On my birthday, July 26 1952; I came into this world greeted by much awe and mystery.
UFOs over Washington D.C. on July 26, there were multiple radar confirmations of the objects, and F-94s were sent to confront the invading fliers. However, as soon as they approached the UFOs, the lights of the pursued blacked out. The frustration of our pilots could be summed up in an air to ground radio transmission: "They've surrounded my plane, what should I do?"
(Uncl) Material for Project Blue Book
Chief, Air Technical Department of the Air Force 11 Aug 52
Intelligence Center Hq USAF - AFOIN-2A2 Maj Fournet/vg/71016
BY COMMAND OF THE CHIEF OF STAFF:
JAMES P. BECKETT
WILLIAM W. WILCOX
Chief, Policy and Management Group
Office, Deputy Director for Estimates
Directorate of Intelligence
Rpts of U/I Flying Objects
originated by AFOIN-2A2
AFOIN-2A2 AFOIN-2A AFOIN-2
signature signature signature
Washington, D.C.- Night of 26/27 July 52
(Partially witnessed by Maj. Fournet and Lt Holcomb
AFOIN-2C5; remainder as reported to them)
This incident involved u/i targets observed on the radar scopes at the Air Route Traffic Control Center and the tower, both at Washington National Airport, and the Approach Control Radar at Andrews AFB. In addition, visual observations were reported to Andrews and Bolling AFB and to ARTC Center, the latter by pilots of commercial a/c and one CAA a/c. Two flights of interceptors were dispatched from Newcastle, Del., but their official reports have not been received by this office; comments on their conversations with ARTC Center personnel are included herein. It has been impossible to collect all facts for a single report. The Base Intelligence Officer, Bolling AFB, is submitting a report covering the Bolling and Andrews aspects of the incident. This report covers the facts obtained from Washington National A/P personnel, the USAF Command Post and the AFOIN Duty Officer log. As yet, the commerical and CAA pilots who reported visuals have not been contacted, nor have other potential sources been investigated. Such action will not be possible by this office.
1. Varying numbers (up to 12 simultaneously) of u/i targets on ARTC radar scope. Termed by CAA personnel as "generally, solid returns", similar to a/c return except slower. No definable pattern of maneuver except at very beginning about 2150 EDT, 4 targets in rough line abreast with about 1 1/2 mile spacing moved slowly together (giving about 1" trace persistency at an estimated speed of less than 100 mph) on a heading of 110. At the same time 8 other targets were scattered throughout scope. ARTC checked Andrews Approach Control by telephone at 2200 EDT, following which weak and sporadic (unsteady) returns were picked up intermittently for another 3+ hours. Washington National Tower radar crew reports only one target positively u/i. This return was termed a "very good target" which moved across the scope from West to East at about 30 to 40 mph. However, the radar operators stated that there could have been other u/i targets on their scopes, particularly outside their area of a/c control, which they would not have noticed or would have assumed to be a/c under ARTC Center control. However, they noticed no other unusual (i.e. very slow or erratic) returns. ARTC Center controllers also report that a CAA flight inspector, Mr Bill Schreve, flying a/c #NC-12 reported at 2246 EDT that he had visually spotted 5 objects giving off a light glow ranging from orange to white; his altitude at time was 2200'. Some commercial pilots reported visuals ranging from "cigarette glow" (red-yellow) to "a light" (as recorded from their conversations with ARTC controllers). At 2238 EDT the USAF Command Post was notified of ARTC targets. Command Post notified ADC and KADF at 2245, and 2 F-94s were scrambled from Newcastle at 2300 EDT. ARTC controlled F-94's after arrival in area and vectored them to targets with generally negative results (flew through "a batch of radar returns" without spotting anything). However, one pilot mentioned seeing 4 lights at one time and a second time as seeing a single light ahead but unable to close whereupon light "went out" (these comments from ARTC controllers). One ARTC controller worked a USAF B-25 (AF8898 ?) for about 1 hour 20 mins about 2230 EDT. B-25 was vectored in on numerous targets and commented that each vector took him over a busy highway or intersection. Maj Fournet (AFOIN-2A2) and Lt. Holcomb (USN, AFOIN-2C5) arrived at ARTC Center about 27/0015 EDT. Lt. Holcomb observed scopes and reported "7 good, solid targets". He made a quick check with airport Weather Station and determined that there was a slight temperature inversion (about 1°) from the surface to about 1000'. However, he felt that the scope targets at that time were not the result of this inversion and so advised the Command Post with the suggestion that a second intercept flight be requested. (2nd intercept flight controlled by ARTC, but no strong targets remained when they arrived. They were vectored on dim targets with negative results.) Maj. Fournet and Lt. Holcomb remained in ARTC Center until 0415, but no strong targets were picked up; many dim and unstable targets (assumed due to temperature inversion) were observed throughout the remainder of the period.
