Foo Fighters: Our Military's First Encounters with UFOs

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The recent revelations by Cmdr. David Fravor about his encounter with a tic-tac object during operations off the USS Nimitz in 2004 are another in a long line of engagements between U.S. military aircraft and strange objects sharing the sky.

January 1, 1945. U.S. News & World Report reporter Robert C. Wilson published a story that appeared in newspapers across The United States. He detailed accounts of the 415th Night Fighter Squadron, based in France, of strange fireball lights that followed and harried their aircraft during night-time operations over Germany's Rhine Valley. The article is shown at left. 

Like Fravor's sighting, air radar was unable to detect the objects. Ground-based radar also tracked nothing during reports of the lights. Yet, crew after crew reported the sightings and reported being very concerned about the objects. One 415th pilot reported to author Keith Chester that they caused him to be, "Scared shitless."

The name foo-fighters was coined by 415th radar operator Donald J. Meiers from a nonsense word in the title of a popular firefighter cartoon from the time. It stuck and soon squadrons all over the European theater had heard of foo-fighters or reported them on their own missions.

Wilson speculates in the article that they must be some new kind of German weapon. However, the fight crews point out the lights never took any aggressive action against the planes. They simply followed them, often shadowing the planes as they maneuvered at over 300 miles per hour. The lights also appeared to be able to outperform their aircraft.

The topic gained some notoriety back home. Everyone from military psychiatrists to media commentators was speculating what the lights could be. Some thought the men were hallucinating due to battle fatigue or the stress of their jobs. Others thought it was a new secret German weapon. Still others thought it was some natural phenomenon like St. Elmo's Fire or an optical illusion.

The crews, at the time and in the years after the war, rejected these explanations, though they were not sure themselves nor in agreement on what they saw. Many of the explanations are easily dismissed, including that they were German weapons, by the fact pilots in the Pacific also began seeing the lights.

According to a 2016 article in Air & Space, the US Army Air Command dispatched teams to investigate the sightings, but the records of that investigation were reported to be "lost" after the war. In 1953, the CIA formed The Robertson Panel to investigate reports contained in the Air Force's Project Blue Book. The panel, comprised of six top scientists, came back with a verdict that objects reported posed no threat to national security and posited explanations that would become debunker talking points.

The Robertson Panel report read in part:

“In summarizing this discussion, I would restate that on three of the main theories in explanation of these phenomena, - a US development, a Russian development, and space ships - the evidence either of fact or of logic is so strongly against them that they warrant at present no more than speculative consideration. However, it is important that there are many who believe in them and will continue to do so in spite of any official pronouncement which may be made. This whole affair has demonstrated that there is a fair proportion of our population which is mentally conditioned to acceptance of the incredible. Thus we arrive at two danger points which, in a situation of international tension, seem to have National Security implications.”

During this same period, Air Force Intelligence General John A. Samford held a press conference (video) in Washington D.C. claiming the same. Samford led Air Force Intelligence during the beginnings of Project Blue Book.

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Here's the key, my friends. To the casual observer of recent information releases, It may seem like the acknowledgement of the Advanced Aerial Threat Identification Program (AATIP) was a first. Cmdr. Fravor's report was treated by the media as if this was something we've never heard before. Seventy years of cover up and deception can make people forget that these reports from our military, interest by the military and intelligence agencies, and these phenomena have been with us a very long time.

There's a great line from the very first season of The X-Files - an episode called "Deep Throat." Mulder meets "Deep Throat" on an athletic field after having his memory erased because he saw a reverse-engineered UFO.

Mulder asks, "They're here, aren't they?"
To which Deep Throat replies, "Mr. Mulder, they've been here for a very long time."


Don't let anyone fool you. We're not just now exploring mysterious materials. We've been doing that and creating products from them for decades. AATIP does not represent the sum of the investigation nor the apex of knowledge on these topics. We're not at the beginning of some journey of slow disclosure where the clock just started. We are seven plus decades into a cover up of information that impacts every human being on this planet. Now is not the time for soft-disclosure and soft-peddling. Now is the moment for a sober announcement that gets everyone on the same page so we can start seriously discussing a response to these visitors, whatever they are, that's not just tilted toward defense and paranoia, but toward a beneficial way forward for our species.

Ray Davis
for 6 Sense Media