Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Military, civilian pilots are key part of UFO mysteries

By Steve Hammons

Thousands of sightings of unusual unidentified flying objects (UFOs) have been reported by civilian and military pilots from around the world over past decades.

It is probably safe to assume that many more pilot sightings have gone unreported, due to the risks to pilots’ reputations and jobs. Some may have been counseled that it would be best to forget what they saw.

In the U.S., many military and civilian pilots have been involved in groups seeking to research the subject of UFOs for reasons of aviation safety, national security, scientific curiosity or simply because they found the topic to be a very interesting mystery.

In her new book, UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record, journalist Leslie Kean prominently notes the roles of U.S. and international military and civilian pilots involved in the UFO phenomenon.

Pilot statements about this subject are considered credible because, like peace officers and other professionals, they are considered trained observers. They must have excellent situation awareness and are aware of how aircraft, weather phenomena, stars and other things visually appear in our skies.

And, of course, many civilian pilots are former military aviators.


We know that the late U.S. senator from Arizona, Barry Goldwater, was an Air Force Reserve brigadier general and pilot who was quite interested in the UFO subject. But, he stated that when he inquired about the subject with higher military brass, and particularly about gaining access to certain buildings at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, he was strongly told to back off.

Another Arizonan, former governor Fife Symington, was also an Air Force officer and pilot. He came forward in 2007 and said that he had witnessed the March 13, 1997, so-called "Phoenix lights" incident.

In fact, it was Leslie Kean who broke the story about Symington’s admission in her exclusive March 18, 2007, article on the former governor’s statements.

Kean wrote that Symington said he saw a large triangular "craft of unknown origin" with lights. "It was dramatic. And it couldn't have been flares because it was too symmetrical. It had a geometric outline, a constant shape," Symington told Kean.

Another interesting case was the so-called "Coyne incident" over Mansfield, Ohio, on Oct. 18, 1973. In that case, four members of the Army Reserve were in their military helicopter flying from Columbus to Cleveland. The case is named after the pilot and aircraft commander Capt. Lawrence J. Coyne.

A UFO was first seen on the horizon by a crew member. Then, it approached and flew in very close proximity to their chopper. At one critical point, the pilot feared a collision and promptly positioned the chopper's controls for a quick descent.

However, interestingly, the chopper's altimeter showed that it was actually gaining altitude.

Coyne has been quoted as saying, "We looked up and saw it stopped right over us. It had a big, gray metallic-looking hull about 60 feet long. It was shaped like an airfoil or a streamlined fat cigar. There was a red light on the front. The leading edge glowed red a short distance back from the nose. There was a center dome. A green light at the rear reflected on the hull." Coyne also said the green light swiveled like a spotlight and beamed through the canopy of his craft, bathing the cabin in green light.

This very well-documented case included a formal report made by the chopper crew for the Army Reserve.

The crew included pilot and aircraft commander Coyne, a 19-year veteran of the Army Reserve. The co-pilot was Lt. Arrigo Jezzi. The others onboard were crew chief Specialist 5 Robert Yanacek and flight medic Sgt. John Healey.


Basic research of open source intelligence (OSINT) on the Web will easily bring up many details of the many sightings by military and civilian pilots, as well as other highly credible witnesses.

But, rather than go into details of the history of pilot sightings, which are very significant and provide valuable insight, a story that is fictional might bring the issue to us in a more intimate and interesting way. And, as we know, many a truth can be told through fiction.

In fact, according to some theories, Hollywood has been involved in a gradual public preparedness or acclimation effort for decades, creating movies and TV shows that are helping us get ready to accept a surprising situation related to UFOs.

Other media platforms can also help in preparing the public for possibilities or probabilities of this kind.

In my novel Mission Into Light, a civilian named Mike Green is recruited into a small, secret, joint-service research team called the Joint Reconnaissance Study Group (JRSG). Shortly after he arrives in San Diego and gets oriented, he and two other JRSG members are sent by Navy helicopter from North Island Naval Air Station to Army Fort Huachuca in southern Arizona.

