August 28, 1954 - Oklahoma City
NICAP lists a case in its chronology that should have an extensive paper trail that I wanted to examine:
August 28, 1954--Oklahoma City, Okla. Fifteen UFOs in precise triangular formation observed by hundreds of citizens, Tinker AFB radar. [VIII]1
Section VII is titled “special evidence” and it falls into the Radar category. Hoping for more information, I turned to the page and found the following brief statement:
Fifteen UFOs in triangle formation tracked on radar, chased by jets; changed to semi-circle formation and sped away.2
There is no mention of radar and the source listed is Donald Keyhoe’s “Flying Saucer Con- spiracy”. There is no additional information so I decided to see if project Blue Book had a case for that date and would provide me with the paper trail that, I thought, should exist.
Blue Book’s response is ...
Instead of an extensive file, Blue Book’s record of this case is almost non-existent. They do list a case for that date but it states that
it is for Information only and no solution is given. It is not even listed as “unidentified”. So what happened?
A search of the files reveals a series of documents regarding this case. It starts with a letter on July 16, 1960 from the James Maney, who had the title of “deputy director” of a UFO group called “Interplanetary intelligence of Unidentified Flying Objects”. He wrote the following:4
ATIC reported that they had no records of any UFO sightings over Oklahoma City in August of 1954. This prompted Colonel Tacker to respond with a letter on August 5, stating that they had no record of such an event and that they suggested for Maney to look into the local newspapers.5
Because Blue Book seems unaware of this event, I was left going to other sources to determine the details of this sighting.
Brad Sparks includes this in his list of unidentified Blue Book cases:
Aug. 28, 1954. Tinker AFB, Okla. (35.42° N, 97.37° W). 8:30 p.m. Several USAF pilots flying fighters saw a triangular formation of 15 ob- jects, tracked by ground radar. (Sparks; Weinstein)6
The location is simply the latitude and longitude for Tinker AFB. It is not the location of any actual sighting. The “Sparks” source is not very specific. All we can assume is that this is based on Sparks’ personal research so it is hard to determine exactly what sources he used. If you examine the Weinstein file, we find that his source is NICAP’s document and Larry Hatch’s database. Larry Hatch’s database is unavailable but it uses Keyhoe as a source! It appears that almost all the information about this UFO sighting is traced back to Donald Keyhoe.
Keyhoe describes the event in “The Flying saucer conspiracy”:
Some reports, of course, are bound to leak out, especially when sighted near cities. But even when local papers run front-page stories, the UFO censors often deny the reports or quickly explain them away. One such incident occurred in August of ‘54.
At 8:30 pm, a formation of 15 flying saucers approached Oklahoma City. Picked up by radar, the strange machines were spotted from Tinker AFB. Within seconds, by standing orders of the Air Defense Command, a flight of jets was dispatched.
Under AFR 200-2, emergency teletype messages were flashed to ADC Headquarters, to ATIC and the Pentagon. At the same time, warn- ing alerts were phoned to Will Rogers Airport, the Oklahoma State Police and to GOC (Ground Observer Corps) posts in a radius of 200 miles.
Meanwhile, in precision triangular formation, the fifteen saucers had raced over the edge of the city. The jets, guns set to fire, hurtled after them at full power. Abruptly the formation broke. Changing into a semicircle, the saucers speeded up and vanished into the west.
Immediately, additional alerts were flashed to western Air Filter Centers. When the Tinker Field pilots landed, after a fruitless chase, they were bombarded with questions by a team of Intelligence officers. Then the teletypes clattered again, with urgent follow-up reports.
But though the saucer chase had been seen by hundreds in the city, and the alert was confirmed by the State Police, Tinker Field officers refused to admit the sighting.
Time and again, in the past year, Air Defense fighters have streaked up into the night, trying to force down saucers hovering over our cit- ies. Yet few of these incidents are officially admitted. 7
Inhisbook,“FlyingSaucers:TopSecret”,Keyhoestateshehadseenascriptforaprogramcalled,“Looktotheskies”. Thefunnything about it, is that Keyhoe reports the script was written and approved by the USAF! To him this implied the USAF had confirmed the story. However, the script he cites is an EXACT replica of the above passage.8 It provided no new information and was simply par- roting what Keyhoe had written. This “script” has never appeared in the public domain that I am aware of and was simply based on Keyhoe’s book. It was not based on any additional data or information.
Looking through the newspaper archive, I found no reference to this case. There were several UFO sightings around this date and one was pretty close to Oklahoma city in Woodward, Oklahoma. This was seen by 1500 people and was determined to be a balloon. I discussed this with several individuals, including Herb Taylor. Herb concluded, as had I, that it must have been in the Oklahoma City newspaper. I was in the process of asking a friend in the Oklahoma region to check the local library when Herb contacted Barry Greenwood. Greenwood provided this article that appeared in the Oklahoman on August 29, 19549:
The exact number of witnesses is not listed so it is hard to determine where the number of “hundreds” came from. We have some unnamed witnesses and one named source, which gave the description of seeing luminous sources in a trian- gular pattern that changed into a semi-circle as they flew west. We have no idea if the other witnesses even saw the same thing! There is no mention of any radar contact or jets pursuing these UFOs in the article. One would expect some of these hundreds” of witnesses would have seen the jets mentioned by Keyhoe and reported it to the news media.
Why is this case even listed?
We don’t know what these witnesses actually saw. They might have been birds in formation illuminated by city lights or alien spaceships. However, the idea of a jet chase and radar contact seems to be based solely on “inside sources” that Keyhoe used. Are those “inside sources” legitimate or are they nothing more than rumors that he printed as “facts”? Did anybody ever research this case beyond what Keyhoe had written?
It is a fact that something was reported as being seen that night. However, what is presented in the UFO evidence is a version of events that can not be verified and appears to be an exaggeration of what actually transpired. Radar operators/technicians, pilots, aircraft support crews, and air tower personnel would have been aware of this event. The lack of a single confirming witness to this part of the case makes it unlikely that it happened this way. Keyhoe’s sensationalist style of writing has been accepted as factual but there is absolutely nothing to prove the claims of radar contact or jets attempting an intercept.
This case is based on, as far as I can tell, one newspaper report and “rumors”. At best it is an “insufficient information” classification. To consider this case as proof that UFOs are “manifestations of extraterrestrial life”10 is wishful thinking.
Quelle: SUNlite 2/2014