2. Intermittently between 26/2150 and 27/0100 EDT July 52. Periods of observation vary.
3. Electronic: VG-2 radar (ARTC) and ASR-1 radar (Tower). Others visual from air (details unknown).
4. Radar located at Washington National Airport, Washington, D.C. (Alexandria, Va.), a/c #NC-12 believed in vicinity of Aberdeen/Baltimore, Md., commercial a/c reporting visuals located in general area vicinity Washington National A/P.
5. ARTC Center radar crew and controllers:
Austin M. Staff )
Lloyd Sykes )
James M. Ritchey ) All are CAA employees with varying
Harry Barnes ) levels of experience (ARTC radar in-
James M. Copeland ) stalled Jan. 52). All appeared to
Stewart Dawson ) be serious, conscientious and
Phil Ceconi ) sincere although somewhat vague about
Mike Sankow ) details of their experience on 26/27
Jerome Biron ) July. Considered fairly reliable.
Washington Tower radar operators:
Lester G. Woodahl (2yrs radar) ) Conscientious and sincere.
Salvatore Marinello (1 1/2 years radar) ) Direct manner. Appeared
sure of themselves. Con-
sidered very reliable.
Observer in a/c #NC-12: Mr. Bill Schreve, reliability unknown.
Pilots of commercial a/c: unknown.
6. Weather clear, scattered thins (alt unknown).
Temperatures at 26/2200Z as reported by Washington National
4800 20 )
10,000 7 ) Steady drop
15,000 0 )
22,000 -17 ) ) Constant
22,800 -17 )
7. See 6. Others negative.
9. See 1. Official reports not received.
10. Normal commercial traffic inbound and outbound Washington National Airport plus some USAF a/c - all known and identified.
ARTC crew commented that, as compared with u/i returns picked up in early hours of 20 July 52, these returns appeared to be more haphazard in their sections, i.e. they did not follow a/c around nor did they cross scope consistently on same general heading. Some commented that the returns appeared to be from objects "capable of dropping out of the pattern at will". Also that returns had "creeping appearance". One member of crew commented that one object to which F-94 was vectored just "disappeared from Scope"
shortly after F-94 started pursuing. All crew members emphatic that most u/i returns were "solid". Finally, it was mentioned that u/i returns have been picked up from time to time over the past few months but never before had they appeared in such quantities over such a prolonged period and with such definition as was experienced on the nights of 19/20 and 26/27 July 52.
A transcript of a conversation between the towers at Washington National and Andrews which took place at 2130 EDT 26 July is attached. The "Center" mentioned is the ARTC Center at Washington National. The number of the National Airlines flight referred to is unknown.
- 4 -
July 26, 1952
"THE CUPLESS SAUCER"
Transcription fro (sic) the record at WNA:
(2130 EDT 26 July)
Washington Tower: Andrews Tower, do you read? Did you have an airplane
in sight west-northwest or east of your airport east-
Andrews: No, but we just got a call from the Center. We're looking
Washington: We've got a big target showing up on our scope. He's just
coming in on the west edge of your airport--the northwest
edge of it eastbound.
He'll be passing right through the northern portion of your
field on an east heading. He's about a quarter of a mile
from the northwest runway--right over the edge of your
northwest runway now.
Andrews: What happend to your target now?