Their group commanding officer, Air Force Colonel Tom O’Brien gives tells Mike about his first assignment with the JRSG. The following is from Mission Into Light:

“By dinner I want you, Thompson, and MacNeil to be on a chopper for Fort Huachuca.”

“What’s the plan for the Huachuca trip, colonel?”

“You, Thompson, and MacNeil will set up a base station at Huachuca. MacNeil arranged for living and office quarters on the post. From there we have several areas of interest to explore. Roswell, New Mexico, and you know why. Sedona, Arizona, and the Four Corners area.”

By four-thirty the late afternoon sun was heading toward its evening rendezvous with the Pacific Ocean.

At the bachelor officers quarters, Mike was adding his luggage to Army Special Forces Colonel Ed Thompson's and Army Special Forces Captain Bill MacNeil’s personal gear in the trunk of a Navy-issue car.

“That’s everything, right?” Thompson asked.

“Yes, sir,” Mike reported.

With MacNeil driving, the three headed along the harbor to the downtown area and across the long, high span of the Coronado Bay bridge to Coronado Island. A Marine at the gate of North Island Naval Air Station examined the security sticker on the car’s windshield, saluted and waved them through.

MacNeil drove to a nearby helicopter squadron building and parked. Two men in Navy flight suits walked out and shook hands. This Navy chopper crew was taking them to Arizona.

When their bags and gear were loaded on the Navy chopper, and all five men on board, the pilots started the engine and the rotor blades came to life. The little craft lifted off and gently rose over San Diego Bay and the City of San Diego. They then headed east, away from the late afternoon sun that was slowly descending toward the Pacific’s horizon.

Ahead, in the east, it was growing darker. The ocean and metropolitan San Diego began to turn to countryside, then pine-covered mountains.

As day turned to evening, the chopper flew over the agricultural Imperial Valley east of San Diego County, and then toward the Colorado River. Entering Arizona air space, the pilots changed course from due east to south-southeast.

Team Two talked with the two pilots as the darkness of the Sonoran Desert enveloped them. Millions of stars were above. Below, the giant saguaro cactus stood watch over the desert. Coyotes prowled the night.

Inside the chopper, dim instrument lights gave the pilots faces an eerie glow.

“So you guys are getting stationed at Huachuca?” the young co-pilot asked.

“Temporary duty,” Thompson answered.

“I like the ocean and the beach myself,” the young Navy lieutenant said. “San Diego’s a great station for me. This desert’s a little too dry for my taste.”

The pilot, a lieutenant commander, had been preoccupied with the instruments. Calmly, he tapped the co-pilot on the shoulder and pointed at the dark night ahead.

“What’s that, Brown?”


“There, those lights.”

The pilot pointed again.

By now Thompson, MacNeil, and Mike were looking over the shoulders of the pilots. Two lights in the distance were swaying in a gentle to-and-fro, and changing colors slightly from blue to red.

“What the hell is that?” Thompson asked.

The pilot now looked concerned.

“I don’t know, colonel.”

As all five men were watching intently, the two lights gently came to a stop. The pilot slowed the chopper.

“Holy shit!” yelled the co-pilot as the two lights shot straight up at an incredible speed. In no more than three seconds they were gone.

The five looked at each other and also searched the sky for signs of the lights. Only stars were visible.

“UFO,” the pilot said calmly.

“What are you saying commander?” Ed Thompson asked.

“Unidentified flying object, sir.”

“What kind?”

“Unknown, colonel. It’s not the first one I’ve seen. As a matter of fact, that one was too far away to make further identification. If you fly a lot, you sometimes see them. Pilots swap stories about them. Carefully. It’s a sensitive area, sir.”

“Well, son of a gun. That’s something all right,” MacNeil added, his mouth hanging open slightly.

Mike Green and the young co-pilot were almost too stunned and excited to talk.

“How much longer to Fort Huachuca?” Mike asked.

“We’re passing near Tucson now,” the pilot answered. “Another half-hour and we’ll be on the ground. Fellas, it doesn’t help a pilot’s career to make a big thing out of a UFO or two. As far as I’m concerned, for the record, I saw a couple of lights.”

“We understand,” Thompson said. “Off the record, what do you think they were?”

