UFOs at Nuclear Weapons Sites (Salas, Malmstrom, Eagle Flight) - Skeptical Resources

Mick West

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Staff member
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[Thread Updated, October 20, 2021]

Robert Salas' claims about UFO deactivating Nuclear weapons are once again bouncing around the media. A lot of the older analysis of these claims is getting lost to Internet decay, so I've gathered here the key resources that help understand the story from a skeptic's perspective.

James Carlson's highly detailed (357 Pages) "American, Credulous - Establishing the Truth Behind the Echo Flight Incident of March 16, 1967"
Article:
The Echo Flight Incident holds a sad place of pride in Robert Hastings’ history of UFO interest in the marching forth of nuclear arms around the world, UFOs and Nukes, but as we shall see, his general disregard for anything approaching a generally accepted standard of proof ensures that his magnum opus will be forever classified as an interesting but ultimately useless example of modern folklore,


2010-03 Tim Printy, The Malmstrom AFB Missile shutdown: An examination of James Carlson’s critique, SUNlite magazine.
Article:
When examining the information presented by James Carlson, we have to seriously question the various stories told about any missile shutdown beyond the Echo flight on March 16, 1967. Only a few people have come forward to even provide testimony that might support Salas’ tale. Some of it has been subjectively interpreted by over eager UFO investigators wanting to promote their books and research. Meanwhile, there seems to be a perfectly logical explanation for what caused the missile shutdown. In my skeptical opinion, it seems that James Carlson provides a very good case for what transpired at Malmstrom that spring and there is no reason to suspect that UFOs were involved in any way


2010-08-14 Ryan Dube, The Malmstrom AFB Missile/UFO Incident, March 1967
Article:
According to Ufology researcher/writer Robert Hastings, on March 16, 1967, the appearance of UFOs at Echo-Flight nuclear missile facility allegedly shut down the missile silo. Robert Hasting’s information comes from a man named Robert Salas who claimed he witnessed the event.

The son of one of the officers who was involved in the Echo flight incident, named James Carlson, took Hastings and Salas to task for those claims. Carlson contends that both his father and retired Col. Walt Figel, the other officer involved in the incident, both reported that there were no UFOs.


2010-09-01 Ryan Dube, The Malmstrom AFB Missile/UFO Incident - Part II
Article:
In this update, James goes a step further and provides email evidence to support his direct contact with Echo Flight witness Walt Figel. As we progress in this story, RU is working to obtain final evidence to confirm the new information James now offers, which directly counters what Hastings and Salas are reporting about cho Flight.

But first, we will continue with James’ comments in our forum – comments aimed directly at Robert Hastings and Robert Salas and challenging them to provide proof for their claims about Walt Figel and Carlson’s father. Make sure to read through to the bottom of this post, where James provides evidence of his communications with witness Walt Figel.


2010-09-12 Ryan Dube interviews Eric Carlson
Article:
For those of you following along with this story (or for those of you who are just coming along now), I have the pleasure to introduce you to one of the men who has been at the epicenter of a storm within the Ufology community.

It has been a longstanding legend within Ufology that a UFO was sighted over the Silos at Echo Flight and Oscar flight, and that those UFOs were related to the electronic malfunction and shutdown of the nuclear missiles protecting the United States of America from the Communist threat.


2010-09-26 Ryan Dube- "The Echo Flight UFO Debate Continues" (Reality Uncovered)
Article:
After the last four articles published here at RU covering the witness statements obtained from primary Echo Flight witnesses Walter Figel and Eric Carlson, an already fiery online “debate” grew even more heated.


2010-10-07 Richard Dolan takes a deep dive, and is more pro-UFO. He ultimately thinks something happened, but is concerned about the discrepencies raised
Article:
I want to add that when I began looking into the allegations, I did not do so with a preconceived conclusion in mind. I tried very hard to let reason, not emotion, be my guide. I admit that the allegations about Salas disturbed me, but I was determined not to let that guide my own analysis.
...
At this stage, I remain of the opinion that there was indeed one or more UFO events connected with the shut-down of missiles at Malmstrom Air Force Base. The case is not the slam-dunk that many of us had assumed, but I believe it is stronger than the critics have argued. And I certainly am not persuaded that key promoters of the case are liars.


