicles parked near the top of the ravine (near Belt) where a UFO had supposedly landed.  This was never mentioned in Hastings version, only that Jamison had overheard two-way radio traffic concerning the alleged UFO landing near Belt.  In fairness to Jamison, this would have been logical since the only wing approved routing to the 10th and 490th squadron's would have taken Jamison through Belt and past the ravine (side of Belt Hill) where the alleged UFO landing site was located.

As far as Jamison's recalling of UFO sightings in the 12th Strategic Missile Squadron some two weeks after the Oscar incident, there are no known documentation/investigative reports that suggest that those incident's may have actually occurred.  This does not rule out the possibility that these sightings may have been the residual psychological effects from the previous weeks of UFO rumors culminating with Echo's incident on 16 March.  MUFON and NICAP archives show that after the Belt sighting on 24 March, there were no further sighting reports from Montana for the rest of 1967.

What of the partial flight missile shutdowns at India after UFOs spotted in that flight area?  That would depend on the accuracy of Jamison's recall.  Per the Unit History, in Dec of 1966 Alpha Flight had three LF's drop off alert in a short period of time (no UFO reports corresponds to this event).  This shows that it was not an unusual event (up to three off alert sorties) to occur and would seem reasonable that Jamison would have responded to a similar event in India flight.  Yet with this said, Hastings' original interview stated that it was "possibly in India flight."  It could have easily been in Juliet, Hotel, or Golf flight areas.

One important similarity with both versions of Jamison's story:  Jamison never sees any UFO activity near Lewistown, nor does he witness any UFO activity in the 12th SMS area some two weeks later.  Once again, we see a UFO incident which no one sees, but everyone hears rumors about.


Based on the two versions of Jamison's story, it's plausible to reach the following conclusions:

1.  With the exception of his recent total certainty of going to Oscar Flight on 24 March 1967, the two versions are basically the same.

2.  It is plausible that Jamison's belief that he responded to a full flight shut down "near" Lewistown was correct, but he was responding to Echo's incident on 16 March as this has been the only documented full flight shutdown.

3.  Jamison more than likely was dispatched on 24/25 March to a flight east of Malmstrom (10th/490th SMS) for routine retargeting/realignment and was in a position to overhear radio communication or loose talk in the maintenance hanger describing the Belt UFO incident.

4.  Jamison was well aware of rumors and/or stories about UFO sightings in the 12th SMS, west of Great Falls, and more than likely, did respond to off alert missile sorties that required retargeting and/or realignment.  Whether or not this was due to UFO activity is questionable due to the lack of any official reporting of such an event.

5.  Jamison stated that he never saw any UFO activity while dispatched to the field.

Does Jamison's statements support Salas' claims of UFO activity in and around Oscar?  In my opinion, its a stretch.  If the Air Force and SAC conducted an investigation that lasted for almost a year regarding the Echo incident and culminating with an Engineering Change Proposal and its implementation, why omit a similar incident occurring at Oscar?  Air Force cover-up?...or, simply nothing out of the ordinary had occurred.  Project Blue Book investigated the alleged Belt sighting on 24 March, yet did not investigate an alleged incident at Oscar.  This is a glaring disconnect in my opinion.  Jamison does illustrate that UFO rumors were an on-going occurrence and this is supported by the Unit History which had acknowledged in a short sentence that rumors were present.

Food for thought, if Jamison and his CCT team (presumably all missile maintenance teams and security personnel) received a special UFO briefing prior to dispatching to the field, why does Salas not say the same for him and Fred Meiwald...and other wing operational crews?

Salas, Meiwald, Figel, Barlow and Eric Carlson never mentioned being given special UFO briefings before being dispatched to the field.  Salas and Meiwald would have completed several alert duties well after the 24th of March surpassing Jamison's special briefing claims.  None of the above have ever mentioned receiving these special UFO briefings.

If Salas and Meiwald claim that they were questioned by the Air Force OSI, why was Jamison and his team left untouched?  Surely the OSI would have wanted to debrief all personnel that had been dispatched to the field to ascertain what, if anything, they had witnessed.

The Oscar Flight Mystery: Dwynne Arneson

Dwynne Arneson presents as an "odd" puzzle piece to both Echo and Oscar UFO stories.  Both Hastings and Salas have used Arneson's affidavit statement as a means to collaborate their respective claims.  Arneson was among those former Air Force members appearing at the September 27, 2010 Washington DC press conference.  His affidavit can be viewed here.