“Could be our own experimental craft. Could be extraterrestrial. Who knows? There’s a lot of talk in the aviation community about what’s going on. The pilots in World War Two called them ‘foo fighters.’ You two guys are Special Forces, right? I thought you had the inside intel on spook programs.”

“What makes you think those lights might be part of a covert operation?” Mike asked the pilot.

“It’s just that there are a lot of stories circulating about UFOs, Area 51 in Nevada, flying saucer crashes in the desert, that kind of thing. I’m not a UFO nut, but I’m not stupid either. Okay, men, we’re about fifteen minutes from Huachuca.”

As the pilot and co-pilot made radio contact with the Army post, Mike, Thompson, and MacNeil settled back for the landing. No more moving lights could be seen the night sky.

The chopper landed on a section of the base airstrip reserved for helicopters. An Army Humvee pulled up as the chopper blades came to a rest and Team Two stepped out onto the tarmac.

“Colonel Thompson?” the driver asked.

“That’s me. You’re Captain Baker?”

“Yes sir. If you’ll load your gear in the Humvee, I’ll take you to your quarters.”

After saying good-bye to their chopper pilots, the three men got into the Humvee and were driven to an officers quarters building. They had their own rooms, which were similar to the Navy BOQ at Point Loma, Mike thought. Government-issue Motel 6. After unpacking, they met in Thompson’s room.

“They have an office ready for us. We’ll check that out tomorrow. MacNeil, first thing in the morning I want you to get two vehicles for our use. You and Green will be driving to Roswell, New Mexico. We may want you to leave day after tomorrow. I’ll be calling the old man in the morning. Any questions? Well, let’s hit the hay.”

Back in his room, Mike noticed it was almost ten o’clock. The adrenalin from the flight had now dissipated. After a hot shower, he fell into a deep sleep.

The next morning, the men discussed their mission over breakfast.

“Baker says the New Mexico state line is a stone’s throw away. We’ll check out the office they’ve given us and get the cars. I’ll call the old man in San Diego and we’ll just settle-in a little bit.”

“You going to tell him about the lights we saw, Ed?” MacNeil asked through a mouthful of hash browns.

“Hell, yes. This is a key part of our research. It may even mean more than we realize now. That may not be the last UFO sighting of this project. We don’t have to worry as much as that Navy chopper pilot about getting our wings clipped for reporting strange happenings."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Journalist’s new book, planned movie examine UFO questions

By Steve Hammons

Two new examinations of the UFO situation may provide increased insight and understanding for much larger audiences.

Journalist Leslie Kean’s book UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record goes on sale Aug. 10, 2010, and is being praised as thorough and professional reporting on this mysterious topic.

The planned feature film Majic Men is based on the research and books of physicist Stanton Friedman and investigator Donald R. Schmitt. Producers Don Most and Bryce Zabel are helping lead this project.

Kean’s book and the Majic Men movie, along with an increasing number of responsible, intelligent and fascinating media explorations of the UFO subject, are sure to improve public awareness and expand our perception of the possibilities involved.

By doing so, our readiness and preparedness to deal with certain possible or probable situations of this kind will be enhanced.


Kean has worked as a journalist for major newspapers and has a rich background in investigative journalism. She has had a longstanding interest in the UFO phenomena, having conducted in-depth research on the subject for a decade or more.

As the book title indicates, she focused on interviews with high-level government officials from the U.S. and other countries as well as the American and international aviation community, military and civilian.

She provides more solid facts that further inform us about something real that is going on regarding UFOs.

The apparent secrecy and security surrounding this mysterious topic presented significant challenges even for an experienced investigative journalist like Kean. Human development, scientific advancement, international relations, national security or even planetary security are reported to be possible elements of this puzzling situation.

Her book description notes that, “Throughout, she presents irrefutable evidence that unknown flying objects – metallic, luminous, and seemingly able to maneuver in ways that defy the laws of physics – actually exist.”

Kean’s book has received praise from scientists, scholars, journalists and others.

Well-known physicist and TV science host Michio Kaku, Ph.D., wrote, "At last, a serious and thoughtful book about this controversial subject. Skeptics and true believers will find a treasure trove of insightful and eye opening information. This book is bound to set the gold standard for UFO research."