2010 James Carlson's Shorter article, originally written for SUNLite
Article:
And so, with a simple snip of all loose ends, we see that not only were no UFOs involved at Echo Flight or any other flight of missiles taken off of strategic alert at Malmstrom AFB in March 1967, it is highly probable that questions of UFO intervention would not have been raised by anybody, had it not been for the investigation conducted by Raymond Fowler, a NICAP investigator who didn’t know anywhere near as much about UFOs at Malmstrom AFB as he thought he did. In closing, it should be Page 35 of 43 stressed as well, that -- in contrast to Timothy Good’s opinion that although the UFO aspects of these events were unconfirmed, he sees “no reason to doubt” them – any claims of UFO interference with any of the four missile flights discussed in this analysis is completely unsupportable – and we see no reason to believe them.


2011 Tim Hebert's "Disproving a UFO Case"
Article:
When taking into account the above 11 assertions, Echo merely becomes a great UFO story. But that is all ...a story, nothing more and nothing less. All of the verifiable facts support a weapon system anomaly that was only magnified due to the number of sorties that had dropped off alert, thus the UFO theory is indefensible and becomes only what it's proponents wish it to be. The only support for UFO involvement is the rumors and these rumors could have came from many different sources for various agendas or purposes.

With several more articles on Tim's blog, including a Oct, 2021 overview of the latest Salas presentation
Article:
Based on what I saw and heard there was nothing new presented that advanced any of Salas' claims regarding Echo and/or Oscar Flights at Malmstrom back in 1967. Again, missing is any collaborating information from other personnel that would have been present on 24/25 March 1967.


2014-01 Robert Sheaffer on the Oscar Flight "UFO"
Article:
he claims of UFOs supposedly interfering with missiles are complicated and confusing, and I will do my best to un-confuse them. However, the incident as depicted in Close Encounters is a relatively simple one. A bright, glowing orange UFO is allegedly seen over the base by security men [likely Mars], and then the Oscar Flight missiles were said to start going off-line, one by one [Only Salas remembers this].


Comment by Tim Hebert on Sheaffer's article.
Article:
Recently, Salas had disclosed (Paul Kimball via Billy Cox?) that he had undergone hypnosis in the mid 1980s to help recall certain aspects of the incident, as well as claiming that he was abducted by aliens. I believe this further puts a stake in the heart of credibility in my opinion. Canadian viewers were not privy to that tid bit of info, were they?

From my stand point, Salas' claims stretches coherence to the nth degree and more and more moves into the realm of total confabulation or...an elaborate hoax was perpetrated on him while out in the field that day.


[Update Oct 2021] This new first post is a summary of the various resources in the original thread (which starts with the post following this one). Since many of the articles no longer exist, I have replaced them with archive links
 

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Jason

Senior Member
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/09/23/aliens-monitoring-nukes-worry-ex-air-force-officers/
http://www.citizenhearing.org/witnesses_robert_s.html
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=utamtXmxX8E


I didn't know where to discuss this sort of thing since it happened almost half a century ago, and I couldn't find anything about this on this forum. I've never been one to believe in aliens or UFO's, but I have to be honest this kind of gave me the chills. I was watching tv with my wife last night on the science channel and this topic came on. A captain in the US Airforce claims a UFO shut down our nuclear missile site at Malmstrom AFB in Montana in 1967.
He discusses this with Fox News;
Does anyone know the about the validity of these sightings? Is Captain Salas lying about what he witnessed?
 