Based on the provided affidavit, Arneson was assigned to the 28th Air Division then located at Malmstrom AFB in 1967.  The 28th was part of the Air Defense Command, not the Strategic Air Command.  Though there may have been some tasks which the 28th would have worked in concert with SAC, generally there would have been a well established line of demarcation between the two commands.  It's within this organization confine that highlights some of Arneson's claims.

Per Arneson's affidavit, as a member of the 28th Air Division, and being the Top Secret Control Officer, he states that he was responsible for the dispatching of all of the nuclear launch authentication codes to the Minuteman missile crews.  I found this to be an odd responsibility for a member of the Air Defense Command (ADC) handling and dispatching SAC launch authentication codes. To me, the idea that a "paranoid" command such as SAC allowing another command this type of access and distribution of it's launch material was unthinkable.

I opened an inquiry thread over at site asking about any possible involvement of ADC's handling of SAC launch authenticators and all that responded gave the indication that this would have been impossible for a non-SAC command, even an air division, to have this responsibility even back in 1967.  On a personal note, back in the early 1980s as a launch crew member, we had received launch authentication codes strictly form the wing's Emergency War Order and Planning Division, DO22.  These documents were transported out to the LCC and locked in a safe and inventoried during each and every crew change over.

My thoughts on Arneson's claim is that he may have been mistaken as to who's launch authentication codes he was referring to as the ADC/NORAD flying unit at the Great Falls Airport (Montana Air National Guard) flew the F-102 in 1967 and was capable of carrying the nuclear tipped Genie air to air missile.  Arneson may well have been responsible for issuing the authentication codes to the ADC air crews.

With the above said, the reader may be asking of the relevance concerning UFO activity.  Perhaps nothing, yet its possible to correlate Arneson's claims of responsibility with the over all UFO story's aura of confusion and lacking of clarity of its witnesses.  Let's look at other claims in Arneson's affidavit:

"On some date that I do not recall, a UFO-related message came through the communications center.  While I recall neither the sender nor to whom it was directed, I do recall reading that a UFO was seen near some missile silos and that it had been hovering.  The message stated that both the missile crew going on duty and the crew coming off duty saw the UFO just hovering in mid-air.  It was described as a metallic, circular object and, from what I understand, the missiles were all shut down immediately thereafter.  That is, they went dead.  Someone, presumably aboard the UFO, turned those missiles off, so they could not be put in a mode for launching."

Arneson is in doubt of the date of either the alleged incident or the date of the message.  Based on previous research, it would be reasonable to assume that he may well had seen a message describing alleged UFO activity since rumors of such had permeated both the missile wing and the surrounding Great Falls area.  This would also correspond to the 341st Strategic Missile Wing's Unit History statement concerning UFO rumors as being present, but also disproven.

Did the message that Arneson read referred to Echo or Oscar?  This is were Arneson's story may well fall apart.  If the message referred to Echo, then the notion that both off going and on coming crews saw a UFO hovering in mid-air is seriously in error.  Carlson/Figel made no assertions of such a sighting.  Don Crawford, the on coming crew commander also made no statements to support this version of events.  Simply no UFO was ever reported near or over Echo's launch control facility.

Could the message had been referring to Oscar Flight?  Again, as was the case with Carlson and Figel, both Meiwald and Salas never stated that they themselves had seen a UFO over Oscar as this alleged report came from the FSC and/or a security response team which is solely dependent on who's version, Salas or Meiwald, is taken into consideration.

Arneson's affidavit further mentions his acquaintance with Robert Kaminsky while employed with Boeing.  Supposedly Kaminsky had confided in Arneson about the Echo investigation and that no known technical reason could be found for the malfunctions and that there had been reports of UFOs near the missiles at the time of the failures.

To a certain extent, Kaminsky was correct as the initial Echo investigation had showed no known causation, but as the investigation dragged on for over a year eventually the EMP-like noise pulse was isolated as the cause for the failure.  Interesting that since Arneson was employed by Boeing he would have had access to the Engineering Change Proposals submitted by Boeing and the results of the ECP installations at all of SAC's Minuteman launch facilities (this also included Vandenberg's training launch facilities).  As far as Kaminsky's stating that there had been UFO reports, he is merely one of many who had heard of the various rumours that had swept through Malmstrom and central Montana.  Like others, Kaminsky saw no UFOs himself, but only heard of them second and third hand.

What has been an area of curiosity concerning Echo and Oscar, is the lack of any data showing that NORAD/ADC radars from Malmstrom's SAGE facility had tracked any "unknown" targets over central Montana for both 16 and 24 March.  Being assigned to the SAGE facility at Malmstrom, Arneson would have been in position to know if this had happened and if any subsequent launching of Montana Air Guard interceptors had occurred.  Since Arneson never mentions this type of event/mission, then this lends credence that the UFO reports were merely rumors.