Washington: He's still eastbound. He went directly over Andrews Field
and is now five miles west.
Andrews: Where did he come from?
Washington: We picked him up ourselves at about seven miles east, slightly
southeast, and we have been tracking him ever since then. The
Center has been tracking him farther than that.
Andrews: Was he waving his course?
Washington: Holding steady course, due east heading.
Andrews: This is Andrews. Our radar tracking says he's got a big fat
target out here northeast of Andrews. He says he's got two
more south of the field.
Washington: Yes, well the Center has about four or five around the
Andrews Range Station.
The Center is working a National Airlines--the Center is
working him and vectoring him around his target. He went
around Andrews. He saw one of them--looks like a meteor.
(Garbled)..Went by him..or something. He said he's got
one about three miles off his right wing right now.
There are so many targets around here it is hard to tell
as they are not moving very fast.
Andrews: What about his altitude?
Washington: Well, must be over 8,000 feet as we don't have him in
radar any more.
July 27: 0020 EDT.
[*] F-94 jet interceptors scrambled from New Castle AFB, Del., to investigate Washington, D.C., radar- UFOs. One F-94 pilot made visual contact and appeared to be gaining on target; both F-94 and UFO were observed on radar and "appeared to be travelling at the same approximate speed." When the F-94 pilot tried to overtake the UFO, it disappeared visually and on radar. The pilot remarked about the "incredible speed of the object." (AFOSI.)
July 27: 1930 EDT.
Air Force Lieutenant at Andrews AFB saw a dark disc moving slowly northeast with "oscillating rolling motion." Clouds were moving southeast. UFO entered base of clouds. (UFOE, p. 161, from CAA report.)
July 27: 2100 EDT.
Air Force personnel and others at National Airport saw a large round object reflecting sunlight, apparently hovering over the Capital Building. After about a minute, the object "wavered then shot straight up disappearing from sight." (AF Int.)
July 26 2002, Bright Blue UFO Scrambles
113th Squadron Near D.C.
"Routine" Exercise Chasing High Speed UFOs?
F-16s Pursue Unknown Craft Over Region
By Steve Vogel
Washington Post Staff Writer
For Renny Rogers, it was strange enough that military jets were flying
low over his home in Waldorf in the middle of the night. It was what he
thinks he saw when he headed outside to look early yesterday that
"It was this object, this light-blue object, traveling at a phenomenal rate
of speed," Rogers said. "This Air Force jet was right behind it, chasing it,
but the object was just leaving him in the dust. I told my neighbor,
'I think those jets are chasing a UFO.' "
Military officials confirm that two F-16 jets from Andrews Air Force Base
were scrambled early yesterday after radar detected an unknown aircraft
in area airspace. But they scoff at the idea that the jets were chasing a
strange and speedy, blue unidentified flying object.
"We had a track of interest, so we sent up some aircraft," said Maj.
Douglas Martin, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense
Command in Colorado, which has responsibility for defending U.S.
airspace. "Everything was fine in the sky, so they returned home."
At the same time, military officials say they do not know just what the
jets were chasing, because whatever it was disappeared. "There are
any number of scenarios, but we don't know what it was," said Maj.
Barry Venable, another spokesman for NORAD.
Radar detected a low, slow-flying aircraft about 1 a.m. yesterday,
according to a military official. Controllers were unable to establish
radio communication with the unidentified aircraft, and NORAD was
notified. When the F-16s carrying air-to-air missiles were launched
from Andrews, the unidentified aircraft's track faded from the radar,
the military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Pilots with the D.C. Air National Guard's 113th Air Wing, which
flew the F-16s from Andrews, reported nothing out of the ordinary,
NORAD officials said.
"It was a routine launch," said Lt. Col. Steve Chase, a senior officer
with the wing, which keeps pilots and armed jets on 24-hour alert at
Andrews to respond to incidents as part of an air defense system
protecting Washington after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Rogers remains convinced that what he saw was not routine.
"It looked like a shooting star with no trailing mist," he said.
"I've never seen anything like it."
© 2002 The Washington Post Company