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Jason

Senior Member
THAT is a good question!
I think the question is why would a captain in the US Air Force lie about what he witnessed. What benefit does he stand to gain by doing this? There's no doubt in my mind that the CIA was instrumental in using UFO's as a ploy to divert attention away from their top secret projects. But when Salas experienced these events, at the time I don't think he was thinking aliens. He expressed concern that it was possibly Russian technology, and because the 10 minute men missiles at his site deactivated, he was worried that the entire nation could be under attack. I don't see that as not being a possible concern at the time. I mean these were the most powerful weapons in the US arsenal at the time, and they were secured in such a way that no outside interference could disarm them. We can see that all 10 in fact did disarm, and there was no known cause for it besides the fact that it happened. I believe most events can be explained away, but for some reason this event is more believable because of the source.
 
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Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Well my question was how were they determined to be malfunctioning? What malfunctioned? Do missiles have some kind of active running program when they're just sitting there that was interfered with?

I see you've said they were disarmed - can you give some technical detail on what this actually means and how it was determined they were disarmed?
 

Jason

Senior Member
Well my question was how were they determined to be malfunctioning? What malfunctioned? Do missiles have some kind of active running program when they're just sitting there that was interfered with?

I see you've said they were disarmed - can you give some technical detail on what this actually means and how it was determined they were disarmed?
I'm sorry the missile systems shut down, not disarmed.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Well that was in the news in 2010. And it is unfortunately just their word, there doesn't appear to be any corroborating evidence for these events.
However, it is unclear to me what evidence that proves their claims was actually presented - anyone know what it was?
This page has various press-releases of the event on the 27th sep 2010 but they're short on any details of proof, they just repeat the claims.
http://www.wanttoknow.info/ufos/ufos_national_press_club_witness_testimony

So unfortunately without further information it's just a story about a group of people saying what they believe. They could be right, they could be mistaken, they could be victims of being out of the loop of classified information.

I would also note that the idea is a powerful one that captures the imagination, and it's very similar to The Day The Earth Stood Still which was made in the 50's, which these people would probably all be familiar with on some level.
They could be (mis) interpreting phenomena in a way that fits with that.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
also Salas, who was only in the airforce 3 years at the time of the 1967 incident, did not actually SEE anything as he was in the [bunker?]. sounds like all his information is 2nd or 3rd hand. someone should read his book.

a bit concerning this 'has been happening' for 40 years and this group has only got this far? ; /

That said, according to the wargames movie, Joshua could shut down the missiles.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
We are left with several possibilities :

1) Lies by the witnesses
2) delusions
3) confusions
4) exaggerations
5) misconceptions
6) Intentional deception by others
7) a combination of some or all of the above.

I vote #7. Why, because when I have investigated events where human opinions are the major components of the evidence, that is what I normally found.
 
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Soulfly

Banned
Banned
We are left with several possibilities :

1) Lies by the witnesses
2) delusions
3) confusions
4) exaggerations
5) misconceptions
6) Intentional deception by others
7) a combination of some or all of the above.

I vote #7. Why, because when I have investigated events where human opinions are the major components of the evidence, that is what I normally found.
You forgot 8) Alien intervention. :)
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
You forgot 8) Alien intervention. :)
Yes, I see how it could be an additional option.

1) Lies by the witnesses
2) delusions
3) confusions
4) exaggerations
5) misconceptions
6) Intentional deception by others
7) Alien intervention.
8) a combination of some or all of the above.;)
 

cosmic

Senior Member.

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James Carlson

New Member
https://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/column.php?id=195390

Also see attached PDF
 

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James Carlson

New Member
You want me to read some blog entry instead of listening to actual military officials who were there.
The military "officials" you are referring to were NOT there. Only two witnesses were at Echo Flight, and both insist that Salas and Hastings are a couple of liars who have ignored completely 95% of the evidence available. They have INVENTED UFOs that were not present, were not sighted, were not reported, and were not investigated, all of which has been repeatedly confirmed by witnesses who were there. In regard to the only incident that Salas claims to have witnessed, his own commander has repeatedly refused to confirm the claims about a UFO, and insists that he doesn't even BELIEVE in UFOs, a rather strange clam to make if a UFO actually shut down his entire flight of missiles. He stated as early as 1996 that the only missile failures he actually witnessed amounted to only 3-4 missiles, not the ten missiles Salas continues to discuss. He stated as well that none of the debriefing interviews with OSI and the SAC commander that Salas affirms actually took place and that the only debriefing he received was an admonition not to discuss missile failures in public -- after all, missile failures were highly classified in 1967.