Another respected physicist, Harold E. “Hal” Puthoff, Ph.D., said, “In these pages we are confronted head-on by the UFO phenomenon as revealed firsthand by highly credible government officials and military aviation experts. Their credibility and integrity cannot be questioned, and their firsthand observations cannot be ignored.”

He also added, “Leslie Kean provides a challenging analysis and she writes with penetrating depth and insight. The revelations in this book constitute a watershed event in lifting the taboo against rational discourse about this controversial subject.” Puthoff is director of The Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin.

John L. Petersen, founder and president of The Arlington Institute also pointed out that, “In an area of study where there aren’t many, this is a serious book. It is credible, clear, and compelling, without any farfetched jumps in logic and assumption. Leslie Kean not only makes the case for, but calls for, a whole new concrete and realistic perspective on UFOs that has more honesty and integrity than any other that I have read. This is a book for anyone with an open mind.”

Christopher C. “Kit” Green, MD, Ph.D., of Harper University Hospital and Ohio’s Wayne State University School of Medicine, also gave the book a thumbs-up. "Leslie Kean’s astonishing book is the finest piece of investigative journalism ever written on this subject. She has an incomparable ability to ‘give voice’ to a constituency of exceptionally qualified and unbiased first-hand observers. They are not from the fringe, not groupies, and not delusional.”

Green noted, “Rather, they are high-level military, intelligence, aerospace, and government officials who speak with authority while providing reports that document actual, physical craft. Kean’s book represents the first important step toward a new U.S. government openness about UFOs. It brings forward a reality otherwise buried for far too long inside official mystery, and elevates the discourse above that of small-minded public discussions."


The Majic Men film project is based on the lives of Stanton Friedman and Donald R. Schmitt and their years of research into the so-called Roswell incident and circumstances involved in UFOs.

Schmitt and co-author Thomas J. Carey wrote the book Witness to Roswell, released in 2007 with an update in 2009. Friedman’s book Top Secret/MAJIC was published in 1997 and updated in 2005.

The titles of the book and movie reference an alleged secret group formed by U.S. President Harry Truman following the Roswell incident. The group is rumored to have been called Majestic, Majestic-12, MJ-12, Majestic Agency for Joint Intelligence or, simply MAJIC. There have also been indications of a security clearance level called MAJIC.

Stellar Productions, a southern California production company, has acquired rights to the stories of Friedman’s and Schmitt’s investigations.

According to a July 2, 2010 press release, Bryce Zabel, president and writer/producer at Stellar said, "Our film is about two down-to-Earth guys who are chasing a story that is literally out-of-this-world. Both Friedman and Schmitt are underdog American heroes, men who hate being lied to and will bear almost any burden to get at the truth."

The press release also explains that the film will focus on lives of Schmitt and Friedman “as they continue investigations from the late 1970s to our near-present day, revealing how the original UFO secret was handled. What they discover is an intense five-year-period from the Roswell crash of 1947 through the briefing of President Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.”

“The screenplay for Majic Men will be written by Zabel, winner of the 2008 Writers Guild of America award for the Hallmark miniseries, Pandemic,” according to the press release. “He has written feature film scripts for Warner Bros., Universal, Fox, Disney, and New Line.”

“His work in the UFO field includes creating the NBC drama series, Dark Skies (scheduled for DVD release in January 2011), writing and producing the Sci-Fi Channel original film Official Denial, and working on the development team of the Spielberg series, Taken.”

The press release also noted, “The production team's Don Most, although best-known for his work on the popular sitcom Happy Days, is also a long-time activist in the movement to end UFO secrecy. He recently produced and directed two feature films, Last Best Sunday and Moola.”

Most said, "Majic Men is as much about the investigators as it is the investigation. Audiences are going to find both their hearts and their minds opened when they watch it."

“Stellar Productions may partner with another production company or studio to develop the Majic Men project. Additionally, a new non-fiction book, also titled Majic Men, is expected to coincide with the release of any future film,” according to the press release.

For more information, visit the website of Kean’s book and the Majic Men website.