Did Arneson make this all up?  Its entirely possible that the contents of the message was basically as Arneson stated.  If the message was one of the first that was up-channeled to higher command, in this case Air Defense Command, then it reflects the initial confusion surrounding the magnitude of the Echo shutdowns followed by the disjointed statements concerning the error-proned mentioning of UFO sightings by the missile crews.  It appears obvious to me that the source for the alleged message content was not "officially" from the SAC component at Malmstrom, but from various unidentified sources not familiar with the actual situation. (This is assuming that the Arneson message actually existed in the first place)

Updated June 10, 2013:

I've been researching the Minot October 1968 UFO incident and came across information that appears to clarify Col. Arneson's statements concerning his receipt of a message relating to "UFO(s) sighted around missile silos."

It is readily apparent that all UFO sightings/reports were sent to the affected region's ADC Air Division regardless of the command making the report.  Since Minot AFB, ND was in the 28th Air Division's jurisdiction all of it's UFO reports were sent to Malmstrom (28th's location).

With this in mind, Col Arneson's recollection of a message listing a UFO(s) sighting would have been consistent with the protocols in place during his tenure at Malmstrom.  Based on Arneson's responsibilities within the air division, he would have had access to these types of message traffic.  The Minot message sent to Malmstrom (October time frame of 1968) was "Unclassified."

The Oscar Flight Mystery: A Tree Falling in a UFO Forest

If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound?  Let's apply a variation to this old adage, if ten ICBMs fall off alert, does anyone take notice?  If we use Echo Flight's incident occurring on 16 March 1967, the answer is a resounding yes.  What of Robert Salas' claim concerning Oscar Flight back on 24 March 1967?

Let's separate Salas' claim of UFO involvement for the moment and concentrate on the claims that all ten of his ICBMs inexplicably dropped off alert (similar to Echo).   Where is the official (or, if you prefer, the unofficial) paper trail?  Echo Flight generated message traffic that was up-channeled to SAC Headquarters at Offutt AFB as well as producing an extensive engineering analysis and investigation that lasted well over a year.  Where is Oscars' analysis and message traffic?  Odd that during the initial stages of Echo's investigation, there was no mentioning of a possible event at Oscar occurring one week later.  Surely such an incident coinciding with Echo would have been mentioned in the classified unit history and the engineering report due to the enormity of the situation.  Not only would SAC and the Air Force had been dealing with a full flight shut down at Echo, but a subsequent full flight shut down involving Oscar would have been mentioned in the on-going investigation being conducted by Boeing and others.

Official National Security Agency (NSA) Archive...Minuteman ICBM History

When writing the history of the U.S.'s ICBM program, Bernard Nalty made mention of the ten ICBMs dropping off alert in Echo Flight, but made no reference to anything happening at Oscar.    An oversight by Nalty?  Remember, Nalty's work was initially classified "SECRET" and according to Salas, Oscar's alleged incident was classified as well.  There seems to be some sort of disconnect here as Nalty goes into classified details surrounding the issues affecting all of SAC's Minuteman wings back in the 1967 time frame.  Why would an equally important situation affecting Oscar flight not be mentioned?

When reading Nalty's works, it became apparent to me that Malmstrom was different from an operational standpoint when compared to the other five Minuteman wings. Malmstrom's wing was the first fielded Minuteman system.  It became the prototype for the new system, as any operational or design flaws that were readily discovered and improvements/enhancements were made at the other five missile wings.  Malmstrom's "prototype" oddity was the main reason that Echo's incident was investigated both in the field and at Boeing's facilities rather than exclusively at OOMA, Hill AFB.  Hill AFB had no Wing I (Malmstrom) test bed facility to conduct the investigation.  That's not to mean that the other Minuteman wing's didn't have their own issues, but those issues tended to be centered around the then Minuteman II missile versus that of structural and avionic support system issues.  This is an often overlooked part of the Echo and Oscar stories. 

The above touches on the official documented issues, or as in Oscar Flight's case, the lack of official documentation.  Per authors such as Robert Hastings and Robert Salas, the lack of official documentation and follow-up investigations for Oscar Flight could only mean that SAC, the Air Force, and DoD perpetrated a cover-up.  This alleged cover-up resulted in AFOSI agents debriefing Salas and Fred Meiwald and forcing both to sign a non-disclosure letter, thus securing their silence.   Yet I have to ask, securing their silence for what?  Both launch officers saw nothing other than "indications" on the launch control console ranging from a simple security zone violation at one launch facility to 2,3, or all 10 of Oscar Flight's ICBMs dropping off alert. (I've touched on this discrepancy in both Salas' and Meiwald's version of events in a previous blog post).

Some would argue that perhaps Salas and Meiwald were initially silenced for what they had heard via telephone reports from the top side flight security controller.   What did they actually hear?  As mentioned in my previous blog postings, up until 1996,  Salas was totally unaware of a UFO sighting over one of Oscar's launch facilities and Meiwald was totally unaware of Salas' received report that a UFO was observed hovering over Oscar's front gate.  Ironically, both were only separated by a mere 8 to 10 feet while all of this was occurring.

What of Oscar's flight security controller and the numerous security guards?  There is no evidence that they had signed any non-disclosure document.  The same could be said of the facility manager and cook.  The fact is that up until now, these individuals remain unnamed merely shadow figures in the story.  Surely if there was any credence to the story they would have come forward by now supporting Salas.

Eric Carlson's and Walter Figel's Opinion

Some two years ago, Eric Carlson gave an interview to Realityuncovered's Ryan Dube.  Per Eric Carlson there was no hiding the fact that an entire missile squadron had dropped off alert.

"The event at Echo became what could be referred to as the talk of the town.  Everyone knew about it and many crew members kidded me about it..."

Simply, even if SAC had wanted to hide the shutdown event, it would have been impossible to do so.  Too many people were already in the know. The old adage holds true:  "If one person knows something then it's a secret, once two people know then its no longer a secret."

Could the same be held as being true for Salas' claims for Oscar Flight?  Again, we need to go no further than the words of Eric Carlson.

"...There was never any talk, at any time, about a similar event at Oscar.  I can only conclude from that that it never happened."

...and the statements from Walter Figel to James Carlson.

"Bob Salas was never associated with any shutdown of any missiles at any time in any flight and you can take that to the bank. Just think about this for a split second. He is a person wrapped up in UFOs to the Nth degree. Yet he could not remember he was not at Echo. Then he thought he was at November – wrong again. Then he thought he was at Oscar – wrong again."

"There is no record about anything happening at November or Oscar except in people’s minds that are flawed beyond imagination. Salas has created events out of the thin air and can’t get the facts straight even then. My best friend to this day was the flight commander of the 10th SMS at the time. He and I have discussed this silly assertion in the past couple of years – he thinks it is all madeup nonsense for sure. I put both Salas and Hastings in touch with him and he has told them both that an incident at November or Oscar never happened. In addition he was subsequently stationed at Norton AFB where the engineers tested the possible problems. No little green men were responsible."

"There is no Air Force “cover-up” it just did not happen the way Salas and has portrayed the course of events..."

The statements from both Eric Carlson and Walter Figel are both telling and damaging to Robert Salas' claims.  Both men were in a position to know what would have transpired in the field.  And I suspect that there are others who were assigned to Malmstrom back in 1967 that would equally attest the same.  Robert Hastings has touted that he has interviewed over 130 former Air Force members supporting his UFO/Nukes connection, but if you take into consideration the total population of Air Force members (present/past) that supported nuclear missions then Hastings' 130-plus is reduced to an extreme fraction of a percent.  What does this say about the remaining 99.9 percent?  Are they lying or further propagating a cover-up due to their silence?

Let me provide a personal example while pulling missile alert duty back in the early 1980s.  If I were the crew commander out at Kilo Flight (squadron command post and alternate wing command post) and if November had four ICBMs drop off alert, I would have, by protocol, been notified by November's crew that they had four sorties off alert.  I would have to annotate this on a squadron status board and logged an entry into my crew log even though November's status did not directly affect Kilo.  BTW, the same holds true if an ICBM(s) had dropped off alert in the 12th SMS (clearly in the southwest region of the 341st SMW), the same holds true because I was obligated to keep track of all of the wing's missile status and concurrent launch status/capability.  Then we have personnel who were manning the wing command post and job control back at the base.  These base agencies would have been contacted and various reports up-channeled to 15th Air Force's and SACs' command posts.  Within a span of approximately 15 minuets, quite a few people were already in the know.  

Now supplement this with Salas' claim that an entire flight had dropped off alert.  Hopefully the reader sees my point.  The vast number of people involved in the up-channeling of reports makes a cover-up extremely unlikely.  That would have resulted in alot of people signing non-disclosure letters.  In Salas' case, where are these people to support an Oscar shutdown?

Possibility of a Prank? 

A while back on various on-line forums, the possibility of missile crews playing a prank on each other was discussed at length.  Most thought that the idea that serious minded missile launch crews would never stoop to this level, yet on occasion we did.  Most of the pranks were low grade intended to break up the monotony of being out on alert.  Ninety nine percent of my alert duties were sheer boredom with nothing exciting occurring other than routine missile maintenance on my sites or the occasional outer zone security violations set off by thunder storms or animals wandering onto a launch site.  The average crew demographics was that of the crew commander being 25-27 years of age and the deputy commander being 23-24 years of age.  If you combine the age group and boredom, its only natural that pranks will occur.  Go on-line to and type in "crew pranks" in the site's search window.  You'll find numerous examples of crew pranks.  Pranks were not limited to the launch crews as flight security controllers and top side security teams exhibited their own brand humor.

Could Salas' have been the victim of a "UFO" prank?  It's possible and below is an example of such a prank that was perpetrated back in the Malmstrom, of all places.

 It was likely late 1970 at a 490th SMS Dinning Out that I heard the story, A specific crew commander believed in UFOs. And when he went on alert, other crew members in the same squadron on alert at the same time called the the Flight Security Controller at the LCF and pretending to be a local farmer saying there was a glowing object of some significant size hovering over a specific Launch Facility. the FSC notifiers the LCC crew where the UFO believer is and he relates the phone call or patches him in to the caller, not sure of the details. as it is a multi-handed story embellished to make it sound better and the people telling it have had a few drinks any way. The information is relayed to wing command post and eventually SAC CP. I don't know if the flight security was dispatched our not to check the site out, they likely would have been and would have found nothing. So the story was likely spun the the object had left before the call was made to the FSC by the other crew member. Any way it was enough after the fact that the story was written up in one of the UFO magazines and the perpetrators had a big laugh over it.

A little Background about the the prior 490th Squadron Commander. He was a Full Col. who had been offered the Wing Commander Position and turned it down and he had date of rank on all wing staff. So he could get away with a lot and one one on base could touch him. Hi crews knew it and he did not let any one else mess with his crew member either. So the 490th SMS had a reputation as being a very undisciplined squadron where a lot of pranks were pulled. After the 490th Commander retired all of the operations branch officers were replaced and the new squadron commander was supposed to rain in the missile crews which happened to some extent after Gerald G. Falls became Wing Commander if the 341st Strategic Missile Wing.

So this is about as much as I can relay to you, the story was told by by inebriated personal at a squadron dining out and embellished to make it a better story so you can't put a great deal of credence in any of it. but knowing the reputation of the 490th under the form squadron commander it sounds highly likely that such a stunt would have been pulled as there were a number of tricks pulled on crew members even after that in the 490th while I was on crew between June 1970 and April 1974.

490 SMS June 1970 - June 1974
HQ SAC Command Control War Plans Computer Division - System Supervisors [We were the analyst of the SACCS]
DOD Contractor DRC Database Designer F-15 & F-16 Consolidated Data System and designed the F-117 initial database.  

The above story was provided by a former missile crew commander that goes by the moniker "Notlaw99".  If you look at the details of the prank, there are similarities to Salas' story.  So in Salas' case, the possibility of a prank cannot be totally ruled out.  Notlaw99 does provide a valid point when looking at any story told years after the fact in that the reader has to take into account that the story may have been embellished to make it sound better.


I wanted the reader to have the opportunity to see the opinions of others as far as Robert Salas' claim of UFOs and missile dropping off alert at Oscar Flight back on 24 March 1967.   Robert Salas has viewed his position as being easily defended in a "court of law" based on the evidence at hand.  Do these claims constitute a good "case"?

1.  No mentioning of an incident at Oscar Flight in the 341st Unit History.
2.  No mentioning of an incident at Oscar Flight in the engineering and analysis report investigating Echo Flight.
3.  Bernard Nalty makes no reference to an incident at Oscar Flight.
4.  No statements supporting an incident at Oscar Flight from those individuals that were either topside at Oscar or in the field responding to a security violation.
5.  Eric Carlson and Walter Figel discount an incident at Oscar Flight.
6.  No one in the chain of command up-channeling reports to 15th AF and SAC HQ has come forward supporting an incident at Oscar Flight.
7.  Remote, but possible practical joke played on Meiwald and Salas can not be totally ruled out.

The above 7 points may be enough to rule out even a circumstantial case and cast reasonable doubt on any incident occurring at Oscar.  But in the end its up to the reader to decide one way or another and ask the all important question..."Did it really happen?"


  1. This is really an outstanding write-up, Tim -- definitive and extremely thorough. Congrats! I intend to point it out as covering all the bases to anybody who asks me about Oscar. It took me awhile to read, but it was well worth it. You cover a number of issues that nobody else has, and it looks like you've done so from the ground up. There's nothing else like it that's available on the internet, and you really deserve the "good job, mate!"