There were no witnesses to a UFO. Salas has yet to name a single person who actually saw one, and none of the witnesses gathered by Hastings are willing to affirm a UFO. To a man, all of them discuss only incidents allegedly witnessed by other people that they are unable to name. In 1967, a UFO officer was attached to every major command in the nation, and it was their responsibility to investigate every UFO reported to their command. At Malmstrom AFB that officer was COL Lewis D. Chase. He confirmed on numerous occasions, including to his chain of command, that there were no equipment failures anywhere on base at the time Salas insists the Oscar Flight missiles went down, and that there was no UFO incident at all when the Echo Flight missiles went down. Literally dozens of military veterans have stated that there was no incident at Oscar Flight at all, including Salas' own commander, Frederick Meiwald. During Meiwald's last interview with Robert Hastings, he stated outright that he doesn't remember anything at all in relation to the UFO that both Hastings and Salas have repeatedly stated that he has confirmed! In 1996, Meiwald told Salas outright in a letter that Salas has published that he regrets being unable to help Salas establish his claims. The only substantive point that Meiwald adds to Salas' folk tale is the very positive insistence that he and Salas were assigned to Oscar Flight, an affirmation that originated with his own USAF personnel file. Salas must have taken to heart his commander's assessment that he possessed no knowledge that could confirm Salas' little fiction, because Salas published and maintained for another three years that 8-10 missiles had failed when Meiwald would only affirm the failure of 3-4 missiles, a failure that he NEVER associated with a UFO. Salas also insisted over the course of those same three years that he and Meiwald served at November Flight, the falsity of which his own personnel file establishes.

In addition, Salas has changed his story so often that it is no exaggeration to point out that the only consistent aspect of his claim is its inconsistency. Whenever new facts get in the way of his silly and irresponsible assessments, he simply changes his story. When his claims do not explain the inconsistencies and factual errors inherent to this tawdry little spectacle, they simply evolve in response to those inconsistencies and factual errors. Apparently the goal of this pathetic little adventure is to eventually develop a claim that cannot be disproven. Of course, such an affirmation could not be proven either, but God forbid that UFO proponents would ever consider such a conclusion. It's a sad point taken when useful qualities can only be addressed under conditions that claims made must have some truth to them simply because they cannot be disproven.

Are these the military "officials" you are referring to? If so, I would recommend that you conduct a little more research regarding this issue, because your assertions simply cannot be supported by the facts.
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
Thanks Weed whacker I realise this, It was a different sort of brightness more like a radiant light like much the reports of Near death experiences when they see the bright light they report as brighter than anything they have ever seen but also unable to stop looking at it.

Fascinating.

But, back to the original topic. I was reading a post just above that shed some doubt as to the veracity of Salas' and Hastings' "reports".

You might wish to review post #60: https://www.metabunk.org/threads/uf...-nuclear-weapons-sites.3284/page-2#post-94778

I found this information very compelling, as compared to what can only be considered a personal opinion, one that could be attributed to many, many various optical illusions, as we Humans are very prone to encounter.
 

Tim Hebert

New Member
Appreciate your interest in this case. I've written extensively about Salas' claims as to what he experienced. I recall some years ago that I told James Carlson (James being dumbfounded that Salas could get away with his claims) that Salas did not have the baggage of a full fledge engineering investigation, Blue Book and/or Air Force-SAC "interference" to scuttle his claims. This being unlike what occurred with Echo Flight 8 days prior to Salas' story. As Salas would always say, "You can't prove a negative."

If you are interested in my coverage of both cases, they are provided in detail on my site: timhebert.blogspot.com.

I'm a former Minuteman II crew commander that served at Malmstrom AFB, Mt from 1981 to 1985. Ironically, I served in the very same squadron that Salas did with 14 years separating our unit assignments.

Kind regards, Tim Hebert
